Bank of Commerce - Vernon, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 50° 15.833 W 119° 16.380
11U E 338001 N 5570442
Quick Description: On the north side of 30th Avenue, between 31st and 32nd Streets one will find this former Canadian Bank of Commerce building. A heritage marker is affixed to the front façade.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 7/30/2020 3:09:40 PM
Waymark Code: WM12X85
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
Views: 0

Long Description:
Well after the Bank of Montreal arrived in Vernon in 1893, the Canadian Bank of Commerce made its arrival in the city in 1911, occupying rented quarters. In fact, yet another bank, the Winnipeg Union Bank, in 1911, slightly preceeded the Bank of Commerce's arrival.

In 1913 the Bank of Commerce commenced construction on the building which was to house its Vernon presence for the next 66 years, its official opening taking place the next year. The bank moved on to newer and more contemporary premises in 1979, selling this building to an Insurance broker. It is now the home of the Phoenix Grillhouse & Bar.
Bank of Commerce
Description of Historic Place
The old Bank of Commerce is a two-storey Beaux Arts commercial building located on the north side of 30th Avenue in Vernon. The concrete block building features a symmetrical front façade faced with brick and four terra cotta pilasters rising to the top of the second storey. The building also has a central pedimented porch and a centrally located pediment above an attenuated cornice line.

Heritage Value
Built in 1913-14, the old Bank of Commerce is notable for its impressive and well-detailed Beaux Arts design. The monumental massing of the building is well suited to its central block position, giving it a significant presence on the street. The use of two-storey pilasters, high cornice, and extensive overhanging roofs emphasizes the grandeur of the building and creates the illusion of size...

...Notable Beaux Arts features of the Vernon branch include the monumental Corinthian pilasters with finely moulded terra cotta acanthus leaves and flowers, the large modillions under the extended overhang of the roof, the pedimented central roof containing a terra cotta medallion, and the central pedimented porch. The broken pediment over the entrance contains a caduceus, the original insignia of the Bank of Commerce, representing power and wisdom. The symmetrical rows of windows in the upper and lower storeys, each with a decorative keystone, add to the classical formality of the design. The interior included two vaults and staff accommodation upstairs. The Vernon brickyards provided the pressed brick for the side walls.

The bank is also valued as a symbol of the prosperity which Vernon had achieved by 1914. The population had tripled to 3000 in the previous decade and the city firmly established as the business and transportation centre of the Okanagan Valley. Land speculation and promotion led to a significant influx of new population. A large granite courthouse built in 1914, as well as a stone post office built two years earlier, further emphasized the presence of the Provincial and Federal governments in Vernon...

...Following closely on the construction of a new Bank of Montreal in 1910 and the Winnipeg Union Bank in 1911, the Bank of Commerce’s new building, initiated in 1913 and completed the next year, marked the height of Vernon’s economic growth, just before World War I. The Bank was in the building until 1979, expanding the rear of the building in 1950. The building was sold to Baron Insurance, which occupied the building for almost twenty-five years. It is currently a restaurant.

Character-Defining Elements
- the mid-block location on the north side of 30th Avenue
- the monumental form of the building with its two-storey height, symmetrical massing with central pediment over a central pedimented entry
- Beaux Arts features such as the monumental fluted terra cotta pilasters with finely detailed Corinthian floral decoration, medallion in the tympanum (originally echoed by another in the entry porch), brick corner quoins, and the symmetrical arrangement of the windows with decorative keystones, broad overhanging eaves with large modillions
- use of pressed brick on the front façade
- original bank night deposit box visible on exterior
- interior features including the original vault
From the City of Vernon Heritage Register, Page 39
Photo goes Here
Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

3117 30th Avenue
Vernon, BC
V1T 2C4

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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