Bank of New Brunswick incorporated

On today’s date in 1820, the Bank of New Brunswick was incorporated in Saint John, N.B. as the first Canadian bank to operate under a charter.

Soon after, the Bank of New Brunswick began issuing its first bank notes, which is would continue after Confederation until 1906. Denominations issued were $1, $2, $3, $4, $5, $8, $10, $20, $50 and $100.

The Bank of New Brunswick was established on March 25, 1820 in the pre-Confederation province of New Brunswick. Located in a new building on Prince William Street in Saint John, the bank was founded by prominent businessmen from the area. At the time, Saint John was the Maritime’s largest city, exceeding both Halifax and Toronto in population for some time during the 19th century. By the 20th century, the bank lacked the capital necessary to remain competitive, so its shareholders accepted an offer to merge with the Bank of Nova Scotia in February 1913. The large city of Saint John wasn’t attracting overseas investment despite higher returns when compared to Upper Canada. 

The bank’s early notes are very rare, often selling for around $1,000.

The bank’s early notes are very rare, often selling for around $1,000.

Generally, investors chose Central Canada. The bank’s headquarters moved to Montreal, with investors moving west as the country opened up. The Saint John Board of Trade, along with many others, wished for “commercial union” with the U.S.; however, the Toronto Board of Trade opposed commercial union. At the time, the House of Commons was controlled by Ontario’s 100 seats – 59 of which were Conservative, including Toronto – while New Brunswick had 19 seats, with 3 Liberals from Saint John. Former The Macdonald government voted down the commercial union bill of 1888, which would have granted Saint John access to a much larger U.S. market, continuing its economic power. Instead, the city was cut off from much of Central Canada and experienced a quick decline over the next century.

Leave a Reply

Keep up to date with the numismatic community

Sign up to receive our newsletter.

Canadian Coin News


Canadian Coin News is Canada's premier source of information about coins, notes and medals.

Although we cover the entire world of numismatics, the majority of our readers are Canadian, and we concentrate on the unique circumstances surrounding collecting in our native land.

Send Us Your Event

Running an event? Send it to us and we will display it on Canadian Coin News!

Submit Event →

Subscribe To 26 Issues For Just $47.99/year

Subscribe today to receive Canada's premier coin publication. Canadian Coin News is available in both paper and digital forms.

Subscribe Now

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage.