Bank of British Columbia
Date of construction: 1885
Architect: Warren H. Williams
To emphasize the corner entrance of the main banking room, a Greek gable is mounted above the entrance. Above that in a roundel hovers Mercury, the Greek god of commerce. Opened on March 1, 1886, the bank featured cast iron pillars, lintels and windows sills were made in Albion Ironworks. Total cost of construction was $50,000. The site on which the bank is located is where the former bachelor’s quarters of Fort Victoria stood.
Soon after 1900, the Bank of British Columbia was absorbed by the Bank of Commerce. In 1903, the Bank’s most famous employee, Robert W. Service – the Bard of the Yukon – worked at a salary of $50 per month and lived above the bank vault that he guarded. He transferred to Kamloops in 1904 and then to Whitehorse.
In 1907, the offices above the bank were occupied by T. J. Jones – dentist, B. C. Development Association, E. Crow Baker – financial agent, Victoria Bank Clearing House, L. M. Mills – art studio, and B. C. Deposit and Loan Co. Ltd.
The Bank of Commerce closed this branch on January 15, 1987. It was then turned into a Christmas store. In 2008, the vacant building was acquired by publican Matt McNeill who transformed the former bank into the Bard and Banker Pub.
Project manager and researcher: Helen Edwards
Principal Photography & Consultant: Ron Bukta, West Ventures Photography