Historic Portage and Main BMO building to become future home of Métis Nation Heritage Centre

The Manitoba Métis Federation has struck a deal to buy the historic Bank of Montreal building in downtown Winnipeg to ring in the province’s 150th birthday.

In a joint news release issued late Monday, the Manitoba Métis Federation and BMO Financial Group announced the sale of the bank building at Portage and Main.

MMF president David Chartrand said the plan is to make it the new home of the Métis Nation Heritage Centre.

“Reconciliation is about making real change through practical accomplishments. Today’s milestone of reconciliation shows the leading role that can be played by the private financial sector,” he said in the release.

Part of the city’s original banker’s row, the Bank of Montreal occupied 355 Main St. for more than a century, until announcing plans last fall to move into the office tower at 201 Portage Ave. 

An archival photo of the Bank of Montreal building in the 1950s. (Manitoba Archives )

“The Métis have a rich history in Winnipeg, and we couldn’t have found a better partner to pass on the legacy of this building,” said John MacAulay, regional president for the bank.

The Red River Settlement, known as Winnipeg, is the birthplace of the Métis Nation and heart of their homeland. The prominent location has been an “essential crossroad of trade and commerce” and holds “symbolic” significance, Chartrand said in the release.

“Today’s joint announcement welcomes us back.”

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