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Key Number: HS 18700
Site Name: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Other Names:
Site Type: 0402 - Mercantile/Commercial: Bank

Location

ATS Legal Description:
Twp Rge Mer
12 5 4


Address: 577 - 2 Street SE
Number: 77
Street: 2 SE
Avenue: 5 SE
Other:
Town: Medicine Hat
Near Town:

Media

Type Number Date View
Source

Architectural

Style: Classical Revival
Plan Shape: L
Storeys: Storeys: 2 1/2
Foundation: Basement/Foundation Wall Material: Concrete
Superstructure: Concrete Block
Superstructure Cover: Brick - Bond: Stretcher
Roof Structure: Medium Gable
Roof Cover: Asphalt Shingle
Exterior Codes: Massing of Units: Double Semi-Detached, Non-Related
Wings: Rear
Number of Bays - Facade: First or Ground Floor, 3 Bays
Wall Design and Detail: Frontispiece
Wall Design and Detail: Column or Engaged Column
Wall Design and Detail: Pier or Pilaster
Wall Design and Detail: Corinthian Capital
Wall Design and Detail: Quoins
Wall Design and Detail: Quoins
Wall Design and Detail: Plinth
Wall Design and Detail: Plinth
Wall Design and Detail: Entablature
Wall Design and Detail: Plain Parapet
Wall Design and Detail: Inscription or Date Stone
Wall Design and Detail: Balcony
Roof Trim - Eaves: Projecting Eaves
Roof Trim - Eaves: Decorated Soffit
Roof Trim - Eaves: Decorated Frieze
Roof Trim - Eaves: Other
Roof Trim Material - Eaves: Stone
Roof Trim Material - Eaves: Tile or Terra Cotta
Roof Trim - Verges: Projecting Verges
Roof Trim - Verges: Moulded Fascia
Roof Trim - Verges: Decorated Soffit
Roof Trim - Verges: Pediment
Roof Trim - Verges: Other
Roof Trim Material - Verges: Stone
Roof Trim Material - Verges: Concrete
Dormer Type: Shed
Dormer Type: Shed
Chimney Location - Side to Side: Offset Left
Chimney Location - Side to Side: Offset Left
Chimney Location - Front to Rear: Offset Front
Chimney Location - Front to Rear: Rear
Chimney Stack Material: Brick
Chimney Stack Material: Metal
Chimney Stack Massing: Single
Chimney Stack Massing: Single
Roof Trim - Special Features: Monumental Pediment
Window - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Window - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Moulded Flat
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Moulded Flat
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Keystone
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Moulded
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Moulded
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Material: Stone
Window - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Material: Concrete
Window - Sill Type: Moulded Slip Sill
Window - Sill Type: Continuous Sill
Window - Sill Material: Stone
Window - Sill Material: Concrete
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Moulded
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Flat Transom, Single Light
Window - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Moulded
Window - Number of Sashes: One
Window - Number of Sashes: Two, Double Hung
Window - Opening Mechanism: Single or Double Hung
Window - Opening Mechanism: Fixed
Window - Special Types: Ellipse or Oval
Window - Special Types: Ellipse or Oval
Main Entrance - Location: Centre (Facade)
Main Entrance - Location: Centre (Facade)
Main Entrance - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Main Entrance - Structural Opening Shape: Flat
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Entablature
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Head: Entablature
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Pier or Pilaster
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Pier or Pilaster
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening - Sides: Ionic Capital
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening Material: Stone
Main Entrance - Trim Outside Structural Opening Material: Concrete
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Head: Flat Transom, Single Light
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Moulded
Main Entrance - Trim Within Structural Opening - Sides: Column or Engaged Column
Main Entrance - Number of Leaves: 2
Main Entrance - Number of Panels Per Leaf: 1
Main Entrance - Number of Panels Per Leaf: 1
Main Entrance - Leaves - Special Feature: Glass
Main Entrance - Leaves - Special Feature: Glass
Main Stairs - Location and Design: First or Ground Floor, Closed Railing
Main Stairs - Location and Design: First or Ground Floor, Closed Railing
Main Stairs - Direction: Straight
Main Stairs - Direction: Straight
Main Porch - Type: Platform
Main Porch - Special Features: None
Exterior: Has a complex gable rather than the strictly classical flat roof, which gives it a more vernacular appearance.
Decorative cornice below roofline, gabled dormers on west elevation, molded trim around windows, quoins, engage Corinthian columns inscription pediment, shed dormers, bedford stone.

