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Parks' Original clothing now on sale

Parks Canada’s clothing line, which has been in development since 2011, has finally been released and yes, it is made in Canada.

Parks Canada’s clothing line, which has been in development since 2011, has finally been released and yes, it is made in Canada.

The apparel collection debuted this week exclusively at select Hudson’s Bay locations and online on the company’s website.

Dubbed Parks Canada Original, the high-quality, casual apparel was designed to represent the spirit and legacy of the country’s greatest natural treasures – national parks.

Andrew Campbell, vice-president of visitor experience for the federal agency, said the clothing line’s origins stem back to Parks’ 125th anniversary several years ago.

“We had our employees and others wearing the Parks Canada logo around and we had a lot of visitors start to ask us and a lot of Canadians ask where to get that great beaver logo and merchandise with that on it,” Campbell said.

Trials in 2010-11 went so well the agency went out to tender for a merchandise partner, eventually choosing Cotton Candy, a Toronto-based clothing line that uses 100 per cent cotton and makes its clothes in Canada. Designer Roger Edwards was selected to bring the iconic brand to life as creative director for the clothing line.

“Canadians are fiercely proud of their heritage and Parks Canada Original provides them with an authentic, engaging way to champion that pride,” Edwards said in a press release. “This land is your brand, Canada. Forty million years in the making, and it’s never been more in fashion.”

In Banff, the clothing line is available for purchase at Hudson’s Bay. It’s also available at Bay kiosk locations at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and Vancouver International Airport. The clothes showcase a classic vintage design with the use of the original beaver logo first used on Parks Canada signs in the 1970s. For sale are T-shirts ($39), long-sleeve shirts ($55-$65), pullovers ($129), hoodies ($99-$129), a baseball cap ($30) and half-zip and full-zip cotton jackets.

“Hudson’s Bay Company is synonymous with Canadian heritage, and our customers have proven time and time again that their Canadian pride is important to them,” said Alison Coville, SVP Specialty Brands and Home, Hudson’s Bay Company. “We are thrilled that Parks Canada Original is working with Hudson’s Bay to expand their retail initiative as they, like us, are deeply entrenched in Canada’s history.”

Cotton Candy signed a five-year contract with the federal agency in 2012 and pays a royalty for every item purchased of eight per cent.

Campbell said revenue projections for the clothing line with that royalty, along with a line of clothing sold separately at Parks Canada locations, are in the neighbourhood of $600,000 to $800,000 annually.

If Parks Canada Original does well, he expects the Bay to carry the private brand line at more locations.

He said in addition to revenue, which will help the cash-strapped agency after significant budget cuts over the past couple of years, he hopes the clothing line will connect Canadians with each other and encourage visitation to national parks.

“From the other perspective, really our main goal is to have people be able to show their passion and love (for parks),” Campbell said.

Parks Canada manages 42 national parks, 167 national historic sites and four national marine conservation areas, which combined attract more than 20 millions visitors each year.

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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