Charles Woodward

Charles Woodward, merchant, politician (b in Wentworth County, Canada W 19 July 1842; d at Vancouver 2 June 1937). After failing as a farmer and having mixed success as a merchant on Manitoulin Island and at Thessalon, Ont, Woodward decided that Vancouver offered better opportunities.

Charles Woodward

Charles Woodward, merchant, politician (b in Wentworth County, Canada W 19 July 1842; d at Vancouver 2 June 1937). After failing as a farmer and having mixed success as a merchant on Manitoulin Island and at Thessalon, Ont, Woodward decided that Vancouver offered better opportunities. On 1 March 1892 he began selling boots, shoes and groceries. He added other lines and in 1902 incorporated Woodward Department Stores Ltd. In 1926 he opened a branch in Edmonton, Alta. Charles Woodward always took an interest in public life. In 1924, after he was a millionaire and 2 of his sons had taken on many management responsibilities, Woodward ran as a Liberal candidate in the provincial election. He became senior member for the city but often clashed with the Liberal government of John OLIVER and J.D. MACLEAN over timber policy, the Pacific Great Eastern Railway and Vancouver's lack of representation in the Cabinet. His grandson, Charles Namby Wynn Woodward (b at Vancouver 23 March, 1924; d at Vancouver 27 Apr 1990), was chairman of the board and CEO of Woodward Stores Ltd, which had in 1986 annual sales of $1.1 billion and assets of $396 million. Charles ran the company until 1979 and afterwards devoted much of his time to ranching; he owned Canada's largest ranch (Douglas Lake, BC), which the family sold in 1998. Woodward's department stores faltered dramatically after Charles's death, suffering from competition from smaller, specialized stores; the company was declared insolvent and in 1993 the Hudson's Bay Company took over its operations, and 21 Woodward's stores became either Bay or Zellers stores.


Further Reading

  • D.E. Harker, The Woodwards (1976).