In August of 1858, The Bank of Canada in the Province of Canada was incorporated and chose Toronto as its head office. However, this charter was brought by another group of investors and the charter was amended by August 15, 1866, changing the name to the Canadian Bank of Commerce. On May 15, 1867, the bank opened for business in Toronto with an authorized capital of $1,000,000.
The bank showed rapid progress and by 1871 had 18 branches in Ontario and 1 in Montreal. In 1870 it absorbed the Gore Bank, an institution which at one time had shared a leading position with The Bank of Upper Canada and The Commercial Bank. Further expansion occurred following amalgamations with The Bank of British Columbia in 1901, The Halifax Banking Company in 1903, The Merchants Bank of P.E.I. in 1906 and The Eastern Townships Bank in 1912. Total assets of the bank had grown from $3 million 1868 to $70 million in 1901, $113 million in 1906 and $246 million in 1912.
Continuing to expand during World War I, the banks assets reached $440 million by 1918, ranking it as the third largest bank in Canada. Like other banks, it gave considerable assistance to the government, and despite wartime operating conditions it continued to expand its business. In 1961 it amalgamated with The Imperial Bank of Canada to form The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
British West Indies Issues
Trade relations between the province of Nova Scotia and the West Indies had always been active, as far back as the early days of The Halifax Banking Company, the business of which was acquired by The Canadian Bank of Commerce in 1903. The latter opened branches in Havana, Cuba, and Kingston, Jamaica, in 1920, followed by others in Barbados and Trinidad. After the opening of these branches, application was made to local authorities for note issuing privileges similar to those enjoyed by other banks doing business in these colonies. These privileges were granted, and specially designed notes were prepared for use in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados. The Jamaica issues appeared in £1 and £5 denominations and the Trinidad and Barbados issues appeared in local denominations of $5, $20 and $100.