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The Toronto-based T. Eaton Company’s
decision to build a department store on South Portage between
Donald and Hargrave Streets, was the catalyst for Portage
Avenue’s development into a major commercial thoroughfare.
Prior to this, most businesses had located along Main Street.
Steele Curry had come to Winnipeg from Nova Scotia in 1874
with the second detachment of the North-West Mounted Police.
He became a surveyor, and in 1884, the city’s
auditor. During this period, he had amassed a considerable
amount of real estate holdings. One of his properties included
the Spencer Block between Notre Dame Avenue and Garry Street
on North Portage.