Neighbourhood - Buildings

The Bay


Before it bore the symbol of The Bay, the building at 585 Sainte-Catherine Street West housed the Henry Morgan & Company store. Moved up the hill from what is now Old Montreal, the company built this elegant structure, commonly known as “Colonial House”, across from prestigious Phillips Square in 1891. Morgan's was then one of the largest dry goods companies in Canada.

In 1874, Morgan's pioneered catalogue sales which revolutionized people's shopping habits. This was one of the first department stores, and also among the first to display new products in shop windows to promote sales. The postwar economic boom saw the number of stores multiply in the suburbs and other eastern Canadian cities.

In 1960, the Morgan's stores in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Hamilton were bought by Hudson's Bay Company, Canada's oldest retailer, founded in 1670. In Montreal, however, the business was so firmly entrenched in people's habits that the name Morgan's was not changed to The Bay until 1972.

In 2005, the American businessman Jerry Zucker acquired the Hudson's Bay Company. Will the Sainte-Catherine Street store preserve its character, its function and all that it represents in the history of the neighbourhood?

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Ste. Catherine street west at Union Avenue, Victor parade, 1945

3.5 cm x 3.5 cm

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La Baie, façade ("Montreal Illustrated", 1894, p.300)

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Morgan's Store, St. Catherine Street, Montreal, QC, about 1900
N. M. Hinshelwood
About 1900, 19th century or 20th century
21 cm x 16 cm
© McCord Museum, (MP-1985.31.78), © Héritage Montréal

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Le Square Phillips et le magasin Henri Morgan & Co

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Le magasin La Baie, première bâtisse et annexe rue Union
Communauté urbaine de Montréal

20.3 cm x 14 cm

Image : HM_ARC_000307

Ste-Catherine et Union, Magasin "Morgan's"

25.2 cm x 20.2 cm