Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Safeway in Winnipeg Part 4 - Sweeping Styles

1929 - 30s era stores

1940s era store

The 1950s brought continued growth and a different way of building Safeways. For 25 years they used the 'cookie cutter' method of identical stores for every situation but in the 1950s they loosened the reigns.

The average 1950 store size was 11,000 sq ft., almost ten times that of their 1929 stores. New innovations included: larger, free parking lots; open, refrigerated displays for produce and dairy; self serve meat sections and electric 'turntable' check-out counters (to 'minimize the handling of produce' !)

Exterior finishes and some design elements were varied to suit the lot and fit in with the neighbourhood around them, though the interior layout of the stores remained identical. A design feature that appeared at many of the early 1950s stores was the "big fin", (my term, not theirs), bearing the Safeway name, as seen above.

Stores built in the 1950s included:

Isabel and Notre Dame
Oct 1950 (since demolished)

St. Annes and St. Mary's Rd
Feb 15, 1951 (50s version since demolished)

Portage at Ferry
May 31 1951 (since demolished)

Old Safeway
Corydon and Stafford
May 1952

Marion at Braemar
1953 (50s version since demolished)

Old Safeway
Portage at Burnell
Opened July 25, 1951 (see)

Mountain and McPhillips
June 7 1956 (since demolished)

Lanark and Corydon
July 16 1956 (since demolished)

Nairn at Bird's Hill Rd (now Lagimodiere)
May 1957 (since demolished)

Sargent and Wall
1957 (since demolished)

Portage at St. James
Nov 1958 (since demolished)

1960s logo

In the late 1950s and into the 1960s competing chains caught up to the trend of larger stores. Continued suburban expansion and wider, faster traffic routes meant that 'curb appeal' became an important feature. To see some of the myriad of designs used in the U.S. check out the Safeway posts at Pleasant Family Shopping. Winnipeg, though, had a more limited selection.

One design that made its debut in 1960 was the "Ranch-style" (Safeway's term). Stores built in this style included:

Maryland and Sargent
Sept 28 1960 (since demolished)

Old Safeway
Logan near Keewatin
(date unknown)

St. Anne's and St. Mary's
(Sept 24 1959) Featured an underground car park !
Old-School Safeway

Likely the most-loved style of Safeway throughout North America was, and is, the 'Marina Style', named for the prototype store on Marina Boulevard in San Fransisco.

Old Safeway
Old Safeway
Old Safeway

The Marina Style, or 'theme', as there were variations on the original design, was distinctive for its wavy roofline, full glass front and stone side wings.

Stores built in the Marina Style included:

Old Safeway
St. Mary's Road and Dakota opened June 11, 1963

Tuxedo Park Shopping Centre opened October 30, 1963 (demolished)

Pembina Highway at McGillivray Blvd. opened 1963 (demolished)

Henderson Highway at Bronx Avenue, opened February 11, 1964 (60s facade demolished)

1031 Autumnwood Drive opened February 27, 1964 (60s facade demolished)

3292 Portage avenue at Westwood opened July 16, 1964 (demolished)

Portage Avenue at Ferry Road opened November 24, 1964 (demolished)

Old Safeway
Main Street and Luxton Avenue, opened April 1964

Mountain Avenue at McGregor Street

1965 Kildare and Wayoata, opened September 28 1965 (demolished)

McPhillips at Mountain
unknown (since demolished)

Former Safeway
Ellice Avenue and Wall Street opened November 5, 1964

Old Safeway

The Ellice Avenue and Wall Street store, their 32nd built in Winnipeg, was recently closed. There is a video of the store in it's final days and being de-commissioned on Youtube. The store's original facade was demolished the following year.

Nov 9, 1965 Free Press

This location had a unique tie-in to a local gas stations chain and was a pioneer, in Winnipeg at least, for tying grocery sales to savings on fuel purchases. 

Dominion Motors ran two gas stations in the city, one at their Dominion Motors sales lot and one at the Dominion Centre on Marion. They opened a third in the parking lot of the Ellice and Wall Safeway in 1965.

'Dominion', however, was also the name of a Canadian rival supermarket chain so a new name had to be found and Dominion Gas Bars were rechristened DOMO. As you can see in the above photo from the DOMO website they even had a little architectural fun mimicking the Marina style roof of the neighbouring store.

Not all Safeway stores were custom builds. The former Tivoli Theatre (now a Food Fare) at Maryland and Westminster was converted into a Safeway in 1959.

The Marina-style's era was short lived and by the mid 60s a new style emerged boasting 28,000 square feet of space.

Old Safeway

This style was described by a Free Press writer as "modern-gothic" with sweeping arches framing the storefront. Stores built in this era include:

Old Safeway
Old Safeway
Marion and Braemar
Oct 1966 (exterior renovated, arches remain)

Crossroads Shopping Centre
1967 (since demolished)

Old Safeway
Sturgeon Park

December 1969

The following stores were also built in the late 1960s but there were no photos in the grand opening ads so it's unknown what style they were.

St. Anne's at Trans Canada
March 26, 1968 (style unknown)

Lanark and Corydon
Aug 1969 (style unknown)

Grant Park Shopping Centre
Oct 1969 (style unknown)

In the 1970s there was less emphasis on the stand-alone store and more on strip mall and shopping centre developments. This effectively ended the era of architecturally unique Safeways.