Dimensions: 50' x 88'7"
Interior: Building originally housed bank offices, four real estate agencies, two surveyours, chiropractor and investment business.
Environment: The bank building occupies a prominent position in the downtown of Medicine Hat, at the corner of 5th Avenue and 2nd Street.
Condition: The bank is in fine structural condition. The enterior has been preserved virtually intact, although in the early 1960 extensive interior renovations were made. The foundation is stable. Good (2004)
Alterations: 1960 - extensive interior renovations were made. Except for the addition of a stairwell it is not known how much impact the renovations have had upon the interior historic fabric. 1913 - addition 1956 - repairs, permit 648 1960 - addition and alterations, permit 382 1964 - bathroom and stairway, permit 16 1972 - interior renovations, permit 637

Historical

Construction: Construction Date:
Construction Started
1908/01/01
Usage: Usage Date:
Canadian Bank of Commerce
Vacant
1908/01/01
1980/01/01
Owner: Owner Date:
City of Medicine Hat
Cypress Club Assets Limited.
City of Medicine Hat.

1947/01/04
1980/08/19
Architect: N/A
Builder: N/A
Craftsman: N/A
History: Historical Significance:
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce was founded in August 1866 by Toronto financial interests and remained a Central Canadian institution until the turn of the century, when expansion broadened the Bank's interests in the Maritimes and the Prairies. In 1902 a tour of the North-west Territories was conducted by the manager of the Winnipeg branch, Sir John Aird, who recommended the establishement of the new branches in what is now southern Alberta.
The Medicine Hat Branch first opened a rented quarters, but business was so successful in the burgeoning town that, in 1907 the branch constructed its building.
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Medicine Hat is a 2 1/2 storey gable roofed structure build of brick in a loosely classical style. Its erection illustrated the Commerce bank's confidence in the bouyant economy of south eastern Alberta during the great wave of immigration of that period. It was the first Medicine Hat bank to plan such a move giving it the major advantages over its traditional competitor, the Bank of Montreal.
Building / Site Description:
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Medicine Hat is a 2 1/2 storey gable roofed structure built of brick in a loosely classical style in 1907. Its erection illustrated the Commerce bank's confidence in the bouyant economy of south eastern Alberta during the great wave of immigration of that period. Its presence in Medicine Hat, as in many Canadian Pacific Railroad towns rivalled that of the Bank of Montreal in capturing the business of local industry and the financial management of the Western Canadian grain trade. While classical detailing was evident in most of the CIBC buildings, in this case, an adaptation of traditional Ontario gable styles is clearly evident. It is one of a few pre-1914 structures which remain in downtown Medicine Hat.
Architectural Significance: The Bank of Commerce in Medicine Hat is a two and one-half storey brick building with loosely classical detailing like most Commerce bank buildings built in Alberta in the early part of the cetury. It was this style that officials perceived to be the hallmark of a respectable banking instituion. At the same time the Medicine Hat structure has a complex gable rather than the strictly classical flat roof, which gives it a more vernacular appearance.
* * *
The Bank of Commerce opened a branch in Medicine Hat July 24, 1902; however, this is probably not the the first building. This building was probably constructed in the 1910s or 1920s.
* * *
The Canadian Bank of Commerce
The Canadian Bank of Commerce was founded in August 1866 by ... 'a group of wealthy and influential businessman engaged in the trade of Upper Canada.' In May 1867 branches opened in Toronto, London, St.
Catherines and Barrie, after the necessary subscription of $400,000 had been reached. The Honourable William McMarter (1811-1887) was chosen as president of the bank, and Henry S. Howland (later president of the Imperial Bank of Canada), was named as a vice-president. By 1897 the Canadian Bank of Commerce had 46 branches, mostly in Ontario, but a national expansion of business took place in Canada during 1898 and 1899, leading to the opening of thirteen additional branches. In 1900 the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce absorbed the Bank of British Columbia and its branches. The bank's total assets were $64,000,000.
