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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Hudson’s Bay Company Building (450 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg)

Link to:
Photos & Coordinates | Sources

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.

Managers

Period

Manager

1926-1932

?

1932-1946

George F. Klein

1946-1951

A. J. Gilbert

1951-1956

N. H. Abramson

1956-1962

Ernest W. H. Brown

1962-1964

Alfred R. Murray

1964-?

Donald S. Rogers

Photos & Coordinates

Postcard view of the Hudson’s Bay Company Store

Postcard view of the Hudson’s Bay Company Store (no date)
Source: Rob McInnes, WP0800

Postcard view of the Hudson’s Bay Company Store

Postcard view of the Hudson’s Bay Company Store (no date)
Source: Rob McInnes, WP1806

An aerial view of the HBC department store in Winnipeg taken by the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1930 and published in the September 1931 issue of The Beaver. In the foregound is the Dominion Business College Building, constructed in 1927

An aerial view of the HBC department store in Winnipeg taken by the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1930 and published in the September 1931 issue of The Beaver. In the foregound is the Dominion Business College Building, constructed in 1927.
Source: Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, 1987/363-W-315/101.

A view of the HBC department store in Winnipeg

A view of the HBC department store in Winnipeg (1931) by Bridgens
Source: Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, 1987/363-W-315/102.

The HBC department store in downtown Winnipeg

The HBC department store in downtown Winnipeg (no date)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2019-0059

The HBC department store in downtown Winnipeg

The HBC department store in downtown Winnipeg (no date)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2019-0081

The HBC department store in downtown Winnipeg

The HBC department store in downtown Winnipeg (1972)
Source: George Penner

The HBC department store in downtown Winnipeg

The HBC department store in downtown Winnipeg (September 2014)
Source: George Penner

The HBC department store and parkade

The HBC department store and parkade (October 2018)
Source: George Penner

The former HBC department store

The former HBC department store (February 2021)
Source: George Penner

Historical mural above the elevators inside the HBC department store

Historical mural above the elevators inside the HBC department store (no date)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2021-0054

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.89102, W97.15004
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Municipally Designated Historic Sites

Sources:

“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.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough, Rob McInnes, and George Penner.

Page revised: 3 June 2022

Historic Sites of Manitoba

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