BMO branch bids goodbye to historic Portage & Main building
Jason Gaidola, CTV News Winnipeg
Published Tuesday, August 6, 2019 5:24PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, August 6, 2019 6:29PM CST
The Bank of Montreal will be moving out of its landmark Portage & Main building to move across the street next spring.
BMO will be vacating the iconic Winnipeg building at 335 Main Street, where it spent more than a century.
On Tuesday it said the bank will be relocating across the Portage & Main intersection at 201 Portage Avenue.
“This is about our customers driving change in what we do and, as they change how they want to do their banking, we’re responding,” A BMO spokesperson told CTV News.
The banking giant added that the relocation will bring together “retail and business banking as well as wealth teams all in one location, to better support customers."
According to a report by the city, the historical landmark, a staple to the city’s ‘Banker Row’, was constructed in 1913 and designed by McKim, Mead and White, a famous architectural firm based in New York City. The landmark is known for its neoclassical style and is designated as a Historical Resource listed by the City of Winnipeg.
Heritage Winnipeg's executive director Cindy Tugwell says she's “shocked and saddened” by the move.
“This was a statement of ‘we are here, we have arrived'" she said.
“Every Winnipegger remembers coming to Portage & Main and seeing this iconic building.”
Mayor Brian Bowman said he’s aware of BMO’s plans to move.
“They’ve been responsible stewards of that building for a tremendous amount of time when the banking industry was changing significantly,” Bowman said.
CTV News asked Bowman if the city has interest in purchasing the landmark, he said no discussion or thought was held.
“I think we’ll let the marketplace do its thing, “ Bowman said.
Tugwell said she hopes the historical building does not become a night club or a transient entity. She believes it will attract a serious bidder because of its real estate value and limited access around Portage & Main.
“When you have access to the bank from the concourse, during banking hours, what happens if it’s something that has to be utilized in the evening, how are you going to really access it when you don’t have street access?,” Tugwell said.
BMO said its Hargrave Street location will be relocating to 201 Portage as well.