Winnipeg Architecture Foundation



Hudson's Bay Company Building

Address:450 Portage Avenue
Original Use:Retail
Architects:Barott and Blackader

More Information

The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) played an integral role in the creation and development of Winnipeg. HBC was founded in 1670 as a fur trading business. The importance of the fur trade started to diminish by the end of the nineteenth century and HBC began to modernize, turning trading posts into sales shops. As part of its modernization, HBC decided to build six major department stores in Canada. One of these department stores was built in Winnipeg.

HBC decided to build its Winnipeg department store on Portage Avenue. At the time, Portage Avenue was the busiest shopping street in the city.  Construction on the Winnipeg Bay Building began in 1925 and the department store was officially opened in 1926.  

The Bay Building was designed by Montreal architects Barott and Blackader and is a fine example of the Beaux-Arts style of architecture in Winnipeg. The building was constructed almost entirely of materials sourced from Manitoba. This included 125,000 cubic feet of Tyndall limestone from Gypsumville, steel and furnaces from Selkirk, and roofing from St. Boniface. To build the foundation for the Bay Building, workers had to remove 150,000 tons of earth from the site. It took 300 men, 120 teams of horses, 20 trucks, and two steam shovels to get the job done.

Design Characteristics

  • Example of Beaux-Arts style of architecture.
  • Built at a cost of $5 million.
  • Constructed almost entirely of materials sourced from Manitoba.