Address: 303 Main Street North
Also known as: Bank of Nova Scotia
The Bank of Nova Scotia Building is a non-designated Heritage Property located at 303 Main Street North on the northeast corner of Main and Fairford streets in downtown Moose Jaw. The property is a two-storey stone and red brick-clad structure completed in 1912.
The heritage value of the Bank of Nova Scotia Building rests in its architecture. Designed by architect Frank Peden of the Peden and McLaren architectural firm of Montreal, the Bank of Nova Scotia Building was one of many bank branches they designed across Canada for the Bank of Montreal. The Moose Jaw Evening Times wrote that ‘while the building will not be large it will be ornate in appearance and handsomely fitted up”. True to that sentiment, the building exhibits elements of the Beaux-Arts classical style of architecture, including its symmetrical design, rusticated granite base, ornate limestone entrance with Doric columns, capitals, and entablature with dentils. Other decorative features such as pilasters with capitals, keystones, voussoirs, flat arch window openings on the upper floor, cornice with dentils, decorative brickwork, and stone tracery on the parapet speak to the reliability and permanence of the banking firm. Designed by Frank Peden, the supervising architect, however, was Richard Geoffrey Bunyard. Upon arriving in Moose Jaw in 1906 he opened the first architectural firm in the city and kept it in operation until 1928 and is responsible for several prominent blocks on Main Street such as the Bellamy Block, the Elk/Sun Block used by the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, the former Eaton’s store and the Grant Hall Hotel building.
The heritage value of the Bank of Nova Scotia Building also rests in its role in the development of Moose Jaw. The Bank of Montreal, Canada’s oldest bank arrived in Moose Jaw and set up a branch at the site of the current Walter Scott Block in 1909. In 1912, The Bank of Montreal responded to the City’s continued economic progress by constructing this building for their local branch. The main floor housed the banking operations while the second floor was dedicated to housing staff. In 1922, the Bank of Montreal absorbed the Merchant’s Bank of Canada and moved its local operations to their more elaborate branch immediately across the street at 237 Main Street North. The Bank of Nova Scotia took over this building at that time and continued to occupy it ever since while carefully preserving its exterior appearance. The Bank of Nova Scotia’s move into this building in 1922 fulfilled the bank’s aims to have their own branch building. Those plans date back to 1914 when they proposed constructing a $40,000 bank branch of their own on the lot immediately to the north of this site. Those plans were abandoned with the arrival of war in August of that year.
The heritage value of The Bank of Nova Scotia Building resides in the following character-defining elements:
- its prominent location at the intersection Main Street North and Fairford Street in the downtown area near other buildings of similar age of construction and ornamentation;
- the Beaux-Arts classical styled elements of its architecture including its symmetrical design, rusticated granite base, ornate limestone entrance with Doric columns and capitals and entablature with dentils.
- Other decorative features such as Menomonee red brick cladding, pilasters with capitals, keystones, voussoirs, flat arch window openings on the upper floor, cornice with dentils, decorative brickwork, and stone tracery on the parapet that speak to the reliability and permanence of the banking firm.
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