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News Update


“BMO 30 Years Ago - 1991 - Celebrating BMO Cyber Pensioners 30th Anniversary” by Joan Mesic, Senior Correspondent

October 17, 2021

First of all, we would like to thank our members for their wonderful comments we received on our Facebook and email regarding our 30th milestone.  It is very rewarding to know that our work is appreciated and provides a vehicle for our members to stay in touch with one another as well as providing enjoyment through news items and  interesting stories from our members, Regional Representatives and others.

To help celebrate our anniversary, we contacted BMO Corporate Archives to find out what was happening in BMO in 1991, thirty years ago, the period that our website was ‘born’.

According to BMO’s 1991 Annual Report, two major initiatives were highlighted which we would like to share with you. The first was the bank’s strategy to elevate the knowledge and skills of its workforce to make it the best in the financial field.  In order to underpin this vision and move forward, the bank invested $40 million dollars in a state of the art training centre.  An educational/learning facility which was to be built very much like a university campus. The project would take three years to complete and opened for business in 1993. This magnificent structure with state of the art design and unique symbolism, (the glass bow), as well as the technology of that time, was named the, “Institute for Learning” (IFL). The investment would contribute to the continued knowledge of the bank’s employees in many areas of banking, technology, customer relations, management, strategic thinking, etc. 

The second major initiative was the President’s “Task Force on the Advancement of Women in the Bank” which will be featured in our next publication.  In addition to these two prominent initiatives mentioned in the 1991 Annual Report, there were other important happenings in the bank in 1991 which we will also share with you.  More to come.

The artifact provided by BMO Corporate Archives is an article from the bank’s magazine, “First Bank News” which was published in the Nov/Dec 1991 issue. The article, “Stepping Stone to Excellence”, is about the Bank of Montreal’s Institute for Learning.

This article and others to follow will take you down memory lane.  Stories from our members are priceless as they bring back to life these past bank initiatives in a very personal and real way for our members to enjoy.  With this in mind, we are requesting our members to send us stories about this time in the bank.  Stories that involved their experiences with the IFL, e.g., their input to focus groups in the design/development of the IFL, attendance at outstanding courses, team get-togethers and activities, special celebrations, important meetings, usage of its full-service facilities especially while on course, etc.  Of course, we always welcome appropriate humour in our members’ stories.  We leave this request to your vivid memories.  Please send your submissions to

To read more about, “Stepping Stone to Excellence”, Click Here

“Material and images are the property of BMO Financial Group's Corporate Archives. No part of the material or photographs may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the Corporate Archives. If you have any comments regarding this story, please contact the BMO Cyber Pensioners News team at We look forward to hearing from you." 


Bank of Montreal Pensioners Ass'n. Vancouver Island (BOMPA-VI) Pandemic Picnic September 16th, 2021

October 12, 2021

Approx. 25 BMO pensioners finally had a chance to get together in person and met on September 16th for a picnic lunch and get together in Centennial Park, in Central Saanich, Victoria. 

It was a beautiful day and the sun Gods were shining down on us as everyone mixed and mingled, catching up with each other’s stories as to how everyone fared through the pandemic.

Our picnic lunches were superb from Toque Catering and after lunch we had a chance to play a very different game……… and that’s all I will say about that!   

Thanks to Deb Gemmell for doing the arrangements and to all who turned out for what was a most enjoyable afternoon!

Click Here to see all the pictures.

Thanks to Joan Firkins for the photos and information.


Letter from the Editor - It has been 30 years!

September 24, 2021

In the early 1990's Barry Gemmell and the late Jim O'Neill capitalized on the availability of the World Wide Web to launch BMO Cyber Pensioners. It was originally designed as a means to connect and communicate electronically with the approximately 50 BMO pensioners that were members of the Central Ontario Chapter.

 This year we celebrate 30 years of the innovative BMO Cyber Pensioner Network they subsequently envisioned and started to build and that has since expanded across Canada and beyond. While they "retired" in 2007 they remained very active advisors to the team that replaced them.

 I joined that network in the year 2000 as a regular member. Looking back I had no idea then that membership would grow from about 200 at that time to almost 3500. It has given me immense pleasure to watch as many friends and colleagues joined. I had met and worked or travelled with them in so many places in Canada, the United States, France, Switzerland, England, Scotland and Ireland during my time in the bank.

We do not keep track of the cumulative membership attrition due to broken network links, loss of computer skills or equipment, the passing of members, health and other reasons but it would be reasonable to think that at least 4500 people would have had membership privileges for our website at some time. Additionally of course there are all those retirees who are (or were) not necessarily Cyber Pensioner members but belong to our various affiliated Pensioner organizations across the country, Facebook or the many non members who just access the website.

Our current website and Facebook pages bear little resemblance to early days thanks to huge changes in technology and the skills of people on our team. And so it is instructive to reflect on the changes we have made over the decades.  We used to communicate broadly through a newsletter. When I joined the News team as Editor in 2007 I can remember putting together that newsletter using MS Publisher, cutting and pasting assorted graphics, upcoming events, letters and old articles from early bank staff magazines. It was fun to do especially for an unskilled computer operator but it was time consuming and without a firm publishing schedule. Plus it was not terribly sophisticated. Now we have a substantial website updated whenever we receive material for publication, with drop down menus, numerous pages all supported by copious records, publishing policies and operating procedures.

Colin Evans has carefully constructed an historical log of the more memorable key milestones throughout the evolution of our website complete with a timeline showing the progression of members joining the network. This log will remain as a permanent part of the "About Us" section.

