Thursday Doors – April 20, 2017

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time), by using the blue link-up button below. 

Bank of Montréal Head Office Building, Old Montréal

The city’s 375th anniversary is a pretty good excuse to highlight some of our historic buildings and as we move into milder doorscursion-friendly weather I’m hoping to get around a little more in order to do just that.

This week we’ll look at the Bank of Montréal’s Head Office Building in Old Montréal.

Note: These pics were taken a few weeks ago when there was still some snow on the ground. Thankfully the snow has melted since then.

In June of 1817 along with eight local merchants, a wealthy British loyalist named John Richardson formed a partnership to found the Bank of Montréal. In November of that year they began operating out of a rented house near the old port, establishing it as the oldest banking institution in Canada.

I wonder if they’ll be putting up a new plaque this year for the bicentennial

Within a short time they moved into their own building nearby, several streets south of the old port in 1819.

Of course a bank that was within walking distance of the trading ships, and merchants’ warehouses of the old port was destined to flourish, and with their success they were able to move to the current location they built for themselves on rue St-Jacques in 1847, in the northwest corner of Place D’Armes square, across from the city’s most famous church, the Notre-Dame Basilica.

Yes, this place has some great doors that we’ll look at next week.

The irony of English business money and old religious French Catholic values sitting directly across from each other is depicted in a 2-piece sculpture that sits at each end of the square today.

I’ll let the plaque explain it

The head office building was designed by architect John Wells. With its pantheon-like facade it almost has ancient Roman vibe to it; which is not surprising for the times, as banks took full advantage of the dramatic effects of these lavish structures to instill confidence in their customers. I guess the logic went something like, “If we can afford to build places like this, then your money is safe with us.”

My how times have changed. Mostly today’s consumers lean towards, “If you can afford to build a place like this then you’re making too much money and probably overcharging me.”

Beyond the facade, the rest of the building was redesigned and expanded in 1905. Today the lavish interior echoes the success of this institution and even contains a small Bank of Montréal Museum that is open to visitors at no charge, during banking hours.

If I can get back there on a weekday when the bank is open, I will definitely make sure to take a peek inside.

Despite the fact that this is still called their head office building, the corporate operational head-office of the Bank of Montréal relocated to downtown Toronto back in 1977, due to political uncertainty caused by the election of Quebec’s first separatist-led provincial government the previous year.

Today the Bank of Montréal aka BMO is the fourth largest bank in Canada with over 7 million customers served by 900+ branches from coast to coast – though only a handful are as lavish as this one.

By the way, if you were ever wondering where to invest that nest-egg you’ve been hiding under your mattress here’s an interesting tidbit: This company has not missed a quarterly dividend payment since 1829! That’s right folks, they’ve payed dividends to their shareholders consistently all through World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and even the 2008 global financial/banking crisis. This makes the BMO’s dividend payment history one of the longest uninterrupted streaks in the world.

Now if you’ll excuse me, armed with that information I think I have some stocks to go buy 😉

As always, thanks so such for visiting 🙂

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About Norm 2.0

World’s youngest grumpy old man & heart failure wonder boy. Interests: writing, woodworking, photography, travel, tennis, wine, and I know a bit about power tools.
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74 Responses to Thursday Doors – April 20, 2017

  1. Pistachios says:

    Never thought I’d be so captivated by a post about a bank! Excellent photos as always 😀
    It’s funny (and very true) what you said about the change in mentality/attitude toward banks with fancy buildings! The way you’re promoting BMO, though, maybe I should buy some stocks too 😉


  2. Wow! Those are some amazing buildings and so beautifully captured. That sculpture is rather amusing. lol. I remember when BMO came to Naples towards the end of my time living there. I’m not sure if they are still there or if they’ve sold the banks that they purchased.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jackie says:

    Smiling here on my first visit.
    I grew up in Montreal, worked for years at BMO in Place Bonaventure. My stepson works in that very building!!
    And my first wedding was across the street in Notre Dame chapel!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Jackie and welcome 🙂
      Small world isn’t it? Your stepson is lucky to be able to go to work every day in a building that is also a wonderful piece of art.


  4. Banks can be really classy and this is a perfect example Norm. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gorgeous doors and fantastic photos of the two buildings!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Banks seem to always be built majestically and you captured its essence including the doors and history. Love the statues; they add to the character of the building.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s a beautiful bank. Its doors are pretty too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a gorgeous building with an impressive history!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. reocochran says:

    Norm, I meant to capture a door set at the conservatory. There is a half door and interior doors but nothing worth adding your fine name and Thursday’s Doors upon! The lovely idea of a museum made me smile and the detail in the baroque carved stone mural in the triangular front peak was magnificent! It certainly is detailed and fine quality perspective, too. The sculptures were unique although I am strange as a sister to an artist who usually loves all art, found their appearance almost too “off putting!” No offense to the sculptor nor my friend, You! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Candy says:

    Now that’s a door you can bank on 😉 Quite formidable

    Liked by 2 people

  11. dennyho says:

