Sympathetically rehabilitated in 1997, the Bank of Commerce is Nanaimo’s premier example of Classical Period Revival architecture. Built in 1914 during the 1912-1914 coal miners’ strike, the building’s classical conservatism represented tradition, stability and prosperity during a fractious and volatile period. Built to standards plans designed by Bank of Commerce staff architect Victor Horsburgh, the building transcends mere copying and responds dramatically to its prominent downtown corner location.
The Bank of Commerce Building’s monumental presence, manifested in four massive columns, makes it second only to the Bastion as the city’s most recognizable landmark.
The Bank of Commerce is an important intact example of the type of bank architecture that predominated throughout Canada during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.