Neighbourhood - Buildings

The Bay


The original store, built facing Phillips Square in 1890-1891, was designed by John Pearce Hill. The four-storey structure occupies the entire width of the block on Sainte-Catherine between Union and Aylmer streets. The building is clad in a beautiful red sandstone imported from Scotland; the classical architecture has an imposing appearance, while the large arches and sculptural reliefs show a Neo-Romanesque influence. Inside, the first three storeys, devoted to retail space, were finished with luxurious marble and woodwork. The fourth floor housed the Morgan workshops, where seamstresses, cabinetmakers and upholsterers produced various articles for sale on site, benefiting from the daylight entering through the immense windows. The store was enlarged in 1902 with a five-storey structure fronting onto Aylmer.

In 1923, an eight-storey structure was added on Union Street in only 196 working days. Covered in artificial red stone to match the red Scottish stone, the concrete-frame building has tall, classical pilasters, wide shop windows with arched bays and a symmetry influenced by the Beaux-Arts style. Moreover, the echo of the earlier structure's elongated arches and the treatment of the horizontal axes on the ground and third floors serve to unite the buildings. The facilities inside were steadily enhanced from 1927 on with the addition of a tobacconist, barbershop, lounge with foyer, art gallery, concert hall, elevators and even a grocery store. The goal was to attract customers to do their shopping on a daily basis.

A final expansion was carried out on de Maisonneuve Blvd. in 1964 by the architects Bolton, Ellwood and Aimers in a strictly modernist style that contrasts with the 19th century construction. The store has been connected to the metro system at the basement level since 1966.