Manitoba Business: Imperial Dry Goods Company

The Imperial Dry Goods Company was established in early February 1898 and received its charter of incorporation via the Manitoba Joint Stock Companies Act on 6 April 1898. Its founding partnership was comprised of Robert Thomas Riley, Richard Driscoll, Samuel Dunwoody, Jeffry Hall Brock, Abraham Snyder Binns, and Samuel Spink, with Henry Walter Whitla attending to the venture’s legal affairs. The initial capital stock was set at $25,000 and the firm opened storefront quarters at 452 Main Street in Winnipeg under the oversight of Manager Arthur Egbert Ham. Their doors first opened to customers on 19 February 1898 with stock consisting of dress goods, silks, hosiery, gloves, prints, muslins, sheets, and linens. In November 1900, the company relocated to its own purpose-build structure at 91 Albert Street and adjoining building with Main Street frontage. As business increased, the company’s capital stock was raised to $100,000 in July 1902. By that time, there had been significant shareholder turnover, with the partnership now comprised of Joseph Clark (accountant, 0.1%), A. E. Ham (Manager, 17.5%), Catherine A. Ham (wife of Arthur, 2.5%), Dawson Kerr Elliott (35.0%), and Robert Jones Whitla (44.9%). Within two months of Robert’s death, it was announced in early January 1906 that the company was to be wrapped up. Inventory liquidation sales were held shortly thereafter and its assets sold off, though its charter survived until being revoked by Order-in-Council on 30 October 1912.







Robert Jones Whitla (1846-1905)





Arthur Egbert Ham (1867-1931)

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Imperial Dry Goods Block (91 Albert Street, Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Royal Bank of Canada Building (460 Main Street, Winnipeg)


“The Imperial Dry Goods Co.,” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 15 February 1898, page 4.

“The Imperial Dry Goods Co,.” Manitoba Free Press, 16 February 1898, page 7.

“Just think of it,” Manitoba Free Press, 18 February 1898, page 7.

“City and general [Application will be made for the incorporation of ...],” Manitoba Free Press, 21 February 1898, page 6.

“We apologize,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 February 1898, page 4.

“Imperial Dry Goods Co.,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 February 1898, page 5.

“The big 7 day silk sale,” Manitoba Free Press, 5 May 1900, page 4.

“Business change,” Manitoba Free Press, 15 November 1900, page 5.

“Street improvements [On the motion of Ald. Sharpe ...],” Manitoba Free Press, 1 November 1900, page 4.

“Imperial Dry Goods Co.,” Manitoba Free Press, 16 March 1904, page 6.

“Business to be wound up,” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 January 1906, page 2.

“The Imperial Dry Goods Co. Ltd. executors' sale,” Winnipeg Tribune, 20 January 1906, page 13.

“To Let,” Winnipeg Tribune, 7 February 1910, page 9.

“New buildings now under way [Royal Bank],” Winnipeg Tribune, 17 April 1909, page 2.

“Building in the West,” Manitoba Free Press, 29 May 1909, page 6.

“Tooke Bros. Ltd.” Winnipeg Tribune, 7 February 1910, page 17.

Companies Office corporation documents (CCA 0059), 5I - Imperial Dry Goods Company Limited, GR6427, Archives of Manitoba.

Orders-In-Council (EC 0003A), GR1530, Archives of Manitoba.

Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Henderson Directories Limited, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 15 February 2020