Lawyers & Banks

Queen Street looking south. The grey building with dark canopies is the Forrester Law Office and the building with the striped canopies is the Royal Bank.


The first lawyer was a man named Galbraith who was here about 1861, but did not remain long. The next to put out his shingle was john McMillan about 1863 and because of his good nature was given the title of “Attorney General”. In February 1865 George W. Malloch came to Paisley and was for many years legal adviser for Paisley and vicinity. Mr. Lefroy was one of Paisley’s lawyers from about 1872 to 1880. In June 1885 Mr. Cowan opened an office in the Town Hall - he sold out to Mr. AJ. Ried of London and rebought again within three months in 1889. Archie McCallum was also a lawyer, later appointed as a judge at Manitoulin. David Forrester came to practice law in Paisley in 1908. His office remained in the Town Hall until 1940, when he and his son Stuart, who had joined him in 1938, bought the Bank of Montreal building. David Forrester was the clerk of Bruce County from 1924-1952. He retired from his law practice in 1962. Stuart Forrester, his son still holds legal council in Paisley, and has also been clerk of Bruce County since 1952.

The present office was in early times divided to accommodate two places of business. The north end was Wesley Black’s watch store, James Steele’s Harness shop and Mrs. Montgomery’s Fancy Goods store in that order. The south side was McArthur’s Book store. This building was completely remodelled as the Merchants Bank in 1919, and in 1921 was the home of the Bank of Montreal, until 1934.

Stuart Forrester, now Paisley’s only resident lawyer was born in Paisley, attended Public and Continuation School here, going to Walkerton to obtain his Upper School. He was graduated from Osgoode Hall in 1938, and came back to Paisley to join his father David Forrester’s law practice. Stuart became Bruce County Clerk and Bruce County Solicitor in January 1953. In January 1967 he became Area Director for Bruce County Legal Aid. He served as Reeve of Paisley from January 1949 to December 1952.



The first bank in Paisley was the Canadian Bank of Commerce which was established in 1875 in the brick block at the corner of Queen and Alma Streets. It only remained open until the spring of 1877 when they pulled up stakes and left. Mr. Porteous opened a private bank with Mr. Edward Saunders as manager. This partnership continued until about 1890 and Mr. Porteous carried on himself until his death in 1896. In October 1886, the Western Bank opened a branch in Paisley in the building where the Oddfellows Hall now is and continued until taken over by the Standard Bank which closed down in 1917. In 1906 the Traders Bank of Canada was opened up, and this in turn was taken over by the Royal Bank in 1912, which still continues to serve the people of Paisley and District. The Merchants Bank opened a branch in 1919 on the corner of Queen and Rowe Streets across from the Royal, and in 1921 this was taken over by the Bank of Montreal which in turn closed its Paisley Branch in 1934.

Mr. Joe Hilverda is the present manager of the Royal Bank. (The building on the far right in the picture below)

The Porteous Bank, on the left, was the building directly south of the store with the canopy(was Shoemaker's Jewellry). The light coloured building on the right was the Merchant's Bank and Bank of Montreal and the building on the extreme right still is the Royal Bank.

Return to top of Page
An Historic Album of Paisley
Return to top of Page