THUNDER BAY – Business – The Hudson Bay Company is rebranding. The Bay has been in business almost forever. The popular lore is that the bank would deposit a cheque made out to the “Here Before Christ” company. The Hudson’s Bay company started in Canada in 1674, with a Royal Charter. The company was active in the fur trade and in solid competition with rival company the Northwest Company.
Hudson’s Bay Company rebrands to traditional look
There is a solid connection to Thunder Bay from back in the days of the fur trade where the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Northwest Company were in competition. That was a corporate fight that the Hudson’s Bay Company won.
Now, the Hudson’s Bay (TSX:HBC), formerly known as The Bay continues in its evolution. In a media statement the company says “Today after many exciting years of change and innovation in the Canadian retail landscape. To celebrate its past, present and much-anticipated future, Hudson’s Bay is launching a new, streamlined logo to reflect the modernized brand while maintaining its deep-rooted history”.
This is the company’s first major logo rebrand since 1965, Hudson’s Bay is returning to its classic full name with a striking word mark that will be visible on all marketing and media materials, online and in-store displays, plus an additional full-dress version used exclusively for packaging and select materials. A marriage between yesterday’s history and tomorrow’s vision, the full-dress logo celebrates Hudson’s Bay’s heritage with the coat of arms, beautifully redrawn by Canadian Mark Summers, and a sleek design developed by Lipman.
“We’re very proud to say that Hudson’s Bay is continuing to advance in 2013, not only with our new business ventures, but with our updated look,” says Tony Smith, Creative Director, HBC. “We’ve taken what is a very meaningful two-pronged approach to the redesign: maintaining our heritage while modernizing the new Hudson’s Bay Company. It’s a throwback to our remarkable history and an image for the direction we’re heading in.”
In the days of Fort William, here in what today is Thunder Bay, the fur trade, by the early 1800s was a booming business. Wikipedia reports, “Fort Garry, also known as Upper Fort Garry, was a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers in what is now downtown Winnipeg. It was established in 1822 on or near the site of the North West Company‘s Fort Gibraltar. Fort Garry was named after Nicholas Garry, deputy governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. It served as the centre of fur trade within the Red River Colony. Unfortunately in 1826, a severe flood destroyed the fort. It was rebuilt in 1835 by the HBC and named Upper Fort Garry to differentiate it from “the Lower Fort,” or Lower Fort Garry, 32 km downriver, which was established in 1831. Throughout the mid-to-late 19th century, Upper Fort Garry played a minor role in the actual trading of furs, but was central to the administration of the HBC and the surrounding settlement. The Council of Assiniboia, the administrative and judicial body of the Red River Colony mainly run by Hudson’s Bay Company officials, met at Upper Fort Garry”.
In 1869, the Hudson’s Bay Company agreed to surrender its monopoly in the North-West, including Upper Fort Garry. In late 1869 and early 1870, the fort was seized by Louis Rieland his Métis followers during the Red River Rebellion. After the Rebellion, the area around the fort continued to grow. In 1873, the city of Winnipeg was established and the name Fort Garry was no longer used. In 1881-1884 the majority of the fort was demolished to straighten Main Street (it was at Main Street and Assiniboine Avenue).
Today, that history remains alive at Fort William Historical Park.