190th anniversary of BMO Bank of Montreal: More than $2.6 million in renovation work at BMO's Main Branch and Place d'Armes complex in Montreal

    MONTREAL, Nov. 2 /CNW/ - BMO Bank of Montreal's Main Branch today
celebrates its 190th birthday, one day before its actual founding on
November 3 1817, and invites its customers to join in the party. A birthday
cake will be served between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the presence of period
    Bank of Montreal first opened for business in a building on Montreal's
Saint Paul Street, making it the country's first bank. Two years later, the
Bank moved to the corner of Saint François Xavier and Saint Jacques Streets.
The Bank built the current main branch, located at 119 Saint Jacques Street,
in 1847. The neoclassical façade, barely altered since its construction, is in
striking contrast to the sumptuous Italian Renaissance interior, the work of
the renowned architectural firm McKim, Mead and White.
    Since its founding, Bank of Montreal has played a significant role in
projects key to the growth of Quebec and the rest of Canada, including the
construction of the first canals, telegraphs and railways, most notably
Canadian Pacific's transcontinental line. The Bank was also responsible for
the first Canadian currency, which it issued from its founding until the Bank
of Canada was created in 1935. Key moments in the Bank's history are presented
at the institution's Museum, which is located next to the Main Branch.
    "The Main Branch in Montreal is one of the most notable buildings in the
country and holds a special place in both the city's architectural heritage
and Canada's history," said Nadine Girault, Vice-President, Downtown Montreal,
BMO Bank of Montreal. "That is why we have invested more than $2.6 million in
recent months to maintain and restore it."
    During the latest round of work, the masonry of the building's façade was
restored, the entrance steps replaced and the grillwork and windows in the
rear of the building restored. In addition the top cornice and the decorative
pediment were cleaned.
    The pediment features the Bank's coat of arms flanked by two natives and
a colonist and a fisherman, who represent trade and agriculture. It is more
than 15 metres high, weighs 25 tonnes and is one of the most impressive pieces
of sculpture in Canada.
    The Bank's coat of arms and motto, Concordia salus, which is located in
the centre of the work and means "Prosperity through harmony," were inspired
by those of the City of Montreal, which came into use around 1833 under the
administration of the city's first mayor, Jacques Viger.
    "My colleagues and I are proud to work every day in this magnificent
branch and can promise our customers, whether individuals or companies, that
they will always find here, in this unique setting, a professional ready to
have a meaningful discussion that starts and ends with their needs,"
Ms. Girault added.
    With 65 employees, the main branch today serves more than 20,000
customers and provides a full range of banking products and services to
individuals and businesses.

    BMO Bank of Montreal operates 160 branches in Quebec and is a member of
BMO Financial Group, which also serves its Quebec customers through 17 BMO
Nesbitt Burns branches and two BMO Harris Private Banking offices. With some
5,000 employees in Quebec, BMO Financial Group is known for its community
involvement and announced more than $6 million in donations and sponsorships
in the province in 2006.

For further information:

For further information: For Media Relations Enquiries: Ronald Monet,
Montreal, (514) 877-1873, ronald.monet@bmo.com

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