EDITORIAL: Preserving heritage

The future of the Summerland Bank of Montreal building is uncertain

This summer, the Summerland branch of the Bank of Montreal will close its doors.

The branch, on Main Street, has been a part of Summerland for more than a century. The bank has had a presence in the community since the early 1900s, and it has operated out of the building on Main Street since 1917.

Some will remember setting up their first bank accounts at that branch. Others have memories of the years when they worked for the bank.

For them and others, the connection to the bank branch is deeply personal.

Banking today has evolved over the past decades, and the way a bank serves its customers today is not the same as 25, 50 or 100 years ago.

As customers use online banking services and make purchases using debit transactions, the branch itself will also play a different role than in previous years.

While the decision to close the branch can be seen as a sign of changing times, it still affects past and present customers and staff.

In 1996, the building received Summerland’s Heritage Building Award. The award was given by the Summerland Museum and Heritage Society, in recognition of the historical value of the building.

The building is also on a list of heritage buildings in Summerland. The list was created in 1988 and it has been adjusted since that time. However, some of the Summerland buildings and sites have been destroyed or significantly altered over the years.

The heritage inventory and the heritage building award both serve to identify buildings with historical value, but they do not guarantee these buildings will remain as they are today.

Additional measures may be needed in order to ensure this building and other heritage sites are protected.

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