Walking down Yarmouth's Main Street, there are many uniquely designed buildings. One such structure that will surely catch your eye is located at 341 Main Street. This distinctive and imposing building was originally constructed to be used as the Yarmouth branch of the Royal Bank of Canada. Built in 1912-1913, it was designed by Montreal architect, Kenneth G. Rea, and was constructed by general contractor, James Reid. The building has a granite base, concrete foundation, terra cotta mouldings, is two storeys, and is of a Victorian Commercial style.
The Royal Bank of Canada opened its doors on April 30, 1913. An excerpt from the Yarmouth Herald, dated April 29, 1913, reads, “The Bank has steadily increased in business until now it has 338 branches. The head office was formerly in Halifax where it was incorporated in 1869, as the Merchants Bank of Halifax.”
At the time of the opening in 1913, the branch manager was F. Shute. Other managers throughout the years have been A.R. Feener, from 1971-1976, and J.E. Theriault, from 1981-1985.
In 2006, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax decided to open a satellite branch in Yarmouth, and they moved into the former Royal Bank building. Working to make art accessible to everyone across the province, the Yarmouth Branch of the Art Gallery boasts an impressive collection of pieces from artists such as Mabel Killam Day, Alex Colville, Ernest Lawson, and of course, the beloved Maud Lewis.
This building is the perfect example of how spaces can repurposed from their original function. Sadly, so many buildings are abandoned or torn down once the occupants move. We are thankful that the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia saw the potential at 341 Main Street and created a beautiful space where people can go and enjoy art from all over our amazing province.