Two venerable Alberni Valley institutions are celebrating their centennials this weekend.
On Friday, Dec. 2 the Bank of Montreal recognizes 100 years of service to the community. And on Sunday, Dec. 4, a special event has been planned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first E&N passenger train to arrive in Port Alberni.
The Bank of Montreal hosts an open house from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at its Third Avenue branch. BMO the Bear will be there at 2 p.m. Staff will dress in period costume to serve customers, and historical banking equipment will be on display as well, branch manager Chad Lamirande said.
The original bank opened Dec. 27, 1911. The branch opened at its present location in 1961.
This celebration is a big deal for the bank, Lamirande said. “Each year only a few banks have that milestone,” he said.
On Sunday following the Santa Train runs, the No. 7 locomotive will make a special centennial run at 1:30 p.m.
It will pull an excursion train of dignitaries and the public for a short run to the edge of town, returning at 2:10 p.m.
Students from Eighth Avenue School will hold up the “100 Years” banner that the train will run through.