Historic Sites of Manitoba: Polo Park Racetrack / Polo Park Shopping Centre (1485 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg)

This six-furlong (three-quarters of a mile) horse racing track in Winnipeg was established in 1925. The facility included a two-storey, clubhouse and grandstands with a capacity to hold 4,000 people. They were designed by the local architectural firm of Pratt and Ross and built by the Vancouver-based railway contractor Angus G. Creelman at a cost of about $150,000.

In 1935, new grandstands were designed by local architect George Gaspar Teeter and were constructed by contractor Theodore Bockstael at a cost of about $38,000.

An arena and stadium adjacent to the racetrack were developed in the early 1950s.

In the late 1950s, the racetrack was replaced by Assiniboia Downs. This site was developed into a shopping centre by the architectural firm of Green Blankstein Russell on behalf of land developer David Slater. Originally measuring 340 feet by 896 feet and consisting of 50 retail spaces, the centre was built between 1958 and 1959 by the Peter Leitch Construction Company at a cost of about $15,000,000. The first anchor store in the mall was Simpson-Sears (later known only as Sears) built by the Commonwealth Construction Company. It opened officially on On 6 May 1959, and was later joined by Eatons.

Sears closed in 2017.

Aerial view of Polo Park Shopping Centre

Aerial view of Polo Park Shopping Centre (early 1960s)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2019-0050

Aerial view of Polo Park Shopping Centre

Aerial view of Polo Park Shopping Centre (early 1960s)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2022-0084

Entrance to Sears in the Polo Park Shopping Centre

Entrance to Sears in the Polo Park Shopping Centre (October 2017)
Source: George Penner

The former Sears store in the Polo Park Shopping Centre

The former Sears store in the Polo Park Shopping Centre (January 2020)
Source: George Penner

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.88247, W97.19900
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Manitoba Business: Pratt and Ross

Memorable Manitobans: Robert James “Jim” Speers (1882-1955)

Memorable Manitobans: John Wright Sifton (1886-1932)

Manitoba Business: Green Blankstein Russell and Associates

Manitoba Business: Peter Leitch Construction Company

Manitoba Business: Carter-Halls-Aldinger / Commonwealth Construction Company

Memorable Manitobans: David Slater (1895-1978)

Memorable Manitobans: George Gaspar Teeter (1874-1949)

Memorable Manitobans: Theodore Bockstael (1874-1958)

Horse Racing at River Park by Harry Rudd, edited by Antoine S. Lussier
Manitoba Pageant, Volume 24, Number 2, Winter 1979

Manitoba Business: Winnipeg Enterprises Corporation

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Winnipeg Arena (1430 Maroons Road, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Assiniboia Downs (3975 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg)


City of Winnipeg Building Permit 747/1925, City of Winnipeg Archives.

“Tenders close for race track,” Winnipeg Tribune, 10 March 1925, page 1.

“Contract let for new Polo Racing Track,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 March 1925, page 1.

“Permit taken out for new local race track,” Winnipeg Tribune, 28 April 1925, page 5.

“Building notes,” Winnipeg Tribune, 16 February 1935, page 5.

“Building notes,” Winnipeg Tribune, 16 March 1935, page 5.

“Building notes,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 March 1935, page 3.

“New shopping centre to challenge downtown,” Winnipeg Free Press, 9 January 1958, page 3.

“Contract awarded,” Winnipeg Tribune, 10 July 1958, page 1.

“Commonwealth Construction are proud to have been general contractors for Simpson-Sears,” Winnipeg Tribune, 5 May 1959, page 36.

“Shopping Centre, homes highlight construction,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 July 1959, page 17.

“Ample parking space available for shoppers,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 August 1959, page 12.

We thank Jordan Makichuk for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough and George Penner.

Page revised: 30 January 2024

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