Hudson's Bay Company has a wealth of documents, both published and unpublished, that chronicle its history. Despite this, there are still gaps in our knowledge of how the Company functioned and developed. While corporate documents do a good job of recording financial information, significant events in the life of the Company (e.g. mergers), and the actions of the administration, there are many things they don't capture very successfully. The myriad steps involved in the day to day operations of a store, the problems which are encountered, and how enterprising associates solve them, are much harder to discern.
In order to start filling in some of these gaps in our corporate memory, HBC Heritage Services has established an Oral History Project. The goal of the project is to collect both facts and impressions of retail life from HBC as well as the acquired companies, such as Zellers, Simpsons, Woodward's and Morgan's. We are also interested in reminiscences from the associates that have worked for them over the years. The information gathered will improve our understanding of how the Company operated and provide insight into the people who helped make the Company what it is today.
If you have memories of working, shopping or attending events at any of the HBC stores or any of its acquired companies, we'd love to hear from you! Get in touch with us.
Here are some of the interesting stories we have collected.
- Jack Carson remembers the introduction of quick service checkouts at Zellers.
- Bill Miles recalls a career that began as a child at the Hamilton Zellers.
- Jean-Paul Laurier talks about the fur trade in Montreal.
- Rosaire Robillard reminisces about his early days at Morgan's, in Montreal.
- June Moore talks about a busy day at the Hamilton Zellers in 1948.
- Wulf Tolboom remembers his early days at northern trading posts.
- Diana Wessels recalls how canoes were sold at Simpson's.