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Old Bank of Commerce

118 Victoria Street, Kamloops, British Columbia, V2C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2007/10/30

Exterior view of the Old Bank of Commerce, 2007; City of Kamloops, 2007
Front elevation
Historic view of the Old Bank of Commerce, 1904; CIBC Archives #143.00, with permission
Oblique view
No Image

Other Name(s)

Old Bank of Commerce
Old Kamloops City Hall
Kamloops Bank of Commerce
Bank of Commerce

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/06/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Old Bank of Commerce is a two-storey Edwardian Baroque commercial building clad in red brick with dressed stone trim. Situated at the northeast corner of Victoria Street and First Avenue, the building is distinguished by its symmetrical front façade, granite foundation, lunette windows and hipped roof.

Heritage Value

Built in 1904, the Old Bank of Commerce is valued for its high quality architecture, materials and craftsmanship. The sophisticated Edwardian Baroque 'temple' design of this branch bank symbolized civic pride and progress, and conveyed a sense of conservatism, permanence and security, which were desirable characteristics for a financial institution. As the architects for the Canadian Bank of Commerce, the Toronto-based partnership of Frank Darling (1850-1923) and John Andrew Pearson (1867-1940) provided sophisticated Classical Revival designs for branch banks throughout western Canada. A major force in Canadian architecture, the partnership of Darling and Pearson was responsible for close to a thousand bank projects, ranging in size from urban headquarters to small wooden structures in remote locations. The Old Bank of Commerce displays high quality materials and craftsmanship throughout. The front façade is clad in dressed stone and Kamloops pressed red brick, manufactured at the local brick factory in Mission Flats. Local contractors Johnston and Gill were responsible for the brickwork and masonry. Robert Mackay (1865-1937) completed the interior of the building, which also exhibits the highest quality materials, such as a marble floor in the banking hall.

The Old Bank of Commerce is also significant as a symbol of the development of the corporate banking system in Kamloops and is valued for its association with the Canadian Bank of Commerce, which occupied the building until 1924. The first bank in Kamloops was the Bank of British Columbia, which occupied a wooden building on the southeast corner of Victoria Street and First Avenue in 1887. In 1900, the Canadian Bank of Commerce absorbed the Bank of British Columbia and utilized its premises until 1904 when this building was erected.

Furthermore, the Old Bank of Commerce is valued as a representation of the economic growth and development of Kamloops during the Edwardian era. In its early phase, the local economy was based on the trade of fur, gold and cattle. With the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885, Kamloops became a prosperous business community with an abundance of employment opportunities. The advent of the railway allowed for the transport of people and goods, which benefitted trade in the region. Between 1885 and 1905, the population increased five-fold; this surge can be directly linked to the rise of financial institutions such as the Bank of Commerce. In response to the growing importance of Kamloops as a regional centre, the Old Bank of Commerce was expanded in 1912 with additions to the rear and the eastern side. Between 1953 and 1964, the building was used as the City Hall.

Source: City of Kamloops Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Old Bank of Commerce include its:
- corner location, facing Victoria Street and First Avenue in downtown Kamloops
- monumental commercial form, scale and massing, as expressed by its two-storey height, symmetrical massing with central entry, excavated basement, hipped roof and cubic plan, with 1912 additions at the rear and eastern side
- masonry construction, such as granite foundation with raised tuckpointing, red-brick cladding, and dressed stone trim
- Edwardian Baroque features such as engaged pilasters with exaggerated entasis, overscale lunettes placed over windows with giant keystones, eave modillions, and block quoins
- fenestration, including wooden-sash windows on the ground floor
- external red-brick chimney
- original interior features such as banking hall marble floor, wooden trim and floors, interior fireplaces and massive bank vault



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Governing Canada
Government and Institutions

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Bank or Stock Exchange
Town or City Hall

Architect / Designer

John Andrew Pearson


Robert Mackay

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Kamloops Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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