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Merchant's Bank of Canada

1225 Douglas Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/01/19

Exterior view of the Merchant's Bank of Canada, 2004.; City of Victoria, Steve Barber, 2004.
Northwest elevation.
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Other Name(s)

Merchant's Bank of Canada
Bank of Montreal

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/09/01

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Merchant's Bank of Canada is a two storey Beaux-Arts building on the corner of Douglas and Yates Streets.

Heritage Value

The Merchant's Bank of Canada is a symbol of economic strength in Victoria. Designed by prominent architect Francis Mawson Rattenbury in 1907, this bank's original palatial appearance, Classical Beaux-Arts detailing, and grand interior spaces evoke the sense of longevity, stability, and wealth suited to inspire confidence in its customers. As the most expensive building in the city in proportion to its size when it was built, this bank's substantial concrete construction, stone cladding and unmistakable solidity are physical indications of the affluence of the years before the First World War.

The Merchant's Bank of Canada - now the Bank of Montreal since it was taken over in 1922 - is an edifice within the commercial core of the city; it contributes considerably to the continuity of the street wall on both of its facades. Rows of Ionic columns and the beveled corner entrance provide a strong presence between Douglas and Yates Streets. A 1922 extension of its Douglas Street facade by architects Honeyman and Curtis, and a 1945 Moderne Classical addition on Yates Street by Vancouver architect C.J. Thompson are indicative of twentieth century growth and prosperity in Victoria.

Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Merchant's Bank of Canada include:
- the prominent position of the bank on the corner of Douglas and Yates Streets;
- the beveled corner entrance;
- the reinforced concrete construction, and Newcastle Island stone facing;
- the Beaux-Arts detailing of Rattenbury's original design, as seen in the freestanding Ionic columns, the flat roof, the carved ornamentation including lions' heads and garlands, and rounded and triangular pediments;
- the grand proportions of the interior spatial configurations, particularly within the banking hall;
- the 1922 Douglas Street addition, and its extension of Rattenbury's original design;
- the 1945 Yates Street addition, and its sympathetic Classical Moderne interpretation of the bank's original facade.



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)

1945/01/01 to 1945/01/01
1922/01/01 to 1922/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Bank or Stock Exchange

Architect / Designer

Francis Mawton Rattenbury


Wood and McVicker

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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