Nova Scotia

Historic Bank of Montreal will be preserved by Old Sydney Society

The Bank of Montreal building, a 117-year-old landmark in downtown Sydney, will soon be changing hands as bank employees move from Charlotte Street to a brand new location a few blocks east of the downtown core.

117-year-old stone building will be turned into museum

The Bank of Montreal's main branch in Sydney will close this summer, and employees will move to new location a few blocks east of the downtown core. (Hal Higgins/CBC)

The Bank of Montreal building, a 117-year-old landmark in downtown Sydney, will soon be changing hands as bank employees move from Charlotte Street to a brand new location a few blocks east of the downtown core.

The historic stone building has been donated to the Old Sydney Society, whose chair Vince MacLean is delighted.

"We're extremely grateful to the Bank of Montreal," he said.

He said BMO absorbed the full cost of an environmental assessment for the building, which was required before the transaction could take place.

"If they sold it, I don't think it would make a great Robin's or Tim Hortons, so there were limitations, it being an historic building," he said.

Inside the Bank of Montreal on Sydney's Charlotte Street. (Hal Higgins/CBC)

He said he felt the bank genuinely shared the society's interest in preserving the landmark, built in 1899.

"We will operate it as a museum," said MacLean, adding it will take the society's board some time to determine what will be displayed there.

The Old Sydney Society, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, operates four museums in the city's historic north end, including Cossit House and St. Patrick's Church.

MacLean said since bank employees don't start work in the new location until July 11, it will likely be August before society members have free rein to start making changes to the building.

The plan right now is to work on it this fall and winter, with the hope of opening it as a museum in the spring of 2017, he said. 

The new Bank of Montreal location in Sydney will open on July 11. (Hal Higgins/CBC)

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