Hudson's Bay Company followed the railway to Vancouver, opening its first store on land leased from the CPR, on Cordova Street in Gastown, on January 17, 1887. At the time about 500 people lived in the new town which was less than a year old. Hbc's store shelves held the "necessities of life": saws, axes, lanterns and provisions. Larger articles were simply stacked on the floor. The first manager, George W. Weeks, who had been an Hbc factor at Yale and Hope, lived with his assistant in quarters at the rear of the store.
First Hbc Vancouver store on Cordova St, ca. 1887
In 1890, Hbc followed the current fashion, moving westward with the opening of a branch store on Granville Street. The Granville branch sold goods not available in the Cordova Street store. In 1893, a new building was constructed on the corner of Granville and Georgia. It was a red brick, three-storey structure which opened for business on September 21, 1893. The Cordova Street store was closed at this time. In 1899 the Granville Street store was extended with an extra fifty foot frontage, and was extended again a further 25 feet in 1905.
In 1913, the Company started construction of the first phase of the present store at Georgia and Seymour, right behind the old store on Granville. The present store was opened on March 14, 1914. In 1925, a second phase started with the pulling down of the old store on Granville and Georgia and its replacement by the present one, continuing the facing of cream terra cotta and Corinthian columns. It was joined to the part on Georgia and Seymour. In 1926, the third phase was added to the north Granville Street side. The present store was completed externally in 1949 with the fourth addition on North Seymour Street, extending the store to its present footprint. In the mid 1980s the Bay's location in the downtown was consolidated with the opening of the city's SkyTrain light rapid transit system. The Granville station is adjacent to the Bay store and is accessible from the lower two floors.
Hbc Vancouver store, 1926
In 1895 Hudson's Bay Company built a warehouse in Gastown at 321 Water Street to serve as its main warehouse for fur and liquor products. From this location, the Company did a booming business outfitting prospectors and supplying provisions and mining equipment during the Klondike gold rush. It continued to be used as Hbc's warehouse into the 1960s. Designed in Richardsonian Romanesque style by W. T. Dalton, this building still exists today. Known as Hudson House, it was renovated in 1977 by architect Werner Foster to accommodate offices and retail.