(By Donald Fraser, Victoria, B.C.)
For many years the only bank in Perth was the Commercial Bank of the Midland District, afterwards called the Commercial Bank of Canada. Capt. Leslie was the agent. The office was in the stone building adjoining his then suburban residence, west end of Wilson street, in those days very far remote from the business centre of the town. The office was provided with a bell, the rope of which hung outside the gable end. Customers were few, but when one did come along he was obliged to ring the bell. In the course of time the captain came, wandering from some distant part of the fields, and had a little quiet conversation outside the building. Most likely no business was transacted; probably the customer called some other day when he may have been more fortunate. The words strenuous and keen competition in banking were then unknown. When John McIntyre gave up teaching he was appointed agent of the Bank of Montreal. The office was in a back room of Mair’s building, now owned by A. Meighen & Bros. His clerk was William Munro, of Lanark. This was a great accommodation to the business men of the town, several of whom were obliged to do their banking in Kingston. Shortly after this Capt. Leslie resigned and James Bell was appointed agent of the Commercial Bank. He built a small office adjoining his residence on Drummond street. Owing to Mr. Bell’s popularity and extensive knowledge of the community the business of the bank grew rapidly; additional assistance and more commodious premises were required. Mr. S. S. Revans was appointed accountant and the fine building now occupied by the Merchants Bank was built. The merchants, manufacturers and farmers were well satisfied with the banking facilities of the town generally, and society very well pleased with Mr. Munro and Mr. Revans, they were great favorites and very much in demand at all social events. The Commercial Bank amalgamated with the Merchants Bank in 1868, at which time the writer was manager at Walkerton, county town of Bruce. Mr. McIntyre‘s successors were Mr. Ness, Mr. Despard, Mr. Richards and Mr. Gray. At amalgamation Mr. Gray was appointed manager of the Merchants Bank of Canada.