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MHS Centennial Business: Wilson Furniture Limited

Charles H. Wilson came to Winnipeg from Ontario in 1881 and started a small furniture business two years later. In 1885 he opened his first store on Market Street. Three years later, he was joined in business by his brother Robert J. Wilson. In 1893, the wall of a hotel next door fell and flattened the store—literally an example of a business falling flat! He relocated at Princess and Market, and in 1897 to Main Street next to the McIntyre building and guess what? The next year the McIntyre building was gutted by fire, and again a wall fell and flattened Wilson’s store. After a few more moves the company located at Graham and Main in 1974, and to this day is still there as a retailer of fine furniture.

Charles’ son George joined the company in 1918 and served as president from 1924 to 1966, when his two sons Dick and Claude took over. The business was later transferred to a fourth generation of Wilsons, namely Claude’s daughters Liz and Judy. Wilson Furniture was witness to the Boer War, two World Wars, the Winnipeg labour strike, a major warehouse fire, and two major floods. Thanks to the Red River floodway, Wilson did not have an unwanted swimming pool in their basement in 1997 as they did in 1950.

An MHS Centennial Business Award was presented to Wilson Furniture by Sam Loschiavo in January 2000.

Postscript: Wilson Furniture closed in Summer 2003, citing bad business conditions.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Cadomin Building (280 Main Street, Winnipeg)

Sources:

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 19 December 2013

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