Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
February 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


The Dominion Bank


[This article was published in 1948. For the full citation, see the end of the text.]

Dominion Bank. The Dominion Bank had its beginning on April 26, 1869, when a group of four men held a meeting in the law office of Messrs. Ross, Lauder, and Mulock in Toronto and decided to apply for a charter. William Mulock, now the Rt. Hon. Sir William Mulock, P.C., K.C.M.G., chief justice of Ontario, was one of the four, and is the only one now living. The charter was issued that year and provided for an authorized capital of $1,000,000, with $400,000 to be paid up. Several local banks had recently failed, and as a consequence it was not an easy matter to raise the necessary capital, but this was finally accomplished, owing to the high calibre of the men who formed the provisional directorate. These men were John Worthington, James Crowther, John Crawford, M.P., the Hon. J. C. Aikins, Walter Sutherland Lee, Joseph Gould, the Hon. John Ross, James Holden, and Aaron Ross. Business was commenced on February 1, 1871, in temporary premises in the store, at 40 King street east, of E. Harris, a dealer in paints.


Careful consideration was given to the location of branches, and in 1871 the first four were opened in Whitby, Oshawa, Orillia, and Uxbridge. The next year a city branch was established in Toronto on Queen street west, but later it was moved to the corner of Queen street and Augusta avenue.


This was the first city branch established anywhere in Canada, and from this beginning have developed the present-day chains of offices conducted by nearly all the Canadian banks in the larger centres. In 1877 tenders were called for the erection of a building on the corner of King and Yonge Streets where the present head office of the bank, built in 1914, still stands. In 1826 this plot of ground had been described as "a meadow with a very offensive pool of water thereon, and had been sold for £750." This bank now has 134 branches in Canada, including 42 in the city of Toronto, a branch in London, England, and an annum agency in New York.


The success of the Dominion Bank is due to the business acumen and prudent management of the directors and officers since its incorporation. An historian of the Canadian banking system has recorded that "from the first the management of the Bank was recognized as representing an exceptional combination of prudence and enterprise."


The presidents of the Dominion Bank have been as follows: - James Austin , 1871-97; Sir Frank Smith, 1897-1901; Sir Edmund Osler, 1901-24; Sir Augustus Nanton, 1924-5; Albert W. Austin, ciation. 1925-33; Clarence A. Bogert, 1933-4; C. H. Carlisle, 1934-.


R. H. Bethune, who formerly had been with the Quebec Bank, assumed the general management at the new bank, and at that time he was known as cashier. In 1892 his designation was changed from cashier to general manager, and he continued as chief executive until his death, in 1895, when R. D. Gamble was appointed general manager. Mr. Gamble died in 1899, and was succeeded by T. G. Brough. Upon Brough's death, in 1906, 'Clarence A. Bogert succeeded to the general-managership and occupied that position for twenty-seven years, or until January, 1933, when he became president, and Dudley Dawson was appointed general manager. C. H. Carlisle was appointed president in January, 1934, C. A. Bogert becoming chairman of the board.


The growth of the institution is seen in the following comparative figures. --Year 1872, capital, $834,544; reserve, $50,000; deposits, $1,057,150. Year 1945 capital, $7,000,000; reserve, $7,965,750; deposits, $197,718,577.


A dividend at the rate of 8 per cent. per annum was paid in 1871; this dividend has never been decreased, and has never been passed in more than fifty years, the present distribution being at the rate of 10 per cent. per annum.

Source: W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411p., pp. 224-225.

© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College