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A Manitoba Masterpiece

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On the day the downtown Bay opened at 9 a.m. Nov. 18, 1926, it was the largest reinforced concrete building in Canada. The total budget for the store’s construction was $5,968,000. Here’s a snapshot of what went into the six-storey construction more than a year earlier.

  • Construction of Winnipeg’s downtown Bay store begins in 1925.  The building that would open on this spot a year later could boast it was constructed entirely of Manitoba products.

    Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

    Construction of Winnipeg’s downtown Bay store begins in 1925. The building that would open on this spot a year later could boast it was constructed entirely of Manitoba products.

  • Visible behind the construction site are the Free Press and Boyd buildings.

    Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

    Visible behind the construction site are the Free Press and Boyd buildings.

  • Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

  • Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

  • Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

  • More than two million feet of lumber was used.

    Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

    More than two million feet of lumber was used.

  • The building’s 151 foundation piles are driven down to bedrock, 52 feet below.

    Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

    The building’s 151 foundation piles are driven down to bedrock, 52 feet below.

  • Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

  • Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

  • At the height of construction, about 1,000 workers were on the site each day.

    Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

    At the height of construction, about 1,000 workers were on the site each day.

  • Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

  • The construction proceeded with haste rarely seen today — it would open just a year after the ground was broken.

    Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

    The construction proceeded with haste rarely seen today — it would open just a year after the ground was broken.

  • Reinforcing steel used weighed in excess of 3,500 tons.

    Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

    Reinforcing steel used weighed in excess of 3,500 tons.

  • Stonework includes 125,000 cubic feet of cut stone  (locally cut Tyndall) and 1.5 million bricks.

    Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

    Stonework includes 125,000 cubic feet of cut stone (locally cut Tyndall) and 1.5 million bricks.

  • Original plans for the building’s exterior called for terra cotta to be brought in from the United States. At the urging of local leaders, the Hudson’s Bay Company changed its plans and agreed to use $400,000 worth of locally cut Tyndall stone. The decision not only created additional jobs in Manitoba, but allowed The Bay to later advertise that the structure was constructed with 100 per cent of Manitoba products.

    Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba

    Original plans for the building’s exterior called for terra cotta to be brought in from the United States. At the urging of local leaders, the Hudson’s Bay Company changed its plans and agreed to use $400,000 worth of locally cut Tyndall stone. The decision not only created additional jobs in Manitoba, but allowed The Bay to later advertise that the structure was constructed with 100 per cent of Manitoba products.

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