Lobbies of the Big Banks
The impressive Bank of
Montreal lobby (119 Saint-Jacques Street) is in the
oldest (1845–47) of the Bank's three buildings on the north
side of Place d'Armes. This imposing, stylish structure, the
work of architect John Wells, was an early herald of a great
classicist tradition in Canadian bank building architecture.
The vast lobby dates from the early 20th century, when the Bank
rebuilt its head office almost entirely–though the original building's
façade and portico were
retained. It entrusted the work to the prestigious U.S. firm of McKim, Mead and
The lobby of the Royal
Bank building at 360 Saint-Jacques Street is well worth
a visit for its sumptuous vaulted ceilings and charming old-time wickets. Built
between 1926 and 1928 to house the Bank's head office, the 22-storey building
was the tallest in the British Empire at the time, and kept that record for quite
some time. It was a symbol of metropolitan Montréal of the first half
of the 20th century and remains a testament to those boom years.
An imposing row of Corinthian columns is a
distinctive feature of the former head office of the Canadian
Imperial Bank of Commerce at 265 Saint-Jacques Street, built between 1907
and 1909. In the lobby, visitors can admire Winged Victories as
figureheads of a sculpture symbolizing commerce.