Wednesday, August 13, 2014


By Lynda Castonguay

Our Home and Native Land
Parks Canada Original Preview

Photos courtesy of Parks Canada Original and Lynda Castonguay

TORONTO - By a Canadian, for Canadians, towards Canadians. That’s about the only allowed route to take when creating a clothing collection for Parks Canada. The federal agency in charge of protecting and preserving our beautiful national sites is seeking to raise its awareness as well as make a connection between Canada and Canadians. For this creative endeavour, they enlisted Cotton Candy Inc. First order of business: find a creative lead. The perfect match in Cotton Candy’s eyes, and really, the perfect match period, was and is Roger Edwards

When Parks Canada celebrated a milestone - I blame the signature bourbon drink of the evening as the reason for why I can’t remember which anniversary - Parks Canada dressed their employees in exclusive Parks Canada gear. Well, what do you know, Parks Canada goers took a liking to the apparel and began opining their affinity. When demand dominated a supply that had yet to be created, Parks Canada Original was soon the answer.

Photo by Lynda Castonguay

Described as “The Olympics” of his career, Roger Edwards created with the intention of “representing the spirit and legacy of this country’s greatest natural treasures”. That means something different to everyone but I think we can all agree on the simplistic beauty of our country and just how powerful and mood changing our landscapes can be. Nestled among rugged wood, distressed walls, rustic furniture, moose antlers and vintage snow shoes at The Hudson Kitchen on Dundas Street West was Mr. Edwards’ interpretation of what this spirit is.

In red, white, navy and black, the inaugural collection was made up of short and long sleeve shirts, half and full zip sweaters and hooded sweatshirts with images of the vintage Parks Canada beaver logo and something that would make my hunter father proud, a moose. Ball caps with a little bit of a distressed feel topped off the looks. The whole thing was characteristically Canadian with quiet comfort and familiar humility.

Photo by Lynda Castonguay

The collection is sold exclusively at Hudson’s Bay and is made of 100% cotton and almost entirely in Canada - the caps are made abroad. Parks Canada Original is also sharing 8% of the wholesale price of each item with Parks Canada programs and places. 

I came straight to this preview from a short vacation in northern Ontario where I was cozied and cushioned by the lake, intoxicated by the fresh air, stood in adoration of the hundred year old trees and in awe of a full night’s sky of stars. Mr. Edwards, a lover of all things aforementioned, heard me say this, looked to the collection, then to me, and said quite simply “So, you get it then?”

Yes, Mr. Edwards, I get it.

Photos courtesy of Parks Canada Original (Click to enlarge)

Photos courtesy of Parks Canada Original

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