Once upon a time, banks used to build their main branches to be impressive, imposing structures that conveyed one simple message:
Your money is safe with us
Or perhaps it was:
We have lots more money than you do
Regardless of the message they were conveying--or how it was interpreted--these buildings were palaces and temples to lucre.
Here's the lobby of the old Bank of Montréal headquarters and main branch at Place d'Armes in Old Montréal, built in 1847. This building predates Canada by 20 years.
Wham! Hits you like a ton of bricks when you walk in. Unless you're a captain of industry or a robber baron, you probably can't help but feel impressed when walking into this joint.
And these places were always more impressive on the inside than from the outside. Not too shabby, but nothing like the inside.
Read more about the old Bank of Montréal HQ here.