Print Friendly, PDF & Email

January 22, 2021

Hudson’s Bay Building Placed on National Trust For Canada’s 2021 Endangered Building’s List

The first building of the National Trust for Canada’s Endangered Building List for 2021 is Winnipeg’s Hudson’s Bay Building (450 Portage Avenue). Here’s what the National Trust for Canada had to say on the building:


Why it matters:
The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) opened the downtown Winnipeg department store in 1926 as its Canadian flagship, prominently situated on Portage Avenue with sightlines to the nearby Manitoba Legislative Building. It was a monumental retail emporium with 600,000 square feet of retail space spread over eight storeys (six above ground and two below), including a grocery store, the iconic Paddlewheel restaurant, and a museum reflecting the company’s key role in the colonization of Western and Northern Canada. A symbol of local construction prowess, it was the largest poured reinforced concrete building in Canada when built – offering tremendous load-bearing strength – and its Classical Revival style exterior clad in 125,000 cubic feet of Manitoba Tyndall limestone. One of the city’s most prominent buildings and a beloved civic landmark, it received a municipal heritage designation from Winnipeg City Council in 2019.

Why it’s endangered:
Beginning about 2000, HBC’s retail footprint in the building began to progressively shrink to just two floors, and on November 30, 2020 the store was permanently closed. This has increased civic concern that the Bay building will eventually be demolished like the massive nearby Eaton’s department store in 2002, just three years after that chain’s bankruptcy. Over the past decade, the Bay building has seen multiple reuse proposals explored – from Manitoba Hydro, to the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the University of Winnipeg – but all have floundered on adaptation and funding issues. Recently there have been calls for the adaptive reuse of the building to leverage HBC’s history and help support Reconciliation efforts. Heritage Winnipeg has been working with the community, and Winnipeg’s Mayor created an advisory committee to advance solutions, given that the funding challenges are daunting. The Bay building’s predicament underscores the need for catalytic tripartite financial support (municipal, provincial-territorial, and federal government) for heritage rehabilitation projects to entice and strengthen public/private partnerships.


See more here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


 / Recent News

April 14, 2021

New Infill Development Proposed for the East Exchange District Faces Opposition

The construction of a modern 12 storey, 145 foot building has been proposed for 127 Bannatyne Avenue in the East Exchange District. The Exchange District is a National Historic Site of Canada, recognized for its “harmonious representation of one or more styles or constructions, building types, or periods that has a sense of history”. In…

April 13, 2021

Summer 2021 Student Job Opportunities

In anticipation of funding through Young Canada Works in Heritage Institutions, Heritage Winnipeg is looking for eligible candidates for summer 2021 student positions. There are two potential positions, a Doors Open Winnipeg 2021 Coordinator and a Digital Project Coordinator. We are looking for talented and enthusiastic university students passionate about advocating for and celebrating Winnipeg’s…

April 12, 2021

Doors Open Winnipeg 2021 Rescheduled!

Dear Doors Open Winnipeg Friends, Heritage Winnipeg has just made the difficult decision to postpone Doors Open Winnipeg 2021, but on a positive note we are rescheduling the event, which will now take place on the weekend of September 11th and 12th, 2021. After thoughtful consideration it has become clear that in light of these…

April 7, 2021

Province of Manitoba creates trust fund for preservation of Downtown Bay building!

Heritage Winnipeg is elated to learn that the Province of Manitoba has created 25 million trust fund to help in the redevelopment of the Downtown Bay store (450 Portage Avenue)   Read more about the development here:

March 26, 2021

New podcast explores Winnipeg’s vacant buildings

A new podcast, produced by students in Red River College’s Journalism program, examines the impact of vacant buildings in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Vacant City launched this week and takes a look at the multi-faceted issues caused by vacancies. You can listen now on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.  

March 15, 2021

City of Winnipeg SPC on Property and Development, Heritage and Downtown Development sees large turnout in support of archives, former St. Boniface City Hall

A meeting of the City of Winnipeg’s Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development, Heritage and Downtown Development on March 15th, 2021, saw significant turnout in regards to the sale 219 Provencher Boulevard and the City of Winnipeg archives. View the meeting here:

Subscribe to Heritage Winnipeg Blog