Royal Bank of Canada head office in Montreal, 1908
Early in 1906, Royal Bank commissioned New York architect H.C. Stone to design a new head office building to be located in the heart of Montreal's financial core. Completed in 1908, the classically designed 147 St. James Street office was dominated by columns supporting four statues. These statues, or the "giants of St. James Street," as they later became known, represented Royal Bank's contribution to the "four pillars" of Canada's thriving commerce - transportation, fisheries, industry and agriculture.
Some 80 years later, the rigid demarcations separating the "four pillars" of Canada's financial services industry - banking, insurance, trust and securities - were erased due to worldwide globalization, deregulation and technological innovation.
Royal Bank struck decisively with its acquisition of investment dealers Dominion Securities
(1988) and Richardson Greenshields (1997); Voyageur Insurance Company (1993), Westbury Canadian Life Insurance Company (1996), the Canadian operations of Mutual of Omaha (1998), Royal Trust (1993) and various other institutional and pension custody businesses.