This ongoing series from Barrie Historical Archive curator Deb Exel shows old photos from the collection and one from the present day, as well as the story behind them.
Canadian Bank of Commerce — 46 Dunlop St. E.
The Bank of Upper Canada, founded in 1819, was the very first bank to have a representative in Barrie – namely, one Capt. John Moberly.
Moberly, a commander at the Penetanguishene naval establishment in 1834, had been born in 1789 to English parents in St. Petersburg, Russia. He came to Barrie, along with his family, in 1843 to become a licence inspector for Simcoe County.
Three of his children went on to make their marks as well.
Son Walter trained as an civil engineer with Frederick Cumberland, and in the 1850s worked with the originator of Standard Time — Sanford Fleming — to survey the rail line through Simcoe County before going on to explore the Lake Superior area. He eventually ended up in British Columbia, surveying Vancouver and working on other projects, as well as finding the Eagle Pass in the Rocky Mountains for the railway.
Walter's brother Frank had a similar engineering profession in the Peace River region, while younger brother Harvey took a position in the Russia office of Lloyd’s insurance, where he met Sir George Simpson of the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Inspired by Simpson’s tales of hunting in Canada, Harvey returned in 1854, joining the Hudson’s Bay Company, where he held the job of chief factor for 40 years, and occasionally acted as an independent trader for the company.
When Capt. Moberly died in 1848, he was replaced by Daniel Whitley at the Bank of Upper Canada until 1855, when Edmund Lally, the Simcoe District treasurer, assumed the position.
The Bank of Upper Canada failed in 1866.
The Canadian Bank of Commerce was established in 1867 — assuming the Bank of Upper Canada — and Lally opened one of the bank’s original branches, located in Barrie, in their founding year.
In 1914, the Canadian Bank of Commerce built its imposing and impressive branch at 46 Dunlop St. E.. The new building was grand in every sense of the word – an impressive and reassuring banking edifice inside and out.
The stately Bank of Commerce watched passersby, parades, fires and many comings, goings, happenings and events on Dunlop Street until the 1970s when it was demolished and the current building replaced it.