J. Angus MacLean Building - Charlottetown, PEI
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 46° 14.074 W 063° 07.520
20T E 490336 N 5120117
The history of this building is somewhat intertwined with the history of Prince Edward Island and of the Prince Edward Island Railway.
Waymark Code: WMQ1JG
Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada
Date Posted: 11/29/2015
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member Bon Echo
Views: 3

Established in Charlottetown in 1863, what is now known as the J. Angus MacLean Building was the headquarters of the Union Bank until its demise some two decades later. By the 1870s the bank had become heavily invested in the building of the Prince Edward Island Railway. The difficulties in building the railroad encountered by the colony, primarily financial, had led the colony into joining Canadian Confederation in return for financial aid from Canada. This had also left the Union Bank precariously short of liquidity, which, along with the onset of the economic downturn of the 1880s, forced it to merge with the Bank of Nova Scotia in 1882 (or 1883, depending on the source). The Bank of Nova Scotia continued to operate a branch from this building until 1921.

Designed by prominent local architect, Thomas Alley, and built in 1872, it should be noted that this bank building was erected in the days before the advent of long distance communications devices such as the telephone, so location was an important factor for the expedient and efficient operation of a financial institution. Hence, the bank was built right across the street from Province House, the seat of government on the Island.

An interesting side note - PEI's first telephone exchange was established by Robert Angus in this building in 1884, apparently within the offices of a team of lawyers - a seemingly odd juxtaposition. It began trial operation on December 20th of that year, just over eight years after Alexander Graham Bell successfully demonstrated his device at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. In 1885 the company was incorporated as "The Telephone Company of Prince Edward Island". In 1889, having outgrown this facility, the company moved to 57 Queen Street. Today the building appears to be occupied primarily by offices of various provincial government departments.
J. Angus MacLean Building
The J. Angus MacLean Building was built in 1872 as the Union Bank Building. It is a three storey brick structure in the Italianate style with mansard roof. It was renamed in honour of former Premier J. Angus MacLean (1914-2000) in October 2002. It is prominently situated on historic Great George Street near Queen's Square in the centre of Charlottetown across from the Provincial Legislature. The designation includes the footprint of the building.

The Union Bank of PEI was one of the earliest banks to operate in the province. It is one of the best preserved examples of Italianate architecture in a public building in PEI.

The building is also evocative of important events in PEI history, such as the building of the PEI Railway and the financial difficulty this caused which was one of the contributing factors leading to the entry of PEI into Canadian Confederation in 1873.

The building of the PEI Railway in the 1870s left the bank cash strapped which led to its amalgamation with the Bank of Nova Scotia in 1883 and they operated it as a bank until 1921. The first telephone exchange in the province was established in the building in 1884 in the law offices of Palmer and MacLeod.

- the Italianate red brick construction
- the height of 3 storeys
- the mansard roof (topped originally with iron cresting)
- the compact and strongly defined windows framed by round arches
- the distinctive quoins on the 4 corners of the building
From Historic Places Canada
URL of Page from Heritage Register: [Web Link]

Address of site:
94 Great George Street
Charlottetown, PEI
C1A 4K4

Site's Own URL: Not listed

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Trail Blaisers visited J. Angus MacLean Building - Charlottetown, PEI 05/13/2018 Trail Blaisers visited it