Advertisement

Bank building at Portage and Main to become Métis Nation Heritage Centre

Click to play video: 'Bank building at Portage and Main to become Métis Nation Heritage Centre' Bank building at Portage and Main to become Métis Nation Heritage Centre
The Bank of Montreal on the southeast corner of Portage and Main will soon be home to the Métis Nation Heritage Centre, Global's Malika Karim reports – May 12, 2020

A heritage building at Portage and Main is about to become even more iconic.

The Bank of Montreal on the southeast corner of Portage and Main will soon be home to the Métis Nation Heritage Centre.

BMO and the Manitoba Métis Federation made the announcement Tuesday, on Manitoba’s 150th Birthday, with both saying the sale of the building is a step towards reconciliation.

Story continues below advertisement

MMF president David Chartrand told 680 CJOB as his organization continues to grow, they had been looking for a new facility for a long time.

Upper Fort Garry was initially targeted as a potential site, he said, but when that fell through and the Bank of Montreal subsequently became available, it was a no-brainer.

“Those negotiations commenced, and months later, we’re raising our flag on top of the building as we’re the new owners — and proud owners — of an historic location in Winnipeg and Manitoba,” said Chartrand.

“The historical connection is amazing — their bank goes over 200 years old, our nation goes over 350 years old.”

READ MORE: Bank of Montreal leaving historic building in Winnipeg after more than 100 years

“The Métis have a rich history in Winnipeg, and we couldn’t have found a better partner to pass on the legacy of this building,” said John MacAulay, Regional President, Prairies Central, BMO.

The BMO building is more than 100 years old, built originally in 1913. It was declared a heritage site in 1980.

Story continues below advertisement
13
Métis celebrations at BMO Portage and Main . Global News / Randall Paul
23
Métis celebrations at BMO Portage and Main . Global News / Randall Paul
33
Métis celebrations at BMO Portage and Main. Global News / Randall Paul

The building itself has a rich history — a 9-foot statue of the Canadian Soldier stands on the corner, memorializing more than 200 bank staff who died in the First World War.

While Chartrand said he couldn’t share financial details of the deal, he said both the MMF and BMO were walking away with a win.

Story continues below advertisement

It’s a very good deal, let’s put it that way. Both sides are very happy.”

There were no details on when the building would be converted or on the sale itself, but Chartrand said the tentative plan is to put the heritage centre right in the center of the building’s iconic main floor, with the second floor being used as office space.

It’s all part of a larger expansion of MMF facilities and services across the province, he said, including a planned hiring of between 500-700 people later this year.

For now, though, the historic location at Portage and Main couldn’t be a better one for Chartrand.

“I think it sends a very powerful message,” he said. “We’re right by City Hall with our flag flying.”

Click to play video: 'Next steps for Manitoba Metis Federation’s Two-Spirit Michif Local' Next steps for Manitoba Metis Federation’s Two-Spirit Michif Local
Next steps for Manitoba Metis Federation’s Two-Spirit Michif Local – Aug 22, 2019

Sponsored content