Merchants Bank of Canada

Built on what became known as 'bank corner', the Merchants Bank of Canada was Edmonton's second ever banking institution.

 

This Classical Revival structure was designed by the architectural firm Taylor, Hogle and Davis and built by former mayor Charles May in 1906 at a cost of $45,000. A brick building with grey sandstone front and trimmings, the Merchants Bank introduced what the Edmonton Bulletin called an "unusual, but not unpleasant combination of design" to Jasper Avenue, referring to the Greek Ionic pillars and pediment on the second and third storeys.

Accommodating a legal firm in the second floor office apartments and the divisional headquarters of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway on the third floor, the building distinguished itself with opulent bankng space on the main level. The manager's office sat behind a panelled wall of cherry wood, and an L-shaped partition of cherry wood housed the wickets framed with brass lattice-work railings. The fittings were plate-glass, brass, and cherry wood; the marble floor was enclosed by a dark-marble border; and the high-transomed windows opened for ventilation.

The Merchants Bank opened its first Edmonton branch the same year the Klondike gold rush brought prospectors to town in 1898, a full seven years after the Imperial bank began operating as the first financial institution in town. Originally housed in the Edmonton Bulletin building, the Merchants Bank moved into this building eight years later; by 1910 it made additions to the building in the back and operated two other branches. Its success was short-lived- the Bank of Montreal absorbed the Merchants Bank in 1921. Two years following, the Bank of Nova Scotia purchased this building and operated its main branch here until demolishing it in 1956 to make way for its own more modern banking office.

Details

Type

Commercial

Designation Status

Demolished

Neighbourhood

Downtown

Year Built

1906

Architectural Styles

Classical Revival

Character Defining Elements

Brick structure , Cornice , Dentil , Flat roof , Giant columns , Pediment , Pilaster , Rectangular footprint , Rusticated stone , Three storeys or more

Gallery

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