Sunday, November 15, 2009

450 Memorial Boulevard: The Bay Parkade

The Bay Parkade

Place: The Bay Parkade
Address: 301 Memorial Boulevard Map
Opened: October 29, 1954
Moody Moore Architects
Contractor: Bird Construction
Cost: $750,000


June 25, 1967, Winnipeg Tribune

Starting in the early 1950s in cities across North America, residents began fleeing the downtown and adjacent residential neighbourhoods in favour of new suburban developments. Winnipeg was no different.

This had a profound impact on the way the core of our city looked. 

New regional roads and bridges, such as the Disraeli Freeway, had to be built. The streetcar era ended in favour of diesel buses, thought of as being more flexible to serve a spread-out population. 

For office buildings and stores, it meant the need to provide additional parking as more people drove to shop and work and expected parking to be close at hand.

The Hudson's Bay Company store on Portage Avenue was the first in Winnipeg construct a parkade, using its existing store parking lot as the base. At the time, it was said to be the only multi-level parking structure between Thunder Bay and Vancouver. 

The parkade was part of a multi-million dollar refurbishment and renovation of the flagship store.

Inside the building, a new escalator bay was added, as well was a men's and ladies lounge.The sixth floor was opened to customers as a furniture showroom and featured a new eatery called the 'Paddle Wheel Buffet'. Between the store and parking area a new loading dock and was built.

May 12, 1954, Winnipeg Free Press

The HBC hired George Devlin of National Garages Inc. of Detroit, Michigan, a firm that specialized in the engineering and operation of parkades, to oversee the project. They turned to Smith Hynchman Grillis of Detroit for the design.

In May 1954, National Garages awarded the tenders for the local architect to Moody Moore and to Bird Construction Company as contractors.

The parkade consisted of a ground level and upper deck held up by steel pillars that go 45 feet below the surface. The original capacity was 450 cars, but it was built so that additional storeys could be added at a later date.

Below the parkade is a 25,000 square foot extension to the store's basement to create additional warehouse and service space.
Top: October 28, 1964, Winnipeg Free Press
Bottom: Ca. November 1954. (Source: U of M, Tribune Photo Collection)

The Bay Parkade opened at 9:00 am on Friday, October 29th, 1954.

The first car to enter was a convertible carrying the five longest-serving employees of the store. Users were greeting by the sights and sounds of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery Band, who performed in the structure from 9:10 to 9:40.

The parkade was billed as 'something Winnipeg has never seen before'. The day before the opening, illustrated instructions on how to properly use it appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press, (see below.)

When a driver entered, an attendant came to your window to give you a ticket and escorted you into an open spot. The store delivered your purchases to your car for you.
Top: Ca. August, 1955. (Source: U of M, Tribune Photo Collection)
Bottom: ca. unknown (Source: U of M, Winnipeg Building Index)
(Note: loading dock not yet covered)

The parkade was an immediate success and an additional deck was added the following year.

Also in 1955, The Bay's main competitor, Eaton's, hired Moody Moore to construct for them a multi-level parkade adjacent to their Portage Avenue store.

In 1964, a third deck was added. The project included the covering of the loading dock and the addition of an auto service centre on the top floor.

In 1987, the Bay sold the parkade to the Toronto-based Citipark as part of a cross-country sell-off of their parkades to allow them to concentrate on their core retail business. The new owner made major renovations to the structure over the next five years.

Today, the 750 lot parkade is owned and operated by Impark.

October 28, 1954, Winnipeg Free Press

1 comment:

  1. Architects were Moody Moore and Associates. Engineering firms were Smith,, Hinchman and Gryllis and National Garages Inc., Which were both from Detroit.