Farmers' Bank of Rustico National Historic Site of Canada
Farmers' Bank of Rustico
Banque des fermiers de Rustico
Farmers’ Bank of Rustico Museum
Musée de la Banque des fermiers de Rustico
Links and documents
1861/01/01 to 1863/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Located in the small hamlet of Rustico on Prince Edward Island, the Farmers’ Bank of South Rustico National Historic Site of Canada is a modestly sized, ruggedly simple, stone building in the British classical tradition. Seven bays wide, with two-and-a-half storeys, the bank stands adjacent to a church and alongside a road to the water’s edge. The building is now operated as a museum. Official recognition refers to the interior and exterior of the building.
The Farmers’ Bank of Rustico was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1959 because, under the leadership of the parish priest Georges Antoine Belcourt, this building was erected to house one of the first people’s banks in Canada.
The Farmers’ Bank of Rustico illustrates an important stage in the evolution of co-operative banking in the 19th century in Canada. Father G. A. Belcourt led the parishioners who constructed the bank building between 1861 and 1863. Chartered in 1864, and directed by farmers and fishermen, it operated until 1894, and heralded the development of the credit union movement. The bank provided cheap credit and small loans allowing members of this predominantly Acadian farming community to purchase lands, make improvements, and gain economic independence.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, May 1959; February 1970.
The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include:
- the building’s location amongst a cluster of buildings near the church of St. Augustine;
- the rural setting surrounded by agricultural land;
- the regularly coursed sandstone construction;
- the solid, two-and-a-half-storey massing under a medium-pitch gable roof;
- the seven-bay façade with central entrance, and regularly placed windows;
- the multi-pane, sash windows;
- the square vault projecting from the west wall;
- the overall unadorned appearance, with minimal exterior details that include stringcourses, eaves set close to the walls, and windows without mouldings;
- surviving evidence of its original interior functional design and interior features, notably its wooden posts and small fireplaces.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
- Building Social and Community Life
- Community Organizations
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Bank or Stock Exchange
- Composite School
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection
Farmers' Bank of Rustico
The Farmers' Bank of Rustico is a two-and-one-half storey Prince Edward Island sandstone building with a slate roof in the British Classical architectural style.