Celebrating 120 years

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Merchants Bank of Canada

merchantsbank_then&now

Located downtown at 657-659 2nd Street SE, the Merchants Bank of Canada was the first purpose-built financial institution in Medicine Hat. Constructed in 1899, the two-storey masonry building is a rare example of a Georgian-style building in the city. With its symmetrical elegance, hipped roof and full-height storefront, the Merchants Bank of Canada has been a prominent structure in downtown for 120 years. The building was among the first in Medicine Hat to be designated as a Municipal Historic Resource by the Heritage Resources Committee, in 2010.

The bank itself was established in Quebec in 1864 and gradually spread to other provinces. The Medicine Hat branch was the second to open in Alberta, the first being in Edmonton. James Hargrave and Daniel Sissons were the local developers, with the building being designed and constructed by John A. Trimble. The bank remained in operation in Medicine Hat until 1910, after which it was leased to the Southern Alberta Land Company. Over the decades the building has housed a variety of businesses including a jewelry store, music store, accountant office, and the Treasury Board of Alberta. Today it is the home for holistic health services and a yoga studio.

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1912 photo courtesy of Esplanade archives.