Bank of British North America

The Bank of British North America was founded by Royal Charter issued in 1836[1] in London, England with offices in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Saint John, New Brunswick, Halifax and St. John's, Newfoundland. It was the first bank operating in British Columbia.[2] It also operated agencies in New York City and San Francisco. Like the other Canadian chartered banks, it issued its own paper money. The bank issued notes 1852–1911. The end dates are the final dates appearing on notes, which may have circulated for some time after. The Bank of Canada was established through the Bank of Canada Act of 1934 and the banks relinquished their right to issue their own currency.

Bank of British North America
TypeCharter company
Founded1836 (1836)
Defunct1918 (1918)
FateMerged into the Bank of Montreal
SuccessorBank of Montreal
Area served

It merged with the Bank of Montreal in 1918. British North America was the common name by which the British colonies and territories that now comprise Canada were known prior to 1867. Many Canadian banks disappeared as a result of mergers in the 20th century and by 2007, only five or six major banks and several smaller ones still operate in Canada.


The Bank of British North America in Dawson, Yukon built in 1899 is on the Registry of Historical Places of Canada.[3] The Bank of British North America in Winnipeg, Manitoba, constructed in 1903-04, is on the Registry of Historical Places of Canada.[4]

49 Yonge Street, TorontoEdit

49 Yonge St; current building

The first Toronto branch, designed by John George Howard was built in 1845, with exterior work by John Cochrane and Brothers,[5] at the northeast corner of Yonge Street and Wellington. The current building, designed by architect Henry Langley, replaced the original in 1875.[6] A restaurant occupies the ground floor with offices above.

276 Duckworth Street, St. John'sEdit

The former Bank of British North America in St. John's, Newfoundland built in 1849 is on the Registry of Historical Places of Canada.[7] This bank building was constructed in 1849, after the St. John's fire of 1846, by Halifax architect David Stirling.[8]

1211 King Street West, TorontoEdit

Bank of British North America (King and Dufferin, Toronto)

The former branch constructed in 1906-07 at the southwest corner of King Street West and Dufferin Street in the Parkdale area of Toronto continued to operate as a branch of the Bank of Montreal until its closure in 2018.[9]



  1. ^ Handbook of Upper Canadian Chronology: Revised Edition By Frederick H. Armstrong 1841. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  2. ^ Ashcroft, the gateway to Northern British Columbia. 1909.
  3. ^ Bank of British North America
  4. ^ Bank of British North America
  5. ^ John CochraneDictionary of Canadian Biography
  6. ^ Toronto Heritage Properties Inventory, 49 Yonge St[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ former Bank of British North America
  8. ^ Newfoundland & Labrador's Registered Heritage Structures, St John's Bank
  9. ^ Toronto Heritage Properties Inventory, 1211 King St W[permanent dead link]
  • Denison, Merrill, 1893–1975. Canada's first bank : a history of the Bank of Montreal. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, c1966. 2 v. : ill., maps, ports., (some folded, some col). ; 25 cm.

See alsoEdit