BMO Bank of Montreal celebrated the 100th anniversary of its Rimbey branch on November 29.
Historical notes from the Bank’s Archives state that the branch, originally a Merchants Bank of Canada, was first opened in Rimbey on November 17, 1913, in the private home of Bert Thorp. At the time Rimbey consisted of a very small settlement of around 50 people with a general store, blacksmith shop, post office and a few houses. It was the center of a fairly well improved district, and had for a number of years been served by the Bank of Montreal’s Lacombe Branch. BMO purchased all the branches of the Merchants Bank of Canada in the early 1920s.
J.O. Lethbridge was the first manager of the Rimbey branch. Lethbridge was the proud possessor of the only motorcar in the district at the time. And, partially through necessity, he and his assistant lived in a tent, summer and winter for two years. Since the Bank’s beginnings, there has been steady progress.
In the spring of 1914, more suitable quarters were secured in rented premises on Main Street obtained from Jim Rimbey, originally intended as a poolroom, which filled the requirements until the building was destroyed by fire on December 9, 1922.
A building was then purchased from Ben Rimbey and moved onto the Bank’s own lots. Premises were built in 1928 and over the years additional buildings and renovations have taken place.
“I’d like to congratulate BMO on 100 years in our community,” said Rimbey’s mayor Rick Pankiw.
“Rimbey is proud of its western heritage which is strengthened by the long-standing relationships built by community members and organizations, like BMO, who contribute to the vibrancy of the town.”
“BMO is proud to provide exceptional customer service in Rimbey, with a population that has grown to 2,500,” said Numa Kwan, Regional Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal. “One hundred years later, BMO continues to serve the financial needs of the Rimbey residents and towns in the surrounding area, in this mixed farming and oil and gas rich region, including Ponoka, Lacombe, Rocky Mountain House, Bluffton, Leslieville and Eckville.”