Throwback Thursdays: The Bank of Montreal Building

Bank Of Montreal Calgary - Before

This week’s Throwback Thursday photograph comes courtesy of the Collection of the Glenbow Museum Archives circa the 1930s, and it’s of the old Bank of Montreal building located at 136 – 8 Avenue S.W.


A branch of the Bank of Montreal had existed on this site since 1886.  By the late 1920s, it was decided to build a new building on the site to help facilitate expansion, and the adjacent Bank of British North America building next door was purchased for expansion.

The current Bank of Montreal building encompasses the neo-classical style of architecture, and was designed by Montreal architect Frederick Rea.  Built out of Manitoba Tyndall limestone, there is a carved relief of pine trees, beavers and First Nations’ people that surrounds the Bank’s coat of arms.  The coffered ceilings in the building’s interior is encrusted with 917 ounces of gold leaf.

Bank Of Montreal Calgary - Today

In 1993, A&B Sound occupied the building and spent $3 million in restoring the space, using the first two levels of the building as retail space.  A&B Sound maintained a presence at the location until they closed it down in February 2005, and the building has remained vacant ever since.

Now, after nearly seven years, new life awaits the long-vacant Bank of Montreal building as renovations have been taking place and the search is now on to find new retailers to lease space in the building.

That’s it for this week’s Throwback Thursday.  Tune in next week and every week in 2012 for more glimpses into the past of Downtown Calgary.

Do you have any photos of downtown Calgary from the past that you’d like to share with us?  If so, send us an e-mail [email protected] and it may appear in our weekly segment!