Reading room, Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Winnipeg
The Hudsons's Bay Company Archives (HBCA) is a division of the Archives of Manitoba and its staff are employees of the provincial government. Dating from the 1670s to modern times HBCA's collection is immense - approx. 2 km in linear extent. The collection documents daily events at almost 500 trading posts as well as voyages in Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic waters. Records trace HBC's evolution from a trading company, through its involvement in land sales, oil and wholesaling, to its current nationwide presence as a retail giant. Less well-known aspects of HBC's history are also extensively documented. These range from its role as a major Allied purchasing and shipping agent in the First World War, to its attempts at fur trading in Russia in the 1920s, to even more exotic ventures such as the film business.
Whether you are researching your family or community history, First Nations, explorers and fur traders, trade goods, historic climate, wild animals, or other topics connected to the activities of Hbc, the resources of the Archives are available to you. More than just records, HBCA can provide research tools such as post histories, ship histories and biographical sheets on individual employees. There are also "Search Files": vertical files on a variety of subjects. Archives staff began to compile these files in the 1920s and have continued to add to them.
In addition to textual records, HBCA holds an extensive photograph collection as well as smaller collections of works of art, audio and film. The map collection, one of the finest in North America, is a rich source for the history of Western exploration. It includes plans and architectural drawings. There is also a specialized research library containing both rare volumes and the most recent publications on HBC history.
Storage vault, Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Winnipeg
In the 1920s, motivated by what it considered "a duty to make our information available to the people of Canada", HBC's Head Office in London began to arrange and describe its records for public access. View the history of the archives.
In 1973, following the 1970 transfer of its Head Office to Canada, Hudson's Bay Company agreed to deposit its records on long term loan with the Archives of Manitoba. The collection was shipped to Canada in 1974 and opened to the public the following year. On January 27, 1994, the Archives of Manitoba became the permanent home of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives when the collection was permanently donated to province. Today, HBCA, as part of the Archives of Manitoba, benefits from the ability to share resources such as staff and space for offices and public research.
Please contact HBCA directly for more information about its collections.
Hudson's Bay Company Archives
Archives of Manitoba
200 Vaughan Street