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The Bay occupies a huge brown stone building in the centre of downtown, flanked by the old Birks store and the Christ Cathedral Church. This huge historical department store is directly connected to both the Underground City and to the McGill Metro station. Besides its prime location, the unique history of Canada’s top department store makes it a worthwhile visit. The Hudson Bay Company is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest corporations in the world! There’s a good reason why people often jokingly change its initials (HBC) to mean “Here Before Christ.” It was founded in 1670 by the British Government to run the fur-trade in the British controlled sections of North America. Stories of early trappers forging relations and trading with the First Nations are paramount to understanding early Canadian history. One aspect of the company was to set up trading posts all over the country, which have since been turned into modern department stores—that is why its buildings are some the oldest in the city.
The now-renamed HBC still does sell fur, although in a much lower quantity than it used to due to the demands of animal activists. Nowadays, the company specializes in almost any product you could think of. Those traveling its many-leveled complex will be astounded as to the amount of different stock that HBC carries. Customers are invited to explore busy perfume counters, their several floors of clothing and accessories, their furniture floor, their top-of-the-line electronics and everything you might imagine a store could carry. The Bay is the newest sponsor of the Canadian Olympic Team, and will be for the coming decade. Come roam the halls of this department store and support the team!