Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Letter of the Day

Restoring downtown icon

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Thank you to Charles Huband for his useful contribution to the discourse about our downtown (The Bay is key to downtown renewal, May 4). Like many, I vividly remember the Bay store in its heyday. My wife and I still often shop there today, and we have often remarked upon its potential.

While successive company owners and managers had allowed the building's interior to deteriorate to the point where many shoppers deserted to the suburbs, the store could once again be an outstanding destination. Today, with the unique brands and other potential product offerings of the Bay under its new ownership combined with a restored historic interior, the Hudson's Bay Company store could be a matchless shopping experience in Winnipeg.

The building has great significance to Winnipeg because of its architecture, because it has long been considered the company's flagship store and because of our shared history. In this, the bicentennial year of the 1812 arrival at Red River of the Selkirk settlers, it is important to remember the crucial role played by the Hudson's Bay Company in the visionary plans of Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk, for the founding and development of our metropolis on the prairie.

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque recognizing Lord Selkirk stands opposite the Bay on Memorial Boulevard in appropriate commemoration of this shared history. How fitting it would be for a refurbishment of this historic edifice to help lead a retail renaissance in downtown 200 years later.

JOHN PERRIN

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 8, 2012 A11

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