Historic Sites of Manitoba: Safeway Store (512 Seventh Avenue South, Virden)

This one-storey brick building on Seventh Avenue South in Virden was designed by the Winnipeg architectural firm of Northwood and Chivers. It was constructed in 1929 by local contractor William Thomas Manser, at a cost of about $15,000, as a grocery for Safeway Stores.

Ten years later, the building was sold to former employees Stewart McKinnon Elliott (1884-1972) and Arthur Reginald Hales (1916-1995) who continued to operate it as Foodland. During the Second World War, Hales served overseas in the Royal Canadian Air Force then returned to Virden and bought out his partner, who moved to British Columbia. Hales continued the business into the 1960s. Through the years, the building’s exterior has been renovated from its original appearance so as to be almost unrecognizable today.

Postcard view of the former Safeway store at Virden

Postcard view of the former Safeway store at Virden (no date)
Source: Ken Storie

The former Safeway store at Virden

The former Safeway store at Virden (November 2009)
Source: Ken Storie

The former Safeway store at Virden

The former Safeway store at Virden (July 2021)
Source: George Penner

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.84930, W100.93047
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Manitoba Business: Northwood and Chivers / Northwood Chivers and Casey

Memorable Manitobans: William Thomas Manser (1869-1958)

Manitoba Business: Safeway Stores Limited


“Safeway stores establish main branch in city,” Winnipeg Tribune, 6 July 1929, page 8.

“250 completed stores in west firm’s program,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 September 1929, page 32.

The Virden Story by Ida Clingan, 1957, page 43.

Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.

We thank George Penner for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Ken Storie and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 16 December 2022

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