Montreal – Theatre St-James (Canadian Bank of Commerce)

265, rue Saint-Jacques

At 265 Saint-Jacques, on the same street as the Molson’s Bank, sits another historical bank site, the current St-James Theater, which has an interesting past.

The first establishment on this site was St-James church which was used less than 20 years when the community decided to move. The religious structure was demolished to build the Temple building which was also demolished to make way for the Canadian Bank of Commerce branch which was built between 1907 and 1909. 

The Canadian Bank of Commerce was founded in 1867. Almost a century later, in 1961, it merged with the Imperial Bank of Canada to become the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).

Like the BMO bank (1847) and the Stock exchange building (1903), the 1909 Canadian Bank of Commerce building wanted to be recognized as a prominent bank and adopted the imposing Corinthian columns building style. Not like its predecessors, the bank used this building for 100 years.

Interesting fact: It seems that in the early years of opening, offices were rented to the White Star Line which sold tickets for the Titanic.  When the disaster was announced in April 1912, people gathered around the building to learn more.

Today, it is a theater, St-James Theater offers rooms for exclusive private events.

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