Amherstburg’s BMO one of the oldest branches in Canada



By Jolene Perron


The month of November marks a very important month, not only for the BMO Bank of Montreal in Canada but also for the Amherstburg branch which is celebrating 113 years.

On Nov. 3, BMO turned 200-years-old. The Amherstburg branch was first opened Nov. 21, 1904 by the Molson’s Bank, which is now amalgamated with the Bank of Montreal who took over the private banking business of the Cuddy-Falls Company, according to branch manager Karen Davidson.

“I have worked at the Amherstburg branch for over 11 years becoming branch manager in 2013,” said Davidson. “I am proud to be part of an organization that for two centuries has put our clients first and supports the community where we live and work. I am a second generation banker and have worked for BMO Bank of Montreal for over 30 years and take pride in where everything started and I’m energized and excited to be part of a stable organization with a long history and reputation.”

The first BMO bank was opened on Nov. 3, 1817 and the first permanent bank in British North America opened its doors on St. Paul St. in Montreal. Davidson explained prior to this, pioneer Canadians mainly used bartering for means of payment, and Bank of Montreal became the model for the Canadian banking system. It was the first to issue Canadian banknotes in 1817, the first to finance Canada’s transcontinental railroad, the first to offer internet banking across North America and the first listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

According to their BMO history book, Davidson said the bank’s geographic expansion followed the paths of Canadian trade and investment. It took just one month for Bank of Montreal to open a “substantial agency in Quebec,” which was followed by locations in Toronto, Kingston, Queenston, Perth and Amherstburg.

“I have had the pleasure to work for many great leaders, one being June McManemy, branch manager who was one of the first female branch managers for BMO in Essex County, 1983, and retired back in June 2007,” said Davidson.

The branch will be having a celebration Nov. 24 with current and past employees to commemorate the bank’s 200-year existence, as well as the branch’s 113 anniversary.


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