Historic Sites of Manitoba: Merchants Bank Building / Bank of Montreal Building (22 Second Avenue, Austin, Municipality of North Norfolk)
A two-storey brick building at the corner of Second Avenue and Leyton Street at Austin, in the Municipality of North Norfolk, was designed by Calgary-based architect Reginald Edwardes McDonnell (1887-1963) and built from Fall 1919 to Spring 1920 as a branch of the Merchants Bank of Canada. The bank had originally opened business at Austin in June 1912, as a sub-agency of its branch at MacGregor. The bank operated on the main floor and a suite for manager Reginald R. Wright was on the second floor. It became the Bank of Montreal after the 1922 merger of the two banks. The branch closed in April 1931.
In the early 1930s, the second floor was later used as an office and residence by physician Samuel Zeavin. By the 1950s, it had been used as a cafe, hotel (Nu Look Inn), and soap factory. After sitting empty for a time, it became an apartment block. In 2020, the building was ordered vacated by public health authorities.
The building was demolished on 18 January 2023.
A Rear View Mirror: A History of the Austin and Surrounding Districts by Anne M. Collier, Altona: Friesen Printing, 1967, page 73.
Through Fields and Dreams: A History of the R.M. of North Norfolk and MacGregor, Volume 2, 1998, pages 718, 720, 723, 750.
Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, 1800-1950 by Robert G. Hill, Toronto.
We thank Jordan Makichuk for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Neil Christoffersen and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 18 January 2023