The Royal Bank Tower & Other Quebec Curios

More details Saint-Jacques street with the Royal Bank building (the tallest), 1935 More details Saint-Jacques street with the Royal Bank building (the tallest), 1935

Before the RBC moved into PVM, it had to move to Montreal first. Founded originally in Halifax, Nova Scotia, they moved their headquarters to Montreal on rue Saint-Jacques in the earlier twentieth century, back then known as St. James Street, the financial district of Montreal of Ville-Marie. However, due to their rapid expansion, the original building they had moved into proved too small, and so plans for construction for the Royal Bank Tower came into existence.

Constructed in a short amount of time, from 1926 to 1928, the RBC Tower is built in the Neoclassical style evocative of Florentine palazzos and the older parts of New York. The latter is no surprise: it was planned by New York architects York and Sawyer with the input of S. G. Davenport. At its completion, the skyscraper was the tallest building in the British empire. With a grand total height of twenty-two stories and 121 m, it is roughly equivalent to double of the height of the Notre-Dame Basilica.

Close inspection of the building reveals interesting details. The exterior contains a depiction of Mercury, the Roman god of commerce (Hermes for Greek mythology fans), while the interior features the coat of arms of the United Kingdom, each of the Canadian provinces, Newfoundland, and the arms of Halifax and Montreal. The lavish interior includes cathedral ceilings and marble counters.

The Royal Bank sadly vacated the building of its presence back in 2012 to the more modest (and technologically modern) location of the Tour de la Bourse a few blocks down. All is not lost, however: the building is protected as a heritage building in Montreal.

Visit the RBC Tower at 360 rue Saint-Jacques ouest.

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