Old Bank of Commerce - Kamloops, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 50° 40.584 W 120° 20.325
10U E 688021 N 5617219
Quick Description: Built in 1904, this stately and substantial old bank stands at the corner of Victoria Street and First Avenue, cater-corner from the present city hall. It was used by the Bank Of Commerce until 1924.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 9/1/2020 10:42:34 AM
Waymark Code: WM132FG
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 0

Long Description:
Built in 1904 by the Bank of Commerce, this Edwardian Baroque styled building replaced a wood frame building that stood across the street, originally a Bank of British Columbia, which the Bank of Commerce took over in 1900. This building was constructed by local Kamloops firm Johnston & Gill, leaders in the local construction industry. Originally, the upper floor of the building was reserved as a residence for the unmarried male staff. In later years, when the building was being renovated for use as a City Hall, a bottle of rye was found stashed in one of the walls.

Over the years, this building has been used as a courthouse, police station (complete with jail cells in the basement) and a parks and recreation office. The interior has been extensively changed and renovated over the years, but the exterior is much the same as it was when originally built. The hipped roof was restored along with exterior detailing in 1997.

For many years now the building has been given over to commercial use, today serving as home to the Brownstone Restaurant, an upscale eatery which prides itself on its use of ingredients from many local farms and gardens. Perhaps auspiciously, the Brownstone Restaurant opened in 2004, the year of the building's centennial.
Old Bank of Commerce
The Old Bank of Commerce is a two-storey Edwardian Baroque commercial building clad in red brick with dressed stone trim. Situated at the northeast corner of Victoria Street and First Avenue, the building is distinguished by its symmetrical front façade, granite foundation, lunette windows and hipped roof.

Built in 1904, the Old Bank of Commerce is valued for its high quality architecture, materials and craftsmanship. The sophisticated Edwardian Baroque 'temple' design of this branch bank symbolized civic pride and progress, and conveyed a sense of conservatism, permanence and security, which were desirable characteristics for a financial institution. As the architects for the Canadian Bank of Commerce, the Toronto-based partnership of Frank Darling (1850-1923) and John Andrew Pearson (1867-1940) provided sophisticated Classical Revival designs for branch banks throughout western Canada. A major force in Canadian architecture, the partnership of Darling and Pearson was responsible for close to a thousand bank projects, ranging in size from urban headquarters to small wooden structures in remote locations. The Old Bank of Commerce displays high quality materials and craftsmanship throughout. The front façade is clad in dressed stone and Kamloops pressed red brick, manufactured at the local brick factory in Mission Flats. Local contractors Johnston and Gill were responsible for the brickwork and masonry. Robert Mackay (1865-1937) completed the interior of the building, which also exhibits the highest quality materials, such as a marble floor in the banking hall.

The Old Bank of Commerce is also significant as a symbol of the development of the corporate banking system in Kamloops and is valued for its association with the Canadian Bank of Commerce, which occupied the building until 1924. The first bank in Kamloops was the Bank of British Columbia, which occupied a wooden building on the southeast corner of Victoria Street and First Avenue in 1887. In 1900, the Canadian Bank of Commerce absorbed the Bank of British Columbia and utilized its premises until 1904 when this building was erected.

Furthermore, the Old Bank of Commerce is valued as a representation of the economic growth and development of Kamloops during the Edwardian era. In its early phase, the local economy was based on the trade of fur, gold and cattle. With the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885, Kamloops became a prosperous business community with an abundance of employment opportunities. The advent of the railway allowed for the transport of people and goods, which benefitted trade in the region. Between 1885 and 1905, the population increased five-fold; this surge can be directly linked to the rise of financial institutions such as the Bank of Commerce. In response to the growing importance of Kamloops as a regional centre, the Old Bank of Commerce was expanded in 1912 with additions to the rear and the eastern side. Between 1953 and 1964, the building was used as the City Hall.

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Old Bank of Commerce include its:
- corner location, facing Victoria Street and First Avenue in downtown Kamloops
- monumental commercial form, scale and massing, as expressed by its two-storey height, symmetrical massing with central entry, excavated basement, hipped roof and cubic plan, with 1912 additions at the rear and eastern side
- masonry construction, such as granite foundation with raised tuckpointing, red-brick cladding, and dressed stone trim
- Edwardian Baroque features such as engaged pilasters with exaggerated entasis, overscale lunettes placed over windows with giant keystones, eave modillions, and block quoins
- fenestration, including wooden-sash windows on the ground floor
- external red-brick chimney
- original interior features such as banking hall marble floor, wooden trim and floors, interior fireplaces and massive bank vault
From Historic Places Canada
Photo goes Here
Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

118 Victoria Street
Kamloops, BC
V2C 1Z7

Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

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