The Bank of Montreal has grown into the country’s fourth largest financial institution since opening in 1817. During a rapid expansion across Canada during the early 20th century, BMO constructed several elaborate branch buildings. Many are now designated as having cultural and historical interest. One of them is in Hamilton. The impressive Neoclassical design by architect Kenneth G. Rea was built in 1928. Notice the bank’s original coat of arms in the pediment. The figures represent members of the First Nations, the Inuit and Métis people. Engraved in the shield are a rose from England, a thistle form Scotland and a shamrock representing Ireland. The heraldic design also displays a beaver with a larger one on top of the shield. Today, this is called the Gowlings Building. It predominately houses law offices.