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Cochrane history: Fire finally strikes CIBC

Last week, in our feature on Cochrane history, we told you about how the Imperial Bank escaped damage from the Great Fires of 1911 and 1916.

As Cochrane Public Library archivist Ardis Proulx-Chedore tells us, however, that streak did come to an end.

“Fire returned to haunt the bank, not once but twice in the summer of 1978, some 62 years since the last great fire. The building was subsequently demolished and a new building was built right behind the fire-damaged building.”

That’s an excerpt from the Northland Post, in a special issue on the bank’s 100th anniversary in Cochrane.  Its name was changed in 1961 to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, when Imperial merged with the Canadian Bank of Commerce.

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Again from the Northland Post, Proulx-Chedore reads about the Saturday that M.J. Labelle Co. brought the old building down.

“Work began at 9am and by 6pm the huge power shovel was scooping out bricks from the foundation. A number of Cochrane residents arrived on the scene, some with trailers, to take away souvenir bricks from the demolished structure.”

From outside the front door, firefighters pour water into the CIBC. (Cochrane Public Library Archives)
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