Before there was Bay Street, there was St. James Street. For nearly a century, this Montreal thoroughfare – now known as Saint-Jacques Street – was the heart of Canadian finance, until the spectre of Quebec sovereignty and the rise of Toronto knocked the city into also-ran status.
But late last year, National Bank of Canada broke ground on a 40-storey, $500-million highrise, right here on the same street where it was headquartered a century ago. The symbolism is rich: The development marks the return of a major Canadian financial institution to this historic location, as well as the first major bank head office built in decades outside of Toronto.
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