Canada Goose: Behind the scenes of the iconic outerwear brand

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We visited a Toronto factory to see how Canada Goose jackets are made

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The label is one of my favorite things about Canada Goose. And not because I’m happy with the label, but because the brand delicately puts 10 maple leaves and the word “Canada” on arms around the world.

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Canada Goose was founded by Sam Tick in the 1950s. He immigrated to Toronto from Poland and established the outerwear company as Metro Sportswear Ltd.

Tick’s son-in-law, David Reiss, joined the company in the 70s and brought with him the idea of ​​the volume-based down filling machine. Reiss renamed the company to Snow Goose, which eventually became Canada Goose.

Dani Reiss, son of David Reiss and grandson of Tick, took over the company as CEO in 2001, pledging to continue manufacturing the jacket in Canada.

Over the years, Canada Goose has not only made some of the most iconic jackets, like the Arctic Proof Jacket. Expedition Parka – but also improved winter fashion for those who just like to explore the city.

The brand has been at the center of controversy over its use of fur but has vowed to be completely without fur by This year.

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With so much history in Canada and Toronto, I wanted to see how the global brand makes their jackets in my very city. Canada Goose has eight owned and operated facilities in Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg. I visited the original head office in Toronto.

First impressions

The Canada Goose building is so much bigger than I expected. Operations are important and it’s clear that Canada Goose wants the luxury experience to start right from production.

When I first entered the production area of ​​the building, I was impressed with my own DIY skills. Canada Goose employs 20% of all sewing machine operators in the country. The company welcomes qualified seamstresses but also offers training programs for those who are not.

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If you’re wearing a new Expedition parka, you’re wearing a coat made by people who have been making Canada Goose jackets for about 30 to 40 years.

Canada Goose Jacket Materials
Canada Goose Jacket Materials Photo of Canada Goose

The assembly line

Each production line is responsible for making one type of jacket, starting from the lining to the outermost layer. Each line can make about 240-300 jackets per day.

The funniest part of the manufacturing process is when people smash the freshly padded diapers with badminton rackets. The factory manager let me sew a Canada Goose logo onto a piece of fabric (on a very automated machine), but I think it would have been more fun to try badminton swatting.

There is a large Portuguese presence in the production area. Although there are many international flags around the factory, the Portuguese flag is the most common.

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Canada Goose Toronto Factory
Canada Goose Toronto Factory Photo of Canada Goose

The bottom

As of November 2021, all Canadian goose down is certified by the