BMO Bank of Montreal celebrated the 40th anniversary and the newly renovated First Canadian Place flagship branch located at the corner of King and Bay Street in Toronto yesterday.
EXTENSIVE BRANCH RENOVATIONS
The renovation of the First Canadian Place branch included a 16-month, five-phase construction schedule that began July 2013 and was done in December 2014. The progressive design concept focussed on the redevelopment of the main-floor banking area to transform First Canadian Place into a true flagship branch.
In order to produce a branch that met both customer needs and wants, BMO invested in extensive research with design consultant Figure3 and found that the number-one desire from customers was transparency in the banking experience.
“Today, the branch is less about making transactions and more about providing an environment for customers to have meaningful, transparent conversations about their financial matters,” says Andrew Auerbach, senior vice-president, Greater Toronto Division, BMO Bank of Montreal. “This renovation was done with that goal in mind – to remove the physical barriers of the traditional bank branch created a more welcoming space designed to provide a great customer experience.”
Highlights of the newly renovated flagship branch:
• Removal of private offices and meeting rooms (signalling the elimination of “backroom banking”)
• Creation of free meeting areas or “hives” of banking activity
• Breaking up the long transactional “us vs. them” counter that defines traditional banks
• Division of business lines into “banks-within-a-bank”
– BMO Bank of Montreal retail branch
– BMO Nesbitt Burns Wealth Management Centre
– BMO Harris Private Banking
– BMO InvestorLine and Financial planners
BMO’S HISTORY AT FIRST CANADIAN PLACE
In July of 1818, the newly established Bank of Montreal began operations in the settlement of York (now Toronto), which helped pave the way for the establishment of branch banking in Canada. Bank of Montreal’s operations in York facilitated trade between Upper Canada (now Ontario) and Lower Canada (now Quebec), propelling the rapid growth of financial services in the region.
In 1845, BMO built its first building on the northeast corner of Front and Yonge streets and in 1885 a new building was erected on the northwest corner of Front and Yonge. In 1919, the building was expanded by purchasing the Salada Tea Building, and part of the building was renovated, where a lofty banking room created which still exists today.
BMO purchased the northwest corner of King and Bay streets in 1938. Subsequent construction of a new building, which began in that year, was delayed by the Second World War, but resumed after cessation of hostilities. In 1949, BMO moved its divisional and main offices into the 16-storey building. The building was demolished in 1975, replaced by the 72-storey First Bank Tower (now First Canadian Place).
The main First Canadian Place branch opened on June 9, 1975, and moved into its current podium location in FCP on June 11, 1979.
ALL ABOUT BMO FINANCIAL GROUP
Established in 1817, BMO Financial Group is a highly diversified financial services provider based in North America. With total assets of approximately $633 billion as of April 30, 2015, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.
For more info about BMO Bank of Montreal, visit