    Your bank is beautiful, and the doors are stunning. Tall, wood doors are very stately, especially when wearing such ornate carvings. “Going to your bank’ makes me want to dress up!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. jesh stg says:

    Both the bank and the church are beautiful! The two statues are humorous:) Fun to think to go through the stately born door to deposit one’s money.
    I smiled about the logic of the bank to “show” their riches and security in money” since that seems the motto overall in the Northern part of this continent. I grew up with almost the opposite: Don’t show your riches, for someone will steal it.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. marianallen says:

    Beautiful buildings! What wonderful fanciness all over them both! My Uncle Slim used to say that the surest way to double your money is to fold it up and put it in your pocket. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  14. JT Twissel says:

    Quite a distinguished bank! Are the figures in the sculptures wearing false noses?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a beautiful old building! As much as I appreciate these gorgeous historic buildings, I think I’m definitely in the “If you can afford to build a place like this then you’re making too much money and probably overcharging me” camp (just like churches: “I’d rather that you spent to money really helping people rather than building grand and expensive edifices.”). I guess I’m glad they spent all that money building beautiful buildings before our attitudes changed. 🙂

    I love those sculptures too! What an interesting description of two cultures… it could probably be applied to many.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks. Those sculptures were a new discovery for me; despite the fact they’ve been there for a while, this was the first time I noticed them. And yes, the message could be applied to many other cultures as well 🙂


  16. ardputerbaughaolcom says:

    Thanks for providing some history about these two magnificent buildings, and I love the two snobs with their dogs!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Nancy says:

    Incredible doors! I have great “interest” in the architecture however… the bank has no “interest” for me! 🙂
    Thanks for the Stock advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. tinahomeblog says:

    Beautiful architecture. Super pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This is a beautiful building.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Susi Lovell says:

    Great photos of the Bank – the top one really conveys its size (depth as well as height), and the way it sits there so solidly! I didn’t know there was a museum inside – must go and check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Too much money is right… Still lovely to look at, as well as the pug and the poodle. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  22. joey says:

    I love the statues! 🙂
    It’s a beautiful, stately building, and those are fantastic doors, and I’m pretty impressed by the rate of return! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. cwaugh212 says:

    You amaze me with your consistently excellent door posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. ianbcross says:

    Great bank photos. It looks more like an Opera House than a House of Mammon, Norm. I am still having problems posting. I think the posted site is vulnerable to editing, if anyone is feeling malevolent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      I don’t know where you’re copying your links from Ian but this link and the one you posted on the link-up list are not links to a valid post. Make sure you’ve saved your draft or scheduled your post before copying and pasting the link.
      I’ll try to take a few minutes to find your actual post and fix the link for you.


  25. Joanne Sisco says:

    A great spot of history, Norm, and beautiful doors to go with it. I thought the 2 statues were most interesting, especially with their exaggerated snobby noses stuck in the air. Surprisingly, I hadn’t noticed the 2 dogs at all, until I read the plaque. I was overly intrigued by the noses … and the lady’s boots. I’m pretty sure I have a pair very similar to them 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Jennie says:

    Terrific photos, and stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Beautiful architecture and doors, Norm. But the two-piece sculpture is what caught my eye and really typified French Canada for me, very cleverly done.


    Liked by 1 person

  28. Dan Antion says:

    Thanks for the history, the beautiful photos and the stock tip, Norm. I love the main entrance doors, but there is that feeling of “if you can afford this, I wonder why you’re paying me so little interest.” I think the other thing that is long gone, is a desire by businesses to support and improve the cities where they are located. The expansion and growth to regional, national and international, has diminished the importance. Sorry for that. I do like that this building has been well-maintained and is still in use. I really like that they’ve added a small museum. Good choice for today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Dan. I agree that corporations generally do less than they used in terms of contributing to local beautification. On the flipside at least here, they do spend an awful lot sponsoring youth sport and major international events. I have to admit that I can’t help but be a bit skeptical of this type of ‘strategic philanthropy’ though.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Sherry Felix says:

    Love your report on this bank. You should work for the firm — or do you? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  30. susurrus says:

    I enjoyed the post and love the idea of doorscursion-friendly weather.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. You’ve sold me on that bank, Norm. Between the architecture and it’s steady financial history, I might even be tempted to open an account (this is from someone who is definitely not a lover of banks). I checked and there’s a Bank of Montréal in Dublin – I kid you not!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Jean. They were okay to do business with. We had our mortgage with them in the past but switched when we got a better rate elsewhere.
      I’m not surprised they’d be in Dublin, aside from the U.S. they have international branches in almost all the commonwealth countries.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Anisha says:

    Notre Dame has beautiful architecture….when i visited, I was in awe of it for days!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. LucciaGray says:

    Wonderful photos. I love these solid 19th-20th century buildings, emulating the grandeur of Greece and Rome with their strong columns. Everything is huge and larger than life, whichever angle you look at it!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. conspicari says:

    Really interesting blog post, what a great looking building, and the church is stunning. :>)

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Handsome architecture, massive doors, gold trim, and a stock tip. Norm, you are raising the bar. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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