By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
WELLAND – Last of the so-called ‘Big Five’ banks still with a presence in downtown Welland pulled up its roots today.
The RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) branch, 41 East Main St., moved its services to a north Welland branch, 571 Niagara St., at Roger Dr. The end of the business day, and the end of business after several decades in the prime location, came around noon, according to two downtowners.
Some may still recall this, Royal Bank had a third Welland location when in-person banking was in its prime. It had a branch on East Main St., at Scholfield Ave.
Today’s event is one in a long line of financial institution departures from the downtown core, not at all unlike those in other communities. Hangers-on on Main Street include a National Bank branch at 469 East Main St., at Crowland Ave., and a Pen Financial Credit Union branch at 247 East Main St.
In the mid-1950s, Welland counted eight bank branches in the business core area of East Main, West Main and King streets.
Over the years, while some branches were shuttered outright, others opened in new locations, for example a stand-alone TD branch on Niagara St., and other branches in the mall.
Names of other financial institutions lost include trust companies like Lincoln Trust, Canada Trust and Guaranty Trust to name three that operated in the downtown.
The accompanying graphic comes from a 1956 Vernon City Directory, listing the bank branches that operated in Welland’s downtown and one that was located on King, near Ontario Road.