Historic Sites of Manitoba: Hudson’s Bay Company Building (450 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg)
This six-storey stone and reinforced-concrete building at the southeast corner of Memorial Boulevard and Portage Avenue in downtown Winnipeg was formerly the flagship store for the Hudson’s Bay Company in western Canada, replacing an earlier store on Main Street. Designed by Montreal architect Ernest Isbell Barott, and erected between 1925 and 1926 by the firm of Carter-Halls-Aldinger, the building opened officially on 18 November 1926.
The building featured 15 acres (7.2 hectares) of retail floor space, starting in the basement where a meat, fruit, and grocery department was situated, along with hardware, china, electrical, and sporting goods, and a staff cafeteria. It was connected to the upper six levels by several elevators although, in 1948, they were supplemented by escalators.
A garage and shipping building, along with a parking lot and service station, was on the south side of the building. In 1954, they were replaced by a two-tier concrete parking structure with capacity for 450 vehicles. It was the first “parkade” on the Canadian prairies. A third level was added to the structure in 1955 and a fourth level in 1964.
The building became a municipally-designated historic structure in 2019, against the wishes of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and was closed on 30 November 2020.
Photos & Coordinates
“J. M. Gibson to assume duties with Hudson’s Bay Company today,” Winnipeg Tribune, 22 August 1921, page 5.
“Hudson’s Bay Company moves three officials,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 February 1946, page 7.
“New retail setup for HBC,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 February 1962, page 67.
“D. S. Rogers appointed Hudson’s Bay manager,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 July 1964, page 11.
Hudson's Bay Company Store (450 Portage Avenue), City of Winnipeg Historical Buildings and Resources Committee, June 2018.
Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.
We thank Monica Ball for providing additional information used here.
Page revised: 19 August 2021