Celebrating Over 85 Years at Safeway

About us Safeway History 1180x225
Founded in 1929 in Manitoba, Safeway has over 85 years of history serving communities across Western Canada. Now with 183 Safeway stores from Vancouver, British Columbia to Thunder Bay, Ontario.
  • Safeway has been serving Western Canadians since 1929.
  • In 2013, the assets of Canada Safeway Limited were acquired by Sobeys Inc.
  • The Canadian assets of Safeway are fully owned and operated by Sobeys Inc.
  • President of Safeway Operations: Chuck Mulvenna.
  • Safeway employs over 28,000 Canadians.
  • Safeway’s head office is located in Calgary, Alberta, with regional offices located in Vancouver, Edmonton and Winnipeg.


About Us History Over 85 years 760x582

Safeway opens its first five Canadian stores in Manitoba

Grocery stores were typically 1,000 square feet, and customers bought only several days’ worth of food at a time because quick-melting ice blocks were the standard source of home refrigeration. Customers would provide a grocery list to clerks behind the counter. The clerks would select the items and bag them. The cashier would then ring up the items and give the customer a carbon-copy bill.


Safeway acquires Piggy Wiggly, MacDonald’s Consolidated and Empress Manufacturing

Safeway was one of Canada’s first grocery innovators. The automobile age compelled management to augment its stores with free parking spaces, with most lots accommodating up to 100 cars. Patrons were provided with shopping carts, home delivery and weigh scales to help them buy produce by the pound. By breaking the front counter barrier, Safeway ushered in a new age of grocery shopping, namely, the self-serve concept. Other firsts included merchandising events, supporting local farm and livestock producers and a guaranteed meat-trim program.

1950's - Safeway Expands

Safeway expanded to include 6,000 items in 20,000-square-foot stores.
Safeway S Mosaic

1952 - Safeway’s Iconic Red “S” Introduced

Safeway’s iconic red “S” was first introduced with a money-back satisfaction guarantee.


Introduction of “Food for Less” stores

The 1970's witnessed a retailing revolution whose fallout is still keenly felt throughout the industry: the concept of food barns or mega-stores. By offering lower prices and case-lot purchasing to customers, Canada responded with the customer-friendly “Food for Less” stores, an ideal blend of Safeway’s traditional services and the spaciousness and larger selection of food barns.

1940's - Introduction of Open-Top Refrigerated Display Cases

Safeway introduces open-top, refrigerated display cases, which made frozen products more accessible to shoppers. Just as Safeway adapted to the realities of the Great Depression, Safeway cashiers clearly announced every price as they rang goods into the cash register.

1947 - New Distribution Philosophy

After World War Two, a “distribution without waste” philosophy was implemented, which is now of paramount importance throughout the food retail sector today. Provisions were made for distribution and plant facilities to better serve new stores that were opening across the country.


1966 - Safeway acquired Jasper Dairy Company

Safeway acquired Edmonton-based Jasper Dairy Company, which supplied the stores with a complete line of milk and dairy products and assured the company of a complete in-house supply of food brands.


Safeway Introduced In-Store Pharmacies & Floral Departments

The average grocery store was 50,000 square feet. Safeway introduced in-store pharmacies and in-house floral departments.


About US History Cards 760x582

Loyalty Programs Introduced to Safeway Customers

The 1990's brought two new loyalty programs to Safeway customers:
  1. Safeway Club Card
  2. AIR MILES collector card 
The Safeway Club Card offered customers a new way to save money on their grocery purchases.

Safeway was one of the first Sponsors when Air Miles launched in Canada, and was the exclusive grocery retailer to offer Air Miles reward miles to customers in Western Canada. Over 20 years later Safeway is still a proud Sponsor of the AIR MILES Reward Program!


About Us History Ingredients for Life 760x582

2004 - “Ingredients for Life” Slogan Introduced

Safeway introduces the new slogan “Ingredients for Life” and in four brief years renovates over 180 Canadian stores to reflect the new Lifestyle design. Stores have grown to feature healthier options, Starbucks Kiosks, a variety of organic and natural options, as well as a large offering of Asian, ethnic and sustainable choices.


Tim Hortons Joins the Safeway Family

Expanding on its Starbucks coffee offering, Safeway introduces Tim Horton's into the Safeway family. Pharmacy services have also grown exponentially to include in-store consultation rooms and immunization programs.


A New Beginning: Sobeys Inc. Purchases Canada Safeway

In 2013, a new and exciting chapter in a great story has begun to unfold for the company and all its employees with the Sobeys Inc. acquisition of Canada Safeway. We are now proudly part of a Canadian company that is over 108 years old — poised for growth and together we are embarking upon a quest to be the best food retailer in Canada!