From Woolco to Walmart: Celebrating 25 Years in Canada

Earlier this month, Walmart Canada celebrated its 25th anniversary of operating in Canada, which is a major milestone for the world’s largest retailer. Walmart opened its first Canadian stores after acquiring the 122-store Woolco division of Woolworth Canada in 1994.

Since then, the retailer has built a network of 410 stores, employing more than 85,000 associates, and serving more than 1.2 million customers across the country, every day. In 2011, Walmart Canada launched its flagship online store,, which is visited by more than 750,000 customers

“It’s been 25 outstanding years for Walmart in Canada and we are thankful for the opportunity to serve Canadian families,” noted Lee Tappenden, president and CEO, Walmart Canada. “We have built a strong history in Canada – supporting local children’s hospitals, providing disaster relief support and tackling issues like hunger and waste. We are proud to employ a diverse workforce as one of the country’s largest employers and look forward to a bright future in Canada.”

Giving back to Canadian communities

Walmart Canada’s extensive philanthropy program is focused on supporting Canadian families in need and the company’s mission to help people live better. As a result, the company has formed impactful partnerships with non-profit organizations including the Breakfast Club of Canada, Canadian Red Cross, Children’s Miracle Network, and Food Banks Caada. Through these relationships, Walmart Canada’s community giving program aims to strengthen ties to the communities where Walmart operates, with philanthropic initiatives designed to have a national scope and local impact.

To date, Walmart Canada’s philanthropy includes:

  • Raising and donating $350 million for Canadian non-profit organizations
  • On average, $35,000, has been raised and donated for Canadian charities each day that Walmart has operated in Canada
  • The company has donated 16 million pounds of surplus food – the equivalent of 16 million meals – to food banks and food recovery organizations across the country.

Improving plastic and food waste reduction

Another initiative pursued by Walmart Canada is taking a leadership role on waste reduction — specifically building on business and philanthropic initiatives to eliminate waste and relieve hunger. This initiative has been underway since 2005. Through it, the company is focused on reducing waste across its operations, including ambitious commitments around plastic and food waste reduction. Milestone sustainability commitments include:

  • Send zero waste to landfill by 2025, 87 per cent of waste at Walmart Canada is currently diverted from landfill
  • Achieve 100 per cent recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging for its private brand products by 2025
  • Reduce check-out plastic bags by a further 50 per cent by 2025, taking approximately 1 billion check-out bags out of circulation over that period
  • 100 per cent alternatively powered fleet vehicles by 2028

 Walmart Canada continues to become a part of Canada’s culture

Since 1994, Walmart Canada has become recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most influential brands claiming that it serves the equivalent of the Canadian population every month in its stores.

  • More than 80 per cent of Canadian households shop at Walmart
  • 60 per cent of Canadians live within a 10-minute drive of a Walmart store
  • It is estimated that 1 in 43 Canadians has worked for Walmart Canada at some point
  • Two babies were born in Walmart Canada stores; a baby girl in the Saint-Hyacinthe store in Quebec and a baby girl in Toronto’s Dufferin Mall store