By: Levi Opsatnic
Well, it is December, and even though it’s currently only a few degrees below fifty, I like to think that winter just has to be somewhere around the corner. I mean, how much longer can this strange El Nino weather even persist? Though it’s been a rare occurrence this year, I’d expect that sooner or later we’ll all be able to take our warm, puffy down jackets out of the closet and allow them to become a daily staple.
This leads me to my entire point of today’s discussion, which is to discuss a bit of background history on the company that may make some of the most puffy and warm down jackets available—Canada Goose.
Canada Goose all began in the year 1957 in a tiny warehouse located in Toronto, Canada when a man by the name of Sam Tick appropriately decided that there was a crucial need for clothing that could combat Canada’s harsh climate. Although we’re all most familiar with the name “Canada Goose,” Tick’s company originally went by the name of “Metro Sportswear Ltd.” Being that this was a bit too early to cost-effectively mass-produce down pieces, Metro Sportswear Ltd. began with a focus on things like raincoats, woolen vests, and snowmobile suits.
Metro Sportswear Ltd. thrived as an outerwear company for nearly twenty years before it got a few additions and quickly transformed into the Canada Goose that we’ve all grown to love. The first addition was that Sam Tick’s son-in-law, David Reiss (who renamed the company “Snow Goose” for a few years before settling on “Canada Goose”), joined the company. The second, and possibly the most vital, was whenever a volume-based down filling machine was finally invented. This is exactly what Canada Goose needed, as this machine allowed them to conveniently pack their jackets full of toasty warm down insulation.
Although the 80s in America may have been a foggy period riddled with regrettable haircuts and outfit choices, they were a wonderful time for Canada Goose. This marks the period where Canada Goose created what is one of their most iconic jackets in the advent of their Expedition Parka. The Expedition Parka was designed to keep scientists warm while working in Antarctica’s McMurdo Station and was given the nickname “Big Red” as a result of its lofty, insulated, and red appearance. Although it was made to tackle some of the world’s roughest weather, it wasn’t long before the Expedition Parka began showing up on frozen, snow-covered streets.
Made to get you through really any terrible weather, Canada Goose got what may be one of their best of nods of recognition in the year 1982 whenever Laurie Skreslet, the first Canadian to summit Mount Everest, did so in a custom Canada Goose jacket. In 2011, this jacket became available to the public and is named the “Skreslet Parka.” To this day, Canada Goose jackets are still the chosen piece during long, frozen expeditions and boast some serious accolades such as Lance Mackey’s victory of both the Iditarod and Yukon Quest dog sled, Ray Zahab’s trek (by foot) to the South Pole, and also some background props in big screen movies such as The Day After Tomorrow and National Treasure. Almost needless to say, there really isn’t a cold situation that’s unfit for a Canada Goose.
In 2001, Canada Goose gained a new CEO, Dani Reiss (David Reiss’ son and Sam Tick’s grandson), who decided that Canada Goose will always stay in Canada. Not only did Dani vow to keep the company in Canada, but he also paired with the Polar Bear International (PBI) Organization in order to give back a portion of their every sale to all of the Canadian polar bears. After all, two thirds of the world’s polar bear population resides in Canada. However, that isn’t the only responsible move that Canada Goose has made. In the year of 2009, Canada Goose opened up two Canada Goose Resource Centres that provide free fabric, buttons, and zippers to Inuit tailors who craft clothing for their families and community.
Today, Canada Goose is still able to manufacture a premier winter jacket all in the country of Canada, while employing about 6% of Canada’s cut and sew labor industry. As a result of their flawless design, weather protection, incredible heat retention, their jackets are the preferred choice for everyone from New York sidewalk dwellers, dogsledders, and anyone else who will be undergoing any sort of freezing exposure; and I can confidently say that I am patiently (ehhh, at this point I’m actually far less than patient) awaiting State College’s first sub-freezing day so that I can bust out my Canada Goose jacket.