On Wednesday, May 1st, 1974, after 47 years at the same location in downtown Edmonton, Woodward’s new six-story department store opened its doors for business. For both the residents of Edmonton and staff and management of the old original store, it was an exciting time watching the new store being constructed beside the old store over a period of close to two years. Not one day of business was lost during the transition! The old store held a giant clearance sale for a few days before after the new store opened.
One of the many innovations in Woodward’s new store was its Famous Food Floor, which was decorated in authentic English Tudor, and had a selection of over 9,000 items. One of the busiest spots on opening day was the licensed dining room…The Inn, where shoppers relaxed in the quiet English inn atmosphere and partook of wine or beer with their meals.
Wide escalators and three automatic elevators connected the six floors. The store was completely air conditioned with piped in music playing softly in the background.xFrom the concourse floor to the fifth floor (which featured Woodward’s Bargain Store, a Cafeteria, Pet Shop and Toys) was the “Wonderful World of Woodward’s” for all shoppers to enjoy!
In 1926 when Charles Woodward opened the first Woodward store in Alberta (Store #2), he told the crowd that he believed Edmonton was on the verge of great developments and his company would grow with it. The opening of the Edmonton Centre with Woodward’s having a thirty-percent interest proved him not only correct, but a man of great foresight!
By John Bishop