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140 - 8 Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta, T2P, Canada

Reconnu formellement en: 2003/08/28

Bank of Montreal Building Provincial Historic Resource, Calgary (March 2006); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management, 2006
South and west elevations
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Pas d'image

Autre nom(s)

Bank of Montreal
1930 Bank of Montreal Building

Liens et documents

Date(s) de construction

1930/01/01 à 1932/01/01

Inscrit au répertoire canadien: 2007/12/12

Énoncé d'importance

Description du lieu patrimonial

The Bank of Montreal Building is a three-storey building located at the historic centre of downtown Calgary on the corner of 8th Avenue and 1st Street SW. Embodying the Beaux Arts architectural style, the monumental building is clad in Tyndall limestone on a granite plinth and boasts a visually commanding front facade featuring four fluted Corinthian columns, a heavy entablature bearing the words "BANK OF MONTREAL", and a broad pediment enclosing a sculptural relief of the Bank of Montreal's coat-of-arms.

Valeur patrimoniale

The heritage value of the Bank of Montreal building lies in its association with the establishment and consolidation of financial institutions in Calgary and in its monumental Beaux Arts style of architecture.

The Bank of Montreal was among the first financial institutions to establish itself in Calgary, founding its first branch west of Winnipeg in the fledgling community in 1886. The Bank of Montreal's early interest in Calgary is unsurprising: as the principal bank of the Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.), the corporation had a vested interest in promoting the settlement's growth. Initially, the bank operated out of rented quarters in the Lineham Block; by the late 1880s, this arrangement was inadequate to accommodate the increasing service demands of a growing population and expanding economy. In 1889, the bank erected a handsome three-storey sandstone building on 8th Avenue and 1st Street SW to serve as its central Calgary branch. The building's central location and stately, picturesque architecture served to solidify the image of the Bank of Montreal as Calgary's major financial institution. During its early history in Calgary, the bank financed a multitude of entrepreneurial projects, including many in southern Alberta's burgeoning ranching industry, and also provided funds for city projects like the purchase of fire-fighting equipment. In the first quarter of the twentieth century, the Bank of Montreal worked diligently to maintain its advantage in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Between 1906 and 1924, two new offices were opened and three chartered banks were incorporated into the Bank of Montreal's operations. By the late 1920s, the bank had firmly established its position as a premier financial institution in Calgary.

By 1930, the Bank of Montreal's central Calgary branch - with its turreted corner tower and lively, picturesque design - had become something of an architectural anomaly. The classical idiom had come to dominate the architecture of financial institutions in the first decades of the twentieth century and several of the bank's chief competitors had erected impressive classicist buildings that seemed to embody industry virtues of strength and permanence. Perhaps fearful that the irregular and playful design of its main branch projected the wrong qualities, the Bank of Montreal tore down the building and between 1930 and 1932 constructed a monumental Beaux Arts style structure on the same site. Initially planned as a twelve-storey office building, the bank's far more modest three-storey single purpose structure reflects the downturn in economic fortunes in Canada with the onset of the Great Depression. Designed by Kenneth G. Rea, a renowned architect who designed more than one hundred and twenty bank branches across Canada, the Bank of Montreal Building is a steel frame structure exhibiting the rich sculptural detail and monumental scale which made the Beaux Arts style so popular for institutions that wished to project an image of wealth, dignity and stability. The front facade is a bold classicist design composed of Tyndall limestone on a granite plinth and features fluted Corinthian columns, a heavy entablature bearing the words "BANK OF MONTREAL", and a broad pediment enclosing a sculptural relief of the bank's coat-of-arms. The interior is lavishly appointed, with a thirty-five foot high coffered ceiling finished in gold leaf, Corinthian columns, extensive use of marble, and classical sculptural elements. Sizable windows suffuse the inner space with natural light. As a limestone-clad building among a host of sandstone structures along 8th Avenue, the Bank of Montreal is a unique contributor to the historic ambience of Calgary's Stephen Avenue Mall.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1702)

Éléments caractéristiques

The character-defining elements of the Bank of Montreal Building include such features as:
- location at central intersection in Calgary's historic downtown core;
- form, scale and massing;
- fluted Corinthian columns, heavy entablature bearing the words "BANK OF MONTREAL", and broad pediment enclosing a sculptural relief of the bank's coat-of-arms;
- massive brass doorway at main entrance;
- blocky massing and symmetrical arrangement of windows and architectural elements;
- original window design and assemblies with bronze detailing;
- architect's signature engraved in granite cornerstone;
- lofty banking hall interior with its coffered ceiling, Corinthian columns, chandeliers, marble floor, lavish polychrome and gilded plasterwork;
- wood-paneled bank manager's office with marble fireplace;
- original elements such as torchiere and sconce lights on main floor;
- stairway to basement vaults;
- basement vaults and grilles.




Autorité de reconnaissance

Province de l'Alberta

Loi habilitante

Historical Resources Act

Type de reconnaissance

Ressource historique provinciale

Date de reconnaissance


Données sur l'histoire

Date(s) importantes


Thème - catégorie et type

Économies en développement
Commerce et affaires
Exprimer la vie intellectuelle et culturelle
L'architecture et l'aménagement

Catégorie de fonction / Type de fonction


Commerce / Services commerciaux
Magasin ou commerce de vente au détail


Commerce / Services commerciaux
Banque ou bourse

Architecte / Concepteur

Kenneth G. Rea


Smith Brothers

Informations supplémentaires

Emplacement de la documentation

Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1702)

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Identificateur féd./prov./terr.




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