Bank of British North America - Dawson, Yukon Territory
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
N 64° 03.736 W 139° 26.050
7W E 576411 N 7104891
Quick Description: The Bank of British North America is one of the best examples of a structure illustrating the development of financial services in the North.
Location: Yukon Territory, Canada
Date Posted: 6/27/2020 4:29:26 PM
Waymark Code: WM12PP0
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 1

Long Description:
Description of Historic Place:

"Situated on a once bustling intersection, the Bank of British North America is located in the Dawson City Historical Complex National Historic Site of Canada. It is a two-storey timber structure, with a white-painted corrugated metal exterior, and features a pedimented gable roof, overhanging eaves and regularly placed windows. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value:

The Bank of British North America is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value:

The Bank of British North America is one of the best examples of a structure illustrating the development of financial services in the North. The Bank of British North America was the first banking institution established in Dawson in May 1898, during the Klondike Gold Rush. The structure was built as a combination bank, dormitory, assay office, and general office. The Bank is also associated with Alex McDonald, the ‘King of the Klondike’ who directed his numerous mining and real estate ventures from the general office within the building. Dawson metamorphosed from a boisterous mining camp in 1897-1898, to a boomtown in 1898-1899 when the bank was constructed and then into a prosperous and respectable community by 1901.

Architectural Value:

The Bank demonstrates good aesthetic design in its neo-classical treatment. Details of note include the triangular-shaped pediments, the regular placement of windows and the corner balcony on slender turned columns. The building also exhibits a very good functional design whereby the plan was easily adapted to fulfil the many requirements of an expanding population. The traditional arrangement of the interior was typical of many corner blocks that once dominated the Dawson business district.
Environmental Value
The Bank of British North America reinforces the present character of Dawson City and is a familiar landmark to residents and visitors.

Sources: Bank of British North America, 995 Second Avenue, Dawson City, Yukon, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report - Notes 88-012; Bank of British North America, Queen Street, Southwest Corner Second Avenue, Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Heritage Character Statement 88-012.


The following character-defining elements of the Bank of British North America should be respected.
Its Neo-Classical architectural treatment, and very good functional design, for example:
- the two-storey massing;
- the pedimented gable roof, the circular ventilator piercing the pediment, and the overhanging eaves;
- the Neo-Classical architectural treatment of the elevations with regularly placed windows;
- the details such as the ornate, Victorian-style front doors set into the salient angle, and the overhanging corner balcony supported on slender, turned porch columns;
- the arrangement of the interior with a principal ground floor retail space that is served by a double door, and a narrow secondary retail space served by a single door on Queen Street;
- the interior partitioning and finishes.
The manner in which the British Bank of North America reinforces the present character of the setting of the historic district and is a familiar landmark, as evidenced by:
- its ongoing historic relationship to the lot lines, the boardwalk, the adjacent structures and streetscape;
- its materials, detailing, and the treatment of the facades, which visually unify the bank with the adjacent structures;
- its familiarity to the residents of Dawson and to visitors of the National Historic Site of Canada."

Reference: (visit link)

Inscription on an information panel on site:

Bank of British North America

The BNA, which opened Dawson's city's first bank in a tent in 1898, moved into these premises in 1889. By providing the essential services of essaying, buying and shipping gold, it helped integrate the local currency of dust and nuggets into a cash economy. As larger gold companies with their own assayers and capital took over mining, the bank (since 1918) the Bank of Montreal) became a more peripheral service, providing a payroll service for the dredges. It closed in 1963 after the last gold dredge fell silent.

Personal Observations:

The bank building is very impressive, even by today's standards. There was a need for specialized financial services and the Bank of Montreal seized the opportunity and changed the way people paid for their purchases. It appears that the bank and the residents benefitted from the presence of a well known bank in Dawson City during this exciting gold rush period.
Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

Queen Street, Dawson, Yukon, Canada

Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
To log a visit to a Waymark in this category at least one photo of the property, taken by the visitor, must be included with the visit, as well any comments they have concerning either their visit or the site itself. Suggested inclusions are: what you like about the site, its history, any deviations from the description in the heritage listing noted by the visitor, and the overall state of repair of the site.
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