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Bank of Montreal, Government Street Branch

1200 Government Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1975/11/27

Exterior view of the Bank of Montreal; City of Victoria, Berdine Jonker, 2004.
East elevation
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/08/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Bank of Montreal is a four-storey Chateau Style building on a corner lot on Government Street and Bastion Square.

Heritage Value

The Bank of Montreal is a significant example of the stylistic evolution of one of British Columbia's most prominent architects, Francis Mawson Rattenbury. Rattenbury's relationship with the Bank of Montreal - which was the primary sponsor of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) - is significant; the specifications of this Quebec-based bank considerably influenced his architectural style at the end of the nineteenth century. Notably, the 1896 Bank of Montreal is Rattenbury's first work in the Chateau Style, Canada's signature architectural language which became predominant in his subsequent work across the country as the CPR's principal architect.

The value of this building lies in its distinctive architecture styling conducted in such local building materials as stone from Haddington and Nelson Islands. The distinctive asymmetrical massing, steeply pitched hipped roof, castle-like appearance and stone cladding are unique amongst Victoria's commercial and institutional architecture, and create a significant west coast landmark representative of one of Canada's leading nineteenth century banking houses. Constructed with the most advance building technology of its day - a combination of steel and concrete structural elements - it is notable that this building stands with a complete elimination of wood from its essential construction components. Additionally, the location of this building is significant, as it reflects the early grandeur of Government Street as the first major commercial and financial artery of the city, and it is a significant landmark at the western end of View Street.

Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Bank of Montreal building include:
- the prominent location and building entrance on the corner of Government Street and Bastion Square;
- the unimpeded view of the building from View Street;
- the castle-like asymmetrical form and massing;
- Chateau Style details such as the steeply sloped hipped slate roof, the crenellated cornices, the truncated turret, the gargoyles, and the alternating bands of rusticated and ashlar masonry;
- the lack of wood structural elements, and the prominence of local building materials such as granite and Haddington and Nelson Island stone
- interior spatial configurations relevant to Rattenbury's original design, such as the open floor plan of the ground floor banking hall.



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.967

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building


Commerce / Commercial Services
Bank or Stock Exchange

Architect / Designer

Francis Mawson Rattenbury


Richard Drake

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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