Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Showstopper Space

Yesterday I showed you one former bank on Sparks Street that has been converted into government space. This is another example, one that I've shown you the exterior of before. The Bank Of Montreal established this Beaux-Arts beauty here in 1930 as a main branch for the bank in the city, right across from Parliament Hill. The bank left these quarters in 2005, and has since established a new main branch a short walk away. The government has made the building into a conference and reception center accessible from both Wellington Street and Sparks Street, and named it in honour of our first Prime Minister. The Sir John A. Macdonald Building was first opened for Doors Open last year, but I missed getting in, so this year I made sure to stop in. It is definitely a showstopper inside.

The stairs that lead down to the Sparks Street level also lead to the vault, which today is used as a conference space. The vault door itself is still there, and it is thick.

One final space I wanted to show was the bank manager's office back in the day, and this fireplace is in it. 

The building is a beauty, inside and out, and generally speaking, Doors Open is the only time the public will get in. I can definitely see its value for receptions and conferences, so it was well worth the effort for the government to transform it into this new use.

This final view takes in the building from the Sparks Street side. I will return to the Doors Open series after the beginning of the month, as I still have other sites to cover.


  1. Showstopper is right. The Bank spared no expense and really made a statement with this beautiful building. Glad it's still in use.

  2. The banks were a kind of palaces in those days. It is almost a bit insane to have built them this way only to "nurse" our money.

  3. Nice patterns on the floor, like quilting.

  4. Big building with very nice interior designs.

  5. awesome space ... was trying to pick a favorite part ... but it's so shiny ... wow wee!! ( ;

  6. ...lovely place, but I wouldn't want to job to change the light bulbs.

  7. That certainly is a grand space! Lots of nice details too!

  8. @Linda: it is!

    @Kay: it is a suitable use.

    @Marianne: palaces is an apt term

    @Marleen: they caught my eye.

    @Nancy: they built it well.

    @Beth: I was glad to get in.

    @Maywyn: indeed.

    @Tom: these days it must be done with a hydraulic lift, but imagine moving a ladder over and over.

    @Halcyon: I was impressed.

  9. I agree about the light bulbs! Repurposing the building is good!

  10. A show-stopper for sure.
    Tomorrow is Canada Day and also CDP theme day---umm let me guess

  11. What a gorgeous building. That bank manager had a very nice office.

  12. I applaud the Bank of Montreal for building such an opulent main branch and the government for using it for conferences.

  13. You Ottowans certainly know how to put together and/or restore a beautiful building! Wow. Love the ceiling lights!

  14. @Jennifer: and this was done well.

    @MB: one more day, but at this point, who's counting? It's going to be busy here.

    @Sharon: they did indeed!

    @RedPat: it really is.

    @Red: it's good that it's been set aside.

    @Lowell: this one is a spectacular building.

  15. Showstopper, indeed. But... a little cold. It could use some greenery to warm it up.


  16. Stunning interior William.. magnificent high ceilings! Must have been brilliant coming in here when it was actually a bank.

  17. This is a magnificent building!

  18. as we live in a repurposed former textile mill, I applaud the use of any similar re-use. It is far better to convert rather than tear down.

  19. Showstopper is right what you have taken.

    Will you be celebrating the Canada Day along with thousands of people this weekend?
    A lot of security will be there.

  20. I am very impressed by the size of the building. Banks were big in their heyday.

  21. It's a great building. Good shots.

  22. Janis: I suspect greenery would be dwarfed in here!

    @Grace: I guess the idea back then was jaw dropping.

    @Norma: it certainly is.

    @Cloudia: thanks!

    @Beatrice: it's quite a good new use. I think more effort was put into building the annex that now serves as the primary entrance. The original building feels like it didn't need too much work.

    @Carolann: I do plan on being downtown, but not on Parliament Hill.

    @Bill: they certainly were.

    @Klara: thank you!

  23. You live in such a beautiful area and how lucky you can be out and about to enjoy it.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

  24. Yeah, that's what I want--an office with my own personal fireplace. Sweet!

  25. Wow, wow and wow ...
    Showstopper is the word.
    The height of the ceilings is incredible, what a feeling of space.

    Lovely series of photographs William, in fact I've enjoyed your Doors Open posts, thank you.

    All the best Jan

  26. You are right. That is one beautiful building. You are so fortunate that someone didn't destroy it and build something different as they do in Los Angeles, and in much of the United States. Tradition just doesn't mean as much.

  27. I would not want to get locked behind that vault door, no matter how beautiful the building.

  28. Love the artful touches! That ceiling sparkles.

  29. What a great building. Specially the hall is very impressive.

  30. @Parsnip: thank you!

    @Revrunner: what a place!

    @Jan: you're welcome.

    @Mari: this building is now well used.

    @Catalyst: I wonder how long the air would last.

    @Linda: it does indeed.

    @Francisco: thank you!

    @Jan: it is indeed.