Tag Archives: Royal Charter

Fur Trading in Northern Canada – Part 2

The History of the Hudson Bay Company (continued)

In the previous blog: Part 1 Fur Trading in Northern Canada.1 https://genealogyensemble.com/2022/12/14/fur-trading-in-northern-canada-part-1/noted the origins of the Hudson Bay company (HBC), its creation in 1670.  Today it is considered the “oldest merchandising company in the English-speaking world.

Canada’s 1870 purchase of Rupert’s Land ended a large portion of the HBC story and brought in a new era for the company.2

The transfer of Rupert’s Land from the British Crown to the newly created Dominion of Canada occurred in 1868 (Confederation occurred in 1867 uniting Upper and Lower Canada).

The Deed of Surrender outlined the details of the compensation to HBC from the Canadian Government. The deed was signed in November of 1869 with the transfer to Canada July 15th, 1870.3.

Deed of Surrender

Conflicts arose among the colony of farmers and hunters, many of them Métis living and working in the area of Rupert’s Land and they feared their religion, culture and land rights would be controlled by Canada..

Until the time of the purchase, HBC had considerable authority where it operated The Métis under the leadership of Louis Riel mounted the Red River Rebellion. They resisted and declared a provisional government to negotiate on behalf of the Metis. These negotiations ultimately led to the creation of the province of Manitoba.4

Hudson Bay Company continued to operate and is still in operation today. 5             

HBC Development, Acquisitions and Timeline:6, 7 & 9

1670 The Hudson’s Bay Company, a fur-trading enterprise head-quartered in London, opened trading posts on Hudson Bay.

1870 Canadian Government’s purchase of Rupert’s land brought in a new era for the Hudson Bay Company which led to the Metis resistance.

1869-1870 Red River Rebellion.

1881 The first catalogue was introduced and ceased publishing 1913.

1913-1960’s HBC operated retail stores solely in the west.

1960 HBC expanded their operations and acquired the Henry Morgan’s department store in Montreal.

1965 HBC unveiled a historic coat of arms bearing its traditional mottopro pelle  cutem (“a pelt for a skin”).7.                                   

1970 300th anniversary of HBC Queen Elizabeth II, granted a new charter which removed previous provisions of the original charter and the company chose Winnipeg, Manitoba as the new Headquarters.8.

I1974 HBC opened its first Toronto store and several years later acquired Simpson’s Department stores.

1974 HBC records were held in London office headquarters until that year.

1994 27th, January of that year the company’s archives were formally donated to the Archives of Manitoba.

1998 K-Mart Canada’s stores were acquired and brought into the Zellers fold.

2000 Online shopping was initiated.

2006 Gerry Zucker, an American acquired HBC for over C$1.1 billion.  

2008 the New York-based private equity firm and parent company of Lord & Taylor were acquired.

2012 Hudson’s Bay Trading Company, dissolved

2008 to 2012, the HBC was run through a holding company of NRDC, Hudson’s Bay Trading Company, which was dissolved in early 2012.12.

2020 February, at a special meeting shareholders of the company voted in favour of a plan to become a private company.

2020 Currently HBC includes Hudson’s Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks OFF 5TH in Canada and the United States.

2020 + HBC operates nearly 250 stores and employs about 30,000 people.


1. https://genealogyensemble.com/2022/12/14/fur-trading-in-northern-canada-part-1

2. https://www.cbc.ca/history/EPCONTENTSE1EP9CH1PA3LE.html