...
After five years in rented quarters the Canadian Bank of Commerce decided to expand into permanent quarters and the new bank opened its doors on January 13, 1908. Tenders had been called for the building on January 24, 1907 giving the Bank the distinction of being the first banking institution in Medicine Hat to plan for its own structure.
The Canadian Bank of Commerce opened 26 other bank buildings in 1908, at a total cost of $583,345, as part of their expansion drive across Canada. It proved to be the busiest construction year in the bank's history. They were followed later that year by the Bank of Montreal, while the other two banks in town, the Merchants Bank and the Union Bank continued to occupy leased quarters.
Work started on the new building on May 2, 1907. The exterior pressed brick for the building was shipped in from Memonanee, Minnesota but the interior brick came from the Permal Yards in Medicine Hat.
Construction progressed throughout the year 1907 and on December 19, 1907, the Medicine Hat News reported that:
The Canadian Bank of Commerce building is almost ready for occupancy. It has been erected at a cost of $35,000 and, ...
is a most handsome structure. The building is on the southeast corner of Main Street and Fourth Avenue, the other three corners being occupied by the municipal buildings, the Medicine Hat News block and the new post office.
The Medicine Hat Canadian Bank of Commerce opened in January 1908, a two and one-half storey side gable roofed structure with a pedimented central front gable above a slightly projecting central bay. It is sheathed in Red-brown brick set in English garden wall bond, and trimmed with ashlar stone. The logic and clarity of the stipled symmetrical facades echoed in the interior plan where there was ample public space and compact offices. Extensive classical detailing complements the structure's solid massing. Paired fluted pilasters, topped by Corinthian capitals decorated with acanthus leaves, flank the entrance and define the central bay. A moulded stone architrave surrounds the central square-headed entrance, capped by a flat hood supported on consoles, the type of bracket associated with classical architecture. Long square-hooded windows on the first floor are emphasized by moulded surrounds and keystones. Smaller rectangular windows light the second storey. At the centre of the front facade is a tripartite rectangular window with stone divisions or mullions. The facades are topped by a full classical entablature composed of a two part architrave a frieze on which is carved the banks name and a cornice with modillions. The front pediment is echoed by pedimented gables on each end of the structure. An oculus window in the front pediment, a feature found in a great many Commerce banks, is also echoed by blind oculi in the other gables. There is extensive ashlar stone quoining at the corners and a high, stone base. The massing and detailing of the main body of the bank is also extended to the two storey rear gable-roofed addition.
...
The Canadian Bank of Commerce is one of a small number of pre-1914 structures left in downtown Medicine Hat. By 1914 the town had seven bank structures of which only two still exist, the other being the small Imperial Bank.
HISTORIC WALKING TOUR
The Canadian Bank of Commerce
577 - 2nd St. SE

The former Bank of Commerce, now a Provincial designated Resource, was built in 1907 to serve the rapidly expanding banking needs of the community.
The double Corinthian columns on either side of the doorway, and the wide stone band topping the building, are fine examples of classical detailing favored by most banks of this vintage.

Internal

Status: Status Date:
signed)
Active

2004/07/08
Designation Status: Designation Date:
Provincial Historic Resource
1981/03/25
Register:
Record Information: Record Information Date:
K. Williams 1989/06/26

Links

Internet:
Alberta Register of Historic Places: 4665-0184
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