On This Day in History: Woodward’s

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 — 9:12am PST
Comments 3

It was March 3rd 1892 when Charles Woodward opened his first store on the corner of Harris Street (now Georgia) and Westminster Avenue (now Main) in Vancouver. He had just arrived in town from Ontario and the small setup sold dried foods. It wasn’t until 1895 that he added a drug department, incorporated (Woodward Stores Limited), and bought a lot on Hastings and Abbott. In 1903 Woodward’s Department Store opened its doors. Over the last century, Charles’ innovations have given us not only the department store concept (with grocery floor), but a local legacy.

1891 – Residence at 209 Harris Street (Georgia Street), the building to the left was
the first Woodward’s store. Archives Item# SGN 342. Photographer: Charles S. Bailey

1910s – Woodward’s from Hastings and Abbott. Archives Item# M-11-51.
Photographer: Richard Broadbridge

1946 – Woodward’s window bathing suit display. Archives Item# CVA 1184-3603.
Photographer: Jack Lindsay

1948 – Woodward’s grocery delivery department interior and clerks. VPL Accession# 27803.
Photographer: Dominion Photo Co.

1938 – Woodward’s department store beacon. Archives Item# Van Sc P114.
Photographer: Charles S. Bailey
2005 – Photo credit: Sean_Marshall on Flickr

Woodward's W Lighting

2010 – Photo credit: Glotman Simpson on Flickr
2010 – Photo credit: wdworden on Flickr

The Woodward’s development is currently has tenants such as Nester’s Market (the new Woodward’s food floor), London Drugs, TD Bank, JJ Bean Coffee, The Charles Bar, Woodward’s Community Housing Coalition, W2 Community Arts, and SFU Woodward’s, along with offices and condos.

Read more posts under my ‘Woodwards‘ tag.

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  1. My Mother’s first job was working in the Woodward’s Restaurant downtown. Though I wasn’t around then, she worked her way up over the years before leaving (by choice, though the company helped her along the way) – shortly before it closed it’s doors forever. I have such good memories from my trips downtown, whether it was to see Douglas Fir talk to me over the holidays or the displays in the windows.

  2. Kelly says:

    Hi Thanks so much for sharing the pictures of Woodwards. I was an employee for about 15 years until we moved to the Okanagan in 1990, just before they closed there doors. I have many fond memories of working there. It was a great company. Do you possibly have any of the recipes from the staff cafeterias? I would love to get some of them.

  3. edward says:

    just picked up an woodwards record album “old fashioned days” manufactured by the custom department of R C A victor records I was told it used to play in the store any ideas how old it is or what it may be worth…thx

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