Innisfree Prairie Bank of Commerce

The Innisfree Prairie Bank of Commerce received official designation as a Provincial Historic Resource on March 1, 2001 by the Honourable Gene Zwozdesky, Minister of Alberta Community Development. 

It is registered under the Canada's Historic Places.

In 1905, the Canadian Northern Railway (CNor.R) completed work on its line from Edmonton to Lloydminster. Numerous sidings had been established along the track to service the railway and its workers. One of these sidings, Delnorte, developed into a modest, but prosperous, mixed farming community that also serviced the surrounding agricultural hinterland.

Local lore has it that in 1905, Sir Edmund Walker, general manager of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, toured the Delnorte area and noted the similarities between the landscape of nearby Birch Lake and that of Innisfree, his family retreat by the Lake Isle of Innisfree, in Ireland. Walker reputedly agreed to provide the settlement with "the most beautiful bank on the Prairies" in exchange for the townsfolk renaming their community after his summer place.

In 1906, the first Canadian Bank of Commerce was established in the community in temporary premises. The following year, the branch relocated to the impressive Neo-Classical bank building that it would occupy for the next nine decades.

The founding of the branch bank in Innisfree mirrored the establishment of early financial institutions in other rural communities throughout the province. Banking in western Canada during the first decade of the twentieth century was both highly speculative and highly competitive; financial institutions built banks in promising settlements like Innisfree in the hopes of establishing a regional monopoly. These village banks became essential institutions in rural Alberta, integral parts of the growing agricultural economy of the province after the turn of the century.

The Bank in Innisfree is one of the earliest village banks still standing in Alberta. 



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