Bringing our heritage to life

Bringing our heritage to life: BMO Archives is committed to preserving our heritage so we can continue to live our Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life, and help our customers make real financial progress and communities thrive. Discover more about this unique collection.

About the Archives

As Canada’s first bank, established 50 years before Canada’s Confederation, BMO has an extensive heritage collection. It documents not only the evolution of the bank and its impact on North America’s financial industry, but also the many public developments BMO funded relating to the birth of the nation and how they fueled the business growth that has helped the North American economy thrive. As the bank has expanded across continents, our collection has grown to reflect the rich heritage of the many other institutions that have joined us to help our customers make real financial progress.

The Corporate Archives is home to unique and profoundly important collections. The Archives has existed from as early as the 1930s. However, the discipline of collecting and preserving information goes back to our earliest years, when the bank’s executives requested that Henry Dupuy, BMO’s first accountant, carefully document his memories of the very first years so that they could learn from and improve on its first 50 years of operation.

We’ve made a lot of progress since these early beginnings when our first accountant recorded his tales. The Archives is now a fully-fledged department located at our Montreal Head Office.

Our mandate is to collect, preserve, and promote the heritage of the institution. We actively ensure that the history of yesterday is preserved for tomorrow and that we are collecting a faithful record of the impactful decisions made by the bank today for future generations.

Our collections are large and diverse. They include the records and photographs that make up the 200 years of the bank’s socio-cultural history, materials relating to significant economic developments, the evolution of money within the nation and beyond, as well as antiques and records that document technological innovations over the years. Along the way, we have also collected some ephemera and whimsical items that remind us that banking isn’t only about numbers and money, it’s a human business.

The Archives is staffed by professionally-trained archivists to ensure that culturally significant collections are readily accessible and properly preserved for the future. Our collections are also safeguarded in a climate-controlled facility to protect against humidity and high temperatures and are actively catalogued and stored to prolong their lifespan.

If you have questions about our collections or how to access them, please contact the Corporate Archives for further information.

Main Page Images:
Homepage: Photograph of Bank of Montreal employees operating an IBM cheque sorter, Montreal Genie Center, 1963.
Exhibits: Photograph of Bancardchek identity card display, Bank of Montreal traveling exhibit, 1969.
About: Photograph of Bank of Montreal employee serving customers, First Canadian Centre, Calgary, Alberta, c. 1950.
Articles: Photograph of Bank of Montreal employees writing in ledgers at Prince George Branch, British Columbia, 1910.
Collections: “ ‘My Bank’ to 3 million Canadians”, advertisement, 1961.
Museum: Photograph of Bank of Montreal Main Branch, Montreal, Quebec.
Milestones: Photograph of members of the Bank of Montreal Young Expos Club and outfielder Rusty Staub, c. 1970.

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