Some early 70's stores included:

River East Plaza, 1442 Henderson

River and Osborne, ca. 1973

Safeway History Bits and Bobs:

Old Safeway

The only original, ca.1929, Safeway still used as a grocery store is now a Pal's Supermarket on St. Matthews at Beverley. It survived into the 50's under the company banner then it became a Payfair.

 Pal's on Broadway
The only 1940s style store still in operation is also a Pal's on Broadway near Young Street.

Old Safeway
On Portage between Burnell and Arlington you can see a 1931 and 1951 era Safeway almost side by side. In 1985 the 1950s era safeway closed and a former Safeway Manager, Harry Halbesma, took it over to create Harry's Foods.

Old Safeway
The only Marina Styl;e Safeway left in Winnipeg is at 1441 Main Street.


On June 12, 2013 it was announced that Sobey's had bought all of Canada Safeway's assets, including over 200 retial stores in Western Canada. Safeway's 84 year run as come to an end.

If you like vintage stores, check out:
Flickr Vintage Supermarket Pool
Pleasant Family Shopping
Groceteria.com Supermarket History

The full (4 part) Safeway in Winnipeg series:
- Safeway in Winnipeg Part 1 - Setting Up Shop
- Safeway in Winnipeg Part 2 - The Boom Years
- Safeway in Winnipeg Part 3 - 1939 to 1949
- Safeway in Winnipeg Part 4 - Sweeping Styles

- Related Maps


Anonymous said...

My agency does a lot of work with Safeway, so I found this series to be really fascinating in a geeky sort of way. You should submit it to their offices for their historical archives...

Christian Cassidy said...

Thanks, I feel a bit geeky myself getting so deep into it !

mungman said...

Just a note, the store at 1031 Autumnwood Drive was not demolished. It is still there, it has been redeveloped into a sort of stripmall. there is a hairdresser, a homebuilder's office and until recently a Service Canada office. The original Marina style front facade was covered up with a new false parapet, but from the rear the curving roof is still clearly visible. I remember going to this location in the early 70's with the turntable checkouts before the new store on Fermor in Southdale.

Christian Cassidy said...

Ah, thanks. I will make that change. The same thing, I believe, was done with the Safeway at Bronx and Henderson. The facade was altered to make it look like a shoebox but the store is still original.

Anonymous said...

There was a Ranch style one at Osborne - it was used as the temporary store when they were rebuilding behind it. Was used as a MLCC at one time too.

Anonymous said...

Good post, excellent research. I really enjoyed reading this.

A point of clarification about the store on Sargent near Sherbrook (now a pawnshop) with the mismatched extension. This was a recent extension built by the second last owner of the pawnshop (Pasha I think)? He built this extension around 2000, tried to open a Turkish-style coffee shop, but was denied planning permission. I used to frequent his shop quite a bit in those days and I remember the construction and I even signed a petition supporting his coffee shop endeavor. I assume he was denied for whatever reason and the space was never used again, as far as I know (except perhaps for storage?)

Christian Cassidy said...

Great - thanks for that. I will make the correction !

Dingo said...

The PAL's Supermarket on Henderson (before Johnson intersect) was also once a Safeway. Something you may want to add.

Christian Cassidy said...

Thanks ! Pal's was among the first built so it's in the previous section dealing with the 20s - 50s.

Anonymous said...

Hi just wanted you to know the Safeway at Pembina and Mcgillivray is not demolished - just re-modelled!

Anonymous said...

Corydon and Lanark store was originally closer to Corydon. Rebuilt farther back in the late 60's I believe. They had a lunch counter. The current building is where Bernsteins' is located.

Anonymous said...

The original Safeway at Pembina at McGillvray in now the current front part if the Holiday Inn south...it is their banquet facilities I think. A quick look and you can tell it was a Safeway before building the new one across the street.

FastEddy said...

The Nairn and Panet store is completely different than the Regent and Lagimodiere store.

The N/W Nairn and Panet store became a Canadian Tire, then Ironworkers Gym, and finally a Canada Post Distribution Center. When Safeway closed the Nairn Store, they ended up moving to the S/E corner of Regent and Lagimodiere and were the cornerstone store for new Shopping Center along with Woolco.

Fabio Rodela said...

The store on Mountain near McGregor is also a Marina type building. You didn't mention the stores on Jefferson and on Leila. :-)
Great site, alot of information.
Maybe you can add some original Safeway products once sold in the stores, like the stack of chocolate cookies, or the excellent Corned Beef, which was unique in it's time because it was sliced very thin and was more like roast beef rather than today's corned beef.
I remember all the huge seventies cars parked diagonally in front of the Mountain Ave. store. Now, even with smaller cars, the parking lot looks tiny.

TheArtistDonaldB said...

Hello mr Christian
You indicated a number of stores being demolished when in fact they were never demolished, but remodeled, expanded or repurposed. The location at Sargent and Maryland was one such location which was remodeled and expanded in the early eighties. Logan and Keewatin was simply shutdown and eventually remodeled as a church. Ellice and Wall ( you incorrectly indicated Sargent and Wall ) was also closed, but never demolished. It was repurposed and remodeled.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure the Safeway at Portage and Ferry Road was not demolished and is now Family Foods. Certainly looks like an old Safeway from the inside. Also. notice the Domo out front.