Canada's first bank

Canada's first bank was opened on November 3, 1817. With paid-up capital of 250,000 pounds, the New Bank of Montreal was located in a rented house at 32 St. Paul Street.

Spearheaded by fur trader John Richardson, the opening represented the culmination of 25 years of lobbying. Initially opposed by many locals, the attitude toward a regular bank and currency changed due to the prosperity brought by the Army Bill's use in the 1812 war. With the withdrawal of these notes bearing six percent interest rates, it became difficult to finance new ventures because of lack of currency.

Indeed, without a form of legal tender, Canadians faced wildly fluctuating rates of exchange for the British, French, Spanish, Halifax’s and American specie in circulation. John Richardson and eight Montreal merchants formed the bank to discount, deposit and issue money.

The first years, the bank was open weekdays (including Saturday 10a.m. to 3p.m…

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