There have been two bus depots of note in Winnipeg.
Image from: Suburban Winnipeg Buses by W. A. Luke
The first centralized bus depot, simply called the suburban bus depot, was built in 1928 for the T. Eaton Company on land they owned at Hargrave and Graham. Eaton's knew that it was in their interest to have all out of town passengers arrive and depart the city just meters away from the entrance to their store.
In the early 1930s the city began looking at building a modern, centralized station, but Eaton's cut them off by promising to expand the one on their site. They leased the building to Manitoba Bus Terminals Ltd. who built a new, $55,000, nine bay depot that would be used by twelve different bus companies.
The "Union Bus Depot" was formally opened on Saturday, December 12, 1936. It stretched almost the entire length of the block. It featured featured three waiting areas, a gift shop and enclosed restaurant. A portion of the building had a second storey where bus operators could lease office space.
By the late 1950s the bus depot was overcrowded with both buses and passengers, it lacked amenities like a modern coffee shop and was generally run down. The time had come for something new.
A number of sites were explored. McFayden Park, then located where Holiday Towers are at York and Hargrave, proved controversial as the 0.4 acre park and playground served the people who lived downtown. Another was at Smith and St. Mary, a plan that would have included a 7 storey building. They were both rejected.
Top: October 4, 1962, Winnipeg Free Press
Bottom: April 2, 1963, Winnipeg Free Press
A late entry to the field, a new development proposed for Colony Street at Portage Avenue, won the day. The new Mall Centre would include an office tower, retail mall, 300 car parkade and a refurbishment and expansion of the Mall Hotel.
On April 2, 1963 with Oxford Leaseholds of Edmonton as the developers and Poole Contractors in charge of construction, architects Moody and Moore released the drawings for the new building. Construction got underway in spring of 1963 and the Mall Centre opened in stages between fall 1963 and summer 1964.
Hundreds of people turned up for the ribbon cutting. A Free Press reporter marveled at the amenities, spaciousness natural light compared to the old bus depot on Hargrave Street:
"As an example, only 40 buses were in operation in Manitoba in 1931, apart from those in local transit service. Today there are nearly 200 non-transit buses operating in the province and they're full of people who find traveling by bus both comfortable and economical.... In total, the new Bus Depot is everything the traveler could want and more"
(Winnipeg Free Press, Oct 14 1964)
As for the Union Bus depot, Eaton's wasted no time in demolishing the building to create additional surface parking for their store.