In 1907 the Royal Bank of Canada moved its head office from Halifax to Montreal. As the building in Saint-Jacob Street turned out to be too small, in 1926 the board of directors of the biggest bank in Canada hired New York architects York and Sawyer to build a prestigious new building on Saint-Jacques Street. Between 1920 and 1926 the bank had bought up all the property between Saint-Jacques, Saint-Pierre, Notre-Dame and Dollard Streets to demolish all the buildings there including the old Mechanics' Institute and the ten-storey Bank of Ottawa building in order to make space for the new 22-storey building.
In 1962, the Royal Bank moved its main office to another famous Montreal building, Place Ville-Marie, however kept a branch in the impressive main hall of the old building, situated in Old Montreal. That branch relocated to the nearby Tour de la Bourse in July 2012 .
Saint-Jacques street with the Royal Bank building (the tallest), 1935