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Imperial Bank of Commerce & Thomson Brothers Block

A point of interest on the Discover Downtown Calgary GPS-guided audio walking tour.

Press play & listen to the tour audio!

Audio Transcript

If you take a look across the road, you'll see a sandstone building on the street corner. That's the Imperial Bank of Commerce building!

When it was first built between 1886 and 1887, this was one of two identical and adjacent sandstone buildings built for the quickly developing downtown. In 1892 it was purchased by the Imperial Bank of Canada, which was actually the first chartered bank to open in Calgary! The IBC then made alterations to embody a different architectural style and make the building more prominent.

Like most of the historic buildings in this area, the building would be leased to a number of different companies as the years went on!

Alright now let's practice your counting skills. We're going to talk about the fourth building from the corner. If counting's not your thing, that's ok, it says "Thomson Brothers Block" at the top of the sandstone building. Go ahead and walk a bit closer while I talk if you like.

This building’s original owners, James and Melville Thomson, were in the business of stationing and bookselling. While their first location in Calgary was a small frame building on Stephen Avenue, their business would go on to expand. In 1893, due to their success, they were able to build this new building that you see here today!

Despite the brothers leaving in 1900, the building has continued to be used in a retail capacity to this day!


Calgary, AB    Discover Calgary

This POI is featured on the Downtown Calgary Audio Walking Tour, part of the Tripvia Tours mobile app available for Android & Apple.

All audio walking tours are self-guided and include fully narrated commentary.

Trivia Challenge

Each POI has a fun multiple choice trivia challenge you can test your skills on.

The trivia questions are separate from the commentary and completely optional.

The app keeps score for you so you can challenge your friends and family.

How it Works

hands free + audio 

automatically plays

audio tours play based

on GPS location

fun trivia questions

add to the fun

easy navigation with

live GPS maps

professional tour guides

family friendly

no data used on tour 

no signal required

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