The Royal Bank is a stone building in the Classical Revival style located at 226 Water Street, St. John’s, NL. It is a large building that occupies an area of downtown St. John’s in which several other banking institutions are also present. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
City of St. John's Heritage Building, Structure, Land or Area
226 Water Street has been designated a City of St. John’s Municipal Heritage Building because of its architectural and historic values. 226 Water Street is aesthetically valuable because it is a very fine example of the Classical Revival architectural style. This is evident in the symmetrical façade and balanced use of decorations. Classical details, such as pilasters, dentils, columns, urns and fret work express the institutional nature of this bank building, while also emphasizing the importance of the financial institution. 226 Water Street is faced with a lightly colored cut ashlar, and stands apart from surrounding buildings because of its color and high level of decoration. The size of the building is also another distinguishing feature, set off by the very large plate glass windows on the first level. The main entrance is recessed and columns flank each side of the opening. 226 Water Street is historically valuable because it is considered the oldest existing “foreign” branch In Canada. The bank opened in St. John’s in 1895, the year the colony’s banks failed. Then called the Merchants Bank of Halifax, the Royal Bank opened an agency in Water Street to assist in the restoration of essential banking services. It remained the only branch on the island until 1911. Source: City of St. John’s Archives property file 226 Water Street, Royal Bank.
Character Defining Elements
All elements that reflect the building’s Classical Revival design, including: -symmetry and use of pilasters, columns, dentils urns and fret work in the decoration of the facade of the building; -light coloured ashlar sheathing; -shape, size, decoration, and placement of windows; -brackets under the first storey windows; -second entrance with its recessed doorway and transom; and -size, location and dimensions of building.
Large multi-paned windows on first storey facade. Pilasters decorate the first storey. Urn decorations between the second storey windows. Brackets under the first storey windows. Fret work over the first storey windows. Second entrance has a recessed doorway with transom.
Location and History
City of St. John's
226 Water Street
1892 - 1893
Rectangular Long Façade