Special Works in History

Toronto Savings Bank

The Toronto Savings Bank was established in 1854 by Bishop Charbonnel and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to solve a number of current and future problems. According to the constitution, the goal was to reach the poor of the city “whom we desire to encourage by all means in the ways of industry, temperance and economy thus providing for their future days, and particularly for the education of their children.”
The Toronto Savings Bank was under the patronage of Bishop Charbonnel. The directors were a roll call of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, including J. Elmsley, S.G. Lynn, Chevalier Macdonell, C. Donlevy, the O’Neill brothers and Maurice Scollard of the bank of Upper Canada. Although the Bank was an Irish Catholic institution and served its purpose for a number of decades, it fell into the hands of the Irish politician, Frank Smith. Smith utilized it for the benefit of his friends and eventually had it chartered as The Home Bank which failed. But due to the foresight of Charbonnel, dividends were paid to Irish Catholic charitable institutions through trust funds as late as 1893. It seems that the Irish community lost confidence in that type of bank as a depository for savings. In 1890 penny banks were established at schools and churches in the city, under the auspices of the St. Vincent de Paul Society to encourage thrift habits among Catholic children

Excerpts from a history document
Professor Murray W. Nicolson M.A., Ph.D.