355, rue Saint-Jacques
The hotel Le St-James hides a rich past, but just the exterior is undeniably part of the historic sides of the city. Behind its exterior walls, the hotel sits on the ancient fortifications of the city. My visit to old Montreal was pretty much organized on what I wanted to see again and I have to admit that this building was not on my list, but by walking nearby you just can’t pass by and not be amazed by another nice opulent structure. Upon my return home I started searching and discovered that the actual building was built in the early 1870’s for the head office of the Merchant’s Bank. Indeed, another bank on St-Jacques Street.
So, if you choose to stay at this hotel, you will be kind of living in the rich wealthy environment of multiple generations. Also note that you are very well located to walking distance to many historical sites in addition to the Metro (underground transportation) that can connect you with other parts of the city.
Following the dismantlement of the wall that was protecting Montreal in the early XIXth century, different owners occupied this lot until 1844 when, originally known as Commercial Bank, buys it. The bank was later purchased by the influent businessman Hugh Allan, already prosperous in the sea transportation, and the name was changed to Merchant’s Bank. The building originally used by the bank was razed to make place for a bigger building to host the new head office of the bank.
The 1870’s building is not exactly the same as what you can see today. Almost 30 years later, the architect assigned to the project did an amazing job by adding floors while providing a continuous look to the original facade.
In 1929, the Bank of Montreal purchased the Merchant’s Bank and the building was sold. An additional level was again added.
Currently, the Hotel Le St-James welcomes their guests in this elegant historical place filled with special treasures.
Thanks for the hotel’s effort in giving this building its sophisticated style.
Note: Thank you “B” for your time to review.