As the Bay store in Winnipeg gets a new life, here are some moments from its past

·1 min read

WINNIPEG — The iconic Hudson's Bay Co. building in downtown Winnipeg is to get a new life with a transfer to Indigenous leadership. Here is some background about the historical six-storey, 60,000-square-metre building:

It was the flagship store for the Hudson’s Bay Company when it opened at 450 Portage Ave. in 1926.

At the time, it was the largest poured reinforced concrete building in the country.

The building was designed by Montreal architect Ernest Isbell Barott.

The building was “Manitoba made” with local Tyndall limestone giving it its distinctive appearance, as well as local cement, gravel and reinforcing steel bars.

The first purchases were made by then-mayor Ralph Webb. He bought a novelty bracelet for his wife and a tie for his son.

The first parkade in the Prairie provinces was built onto the Bay building in 1954. It had room for 450 vehicles.

The building had many changes and renovations throughout the years and included a library, an orchestra, the memorable Paddlewheel Restaurant and a Zellers, briefly, in the basement.

The building received a heritage designation from Winnipeg city council in 2019.

A valuation of Hudson’s Bay Co. real estate later that year found the downtown Winnipeg building was worth $0.

The Hudson’s Bay Co. closed the store for good in November 2020.

The Bay is Canada's oldest continually operating company.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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