Woodward's Stores Ltd. was a department store chain that operated in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada for one hundred years, before its sale to the Hudson's Bay Company.

Woodward's Stores Ltd.
Department store chain
FateFiled for bankruptcy, stores sold to Hudson's Bay Company
HeadquartersVancouver, British Columbia
Products(Full-Line Department Stores & Supermarkets) Clothing, grocery, pharmacy, footwear, bedding, hardware, furniture, appliances, electronics, music, cosmetics, jewellery, china, imported specialties, housewares, sporting goods, stationary, toys, home textiles, restaurants, garden centre, auto centres (at most locations); services at stores also included: travel agency, book stores, optical, hair salon, shoe repair.


Charles Woodward established the first Woodward store at the corner of Main and Georgia Streets in Vancouver in 1892. On September 12, 1902 Woodward Department Stores Ltd. was incorporated and a new store was built on the corner of Hastings and Abbott Streets. In 1926 a store was opened in Edmonton and by the late 1940s the company operated numerous stores in British Columbia and Alberta.

Woodward's was a central feature of the retail scene in southwestern British Columbia for much of the twentieth century. The chain was distinctive in that stores included a large supermarket known as the "Food Floor". When Woodward's sold the Food Floor chain - long known for its quality and its line of unusual specialities - to Safeway, the flagship store’s food floor became a reduced-size IGA supermarket, as Safeway showed no interest in that location. Many western Canadians fondly remember Woodward's famous "$1.49 Day" sales (said aloud as "dollar forty-nine day"), held the first Tuesday of every month. These sales were advertised widely on radio and in newspapers, including a distinctive jingle used for years after it was introduced in April 1958,[1] and offered everything from canvas-top running shoes to bath oil for the one price.

Most Woodward's locations were converted to Hudson’s Bay or Zellers stores by the end of 1993. Other major retailers took over several stores, and the remaining locations were either closed or were divided into mall retail space.

Woodward's also operated two stand alone Furniture Fair stores in Burnaby (which became Costco's first location in Canada in 1985) and Edmonton in the 1970s. There were also discount type stores called Woodwynn (similar to Winners) in BC and Alberta (some within Woodward's Stores), which were originally known as Woodward's Bargain Stores. Several malls also had separate Woodward's Book Stores. The closure of Woodward's locations in many malls sparked redevelopment and expansion of a number of the centres, such as Chinook Centre in Calgary. In a number of malls, the presence of separate operations such as the book store and Woodwynn required these stores to also be replaced. When the West Edmonton Mall location closed, The Bay - which already had a full store at the opposite end of the mall - simply converted the former Woodward's into a second Bay (one of the few cases where a single mall has had two duplicate anchor tenants); after a few years of this, however, the Woodward's-Bay was closed and converted into a multi-screen movie theatre, an HMV Canada location, and additional retail space.

On December 8, 2009, the Woodward's Food Floor reopened for the first time since the chain's sale to Safeway. The new Woodward's Food Floor, which is located in Vancouver at the former Woodward's complex (along with a new location of London Drugs), is now a division of Nester's Market.[2]

See also


  1. McManus, Theresa; Antonias, Tony (February 6, 2014). "The $1.49 Day Man (YouTube interview)". New Westminster Record. Retrieved April 27, 2018. I was creative director at CKNW. The $1.49 Day for Woodward's, written the morning of February 17, 1958 ... hit the airwaves for the first time in April 1958, after Woodward's decided to use it. (Tony Antonias)
  2. Woodward's comes back to life at the Vancouver Sun Archived December 8, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
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