1912: Three-storey vault
In 1912, Bank of Montreal’s Winnipeg main branch vault was the heaviest and most protected ever built.
Firearms and banks have had a close and sometimes uneasy relationship. Of all the ways of protecting the bank’s money, this was the most potentially volatile. One Bank of Montreal circular in 1964 advised on the number of guns that should be kept at a branch, according to its size. A minimum of two revolvers was suggested for a staff of up to six people; five revolvers were recommended for a staff of 40; and for the really big branches, the suggestion was for 20 or more revolvers. The guns were used as protection when moving money around the city.
In November 2001, the bank donated its collection of firearms and shotguns to the Stewart Museum in Montreal. To preserve the physical evidence of this little-known aspect of our history, two permanently disabled weapons – a revolver and a shotgun – were added to the BMO Archives.
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