Inspired by the bank's general manager and later managing director, Edson Pease, the Merchants' Bank pursued a strategy of securing a leading role in the corporate financial affairs of Montreal. The opening of a branch in Montreal in 1887, then the hub of Canadian finance, exemplified the bank's shift from a colonial perspective to a continental strategy.
Beginning in the 1890s the bank's branches were pushed out to the furthest reaches of national development as branches began to dot British Columbia and, one decade later, Manitoba and Saskatchewan and Alberta.
The scope of this transformation forced changes to the bank's image and structure. The Board of Directors shed the old Merchants' Bank of Halifax title in favour of the "more comprehensive" The Royal Bank of Canada in 1901. Symbolizing the bank's coming of national age, its head office was moved to Montreal in 1907 and a new head office building was built at 147 St. James Street one year later.
Did You Know?
Did you know that the first Governor of the Bank of Canada was Graham Towers of Royal Bank? However, another Royal banker, Edson Pease, has been recognized as the first proponent of a Canadian central bank in 1918.