Bank of Montreal - Vernon, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 50° 15.800 W 119° 16.433
11U E 337937 N 5570383
Quick Description: The first Bank of Montreal in Vernon, this was built in 1893 and used as a bank until 1909, at which time it was moved to make room for the new bank.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 7/30/2020 2:00:15 PM
Waymark Code: WM12X7X
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
Views: 1

Long Description:
The Bank of Montreal opened its first Vernon branch in 1893. After six months in temporary quarters it commissioned a new building in 1893, opening it in 1894. Designed in Queen Anne Revival commercial style by Vancouver's McKay Fripp, the new branch building was faced with brick pressed in a brick plant in the nearby town of Enderby. Resting on a granite foundation, it featured decorative corbelling and terra cotta facings which included Roman arched windows with keystones on each of the building's two stories. The quoins each side of the windows and the entrance were not in the original design, having been added later. As was common at the time, the bank featured a corner entrance facing the Barnard Avenue - 32nd Street intersection.

In 1909 the Bank of Montreal decided it was time for new quarters, at which time this building was moved on rollers by horse teams to its present location, across the alley one lot to the south to make room for the new building. Given the size and mass of the building, it must have been a spectacular sight in 1909, not to mention a herculean task.

Now known as the Batula Building, it has housed various small businesses and offices from the time of its relocation to the present.
Bank of Montreal
Description of Historic Place
The old Bank of Montreal is a two-storey brick commercial building. Built in 1894 as Vernon’s first stand-alone Bank of Montreal on the southwest corner of Barnard Avenue and 32nd Street, the building was moved in 1909 to its present location one lot to the south. Faced with brick from the Vernon brickworks, the building is a restrained example of Queen Anne Revival commercial architecture. The cutaway corner entrance comprises a brick archway and this motif is repeated in the upper and lower windows.

Heritage Value
Designed by the prominent architect Robert Mackay Fripp, the old Bank of Montreal is valued as an early and important commercial building in the City of Vernon and one of the earliest brick commercial buildings in the Interior of British Columbia. This building faced with local pressed brick, includes many fine architectural details, including the arched windows, decorative corbelling and a stringcourse above the second-storey windows, and the prominent cutaway entrance, which would have emphasized its original corner location. In 1909, contractor T. E. Crowell moved the building on log rollers to its present location. At this time, the building was extended. The decorative quoins around the entrance and windows are additions that are more recent. When the building was moved, it was divided into various businesses, the most notable of which was the Vernon News.

The old Bank of Montreal is significant as a symbol of the growing prosperity of Vernon in the 1890s, and its place as the financial centre of the Okanagan Valley. The Bank of Montreal was closely associated with the Canadian Pacific Railway Company and its subsidiary land and transportation companies. The bank provided loans to the land development companies in the Okanagan Valley and to emerging commercial enterprises. The arrival of the Bank in November 1892 (temporarily renting space in the Schubert Block while the new structure was commissioned), along with the railway, marked the transition of the Okanagan from ranching to intensive agriculture, town-site settlement, and supporting infrastructure such as irrigation systems, packing houses, and transportation. At the time of construction, the bank served all of the Okanagan, Similkameen and Grand Forks electoral districts, an area from the Canadian Pacific Railway main line to the U.S. border...

...The arrival of the Bank of Montreal was an important step in the development of the commercial core of the city. The construction of the bank and the Kalamalka hotel cemented the position of 30th Avenue as the main street of the new town.

- the prominent location of the bank facing 32nd Street
- the scale and massing of the building as expressed by its two storey height, symmetrical form in the Italianate Commercial style, cutaway corner entrance, and its arched entrance and windows
- decorative brickwork, including corbelling and a stringcourse in the upper storey
- expansive cornice and horizontal banding above the first and second storeys, emphasizing the horizontality of the massing
- compatible additions in 1909
- use of Vernon pressed brick
From the City of Vernon Heritage Register, Page 47
B of M B of M
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Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

2908 – 32nd Street
Vernon, BC
V1T 5M1

Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

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