To access it, please Click Here.

We plan to continue to stay true to our goal of being the primary communication vehicle for BMO pensioners and to share information about what is happening in the BMO pensioner community in Canada and around the globe. Operated and funded completely by a team of volunteers, we remain independent and determined to provide free access to pensioned members.

Needless to say time marches on.  Operating with such a very small News Team means we have to think ahead and be cognizant of the necessity to proactively develop replacement capability particularly for the longer service members of our team. We need to avoid disruptions or the potential collapse of the program. So, given the fact that a few of us are getting long in the tooth, we need to find volunteers to eventually take our place in preparation for that time in the not too distant future. If you are interested in helping us ensure continuity please let us know.

In the meantime, thank you for your support over the years, especially during the pandemic which has essentially ground many social activities to a halt. We are looking forward to the time when we can again report on those activities that take place.

In closing we hope you enjoy what we do. As long as you get pleasure from our efforts, it makes it all worthwhile.

 Dave Harmer



If you have any comments regarding this tribute, please contact the BMO Cyber Pensioners News team at We look forward to hearing from you.

BOMPA Lower Mainland BC Picnic September 9, 2021

September 13, 2021

On Thursday, September 9th, 30 BC Lower Mainland BOMPA members gathered for a picnic in Central Park, Burnaby. This was our first event in over a year and a half and it was wonderful to get together again.  It was great to catch up on what everyone has been doing to keep busy during COVID and to see that all were healthy.  Thanks to Elsie and Earl for organizing the picnic.

Click Here to see all the pictures.

Many Thanks to Ron Gillies for sharing the information and photo.

"Letter from our Cyber Pensioners Co-Founder - Barry Gemmell Re: Our Tribute to Tom Mitchell (October 9, 1942 - August 8, 2021)”

August 14, 2021

We received the following tribute to Tom Mitchell from Barry Gemmell, one of the two co-founders of the BMO Cyber Pensioners website and are happy to share it with you. Barry Gemmell, Jim O’Neill (1932-2020) and Tom Mitchell called themselves the “three amigos”. Barry and Jim developed our website in 1991 and Tom joined the team in 2002.

“Tom! you are missed by many and I personally will grieve for my loss of your interaction with me. You were a perfect team member and a friend to me. The original three amigos Jim O’Neil (1932-2020), Tom Mitchell and myself spent many hours discussing our ability to contribute to our fellow pensioners. Tom was never short of ideas and gung-ho to make the communication better for BMO pensioners.

Thank you Tom for adding to my life, I only wish I could have said goodbye before you left. RIP “

Barry Gemmell, Kingston, Ontario

P.S. In our Archives - May - 2011, there is an article, "BMO Cyber Pensioners' 20th Anniversary", that is about the founding of the website. It's about Barry, Jim and Tom and how they came together and the evolution of the website. Click to read, “BMO Cyber Pensioners’ 20th Anniversary”

If you have any comments regarding this tribute, please contact the BMO Cyber Pensioners News team at We look forward to hearing from you.


In Memoriam – Tom Mitchell

August 10, 2021

We deeply regret to advise the passing of Tom Mitchell. Tom was a vital member of our News Team. We will greatly miss his experience, expertise and advice, his friendship and sense of humour, his values and principles and that often needed uncompromising way he chose to express his opinions.


After a distinguished career at BMO, Tom became part of the team, joining the two original BMO Cyberpensioner founders - Barry Gemmell and Jim O’Neill - in 2002. He arrived in the nick of time to bolster the small team with his creative thinking and technical savvy. He was the original website manager and until now has been technical advisor to the current team. His role in the evolution of our network can be found by clicking the link in the About Us section. Without his contribution back in 2002 and through subsequent years it is true to say the network we enjoy would not exist. That contribution was recognized by his induction as an Honorary Member of the News Team.

We are so sad to say goodbye. Our thoughts are with his family. 

We will post his obituary when it becomes available.

Rest In Peace Tom.

The BMO Cyberpensioners News Team.


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 BMO Publications

BMO Obituaries - Apr., 2020
English      French

BMO Retirements - Apr., 2020 
English      French

Once we hear where the Bank is locating more up-to-date information on retirements and obituaries we will advise accordingly.

Association Newsletters

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 New Members

Oct 12, 2021
Anissa Pang of Toronto, ON
Karen Layte of East Amherst, NS
Janice McCauley of Collingwood, ON
Lilian Unsworth of Kirkland QC

Oct 7, 2021
Sue Landry of Monetville, ON

Oct 5, 2021
Rosa Maturine of Toronto, ON
Sonia Da Costa of Chomedy Laval, QC

Sept 29, 2021
Wayne King of London, ON
Val McPhee of Trenton, ON

Sept 19, 2021
William Razenberg of Pickering, ON
Sophie Vassos of Toronto, ON

Sept 16, 2021
Tony Bennett of Ottawa ON

Sept 12, 2021
Vivien Yung of Richmond Hill, ON

Aug 13, 2021
Doreen and Bryan Tanner of Dartmouth, NS

Aug 11, 2021
Bertrand Leveille of Pointe-Clair, QC
Linda Maliszewski of Delta, BC

Aug 9, 2021
Anna Roche of St. John's, NL

Are you Interested in an exciting volunteer experience? We are currently looking for volunteers to join our staff. Please send us an email at


We look forward to input, material and photos from our registered members.  Please contact the BMO Cyber Pensioners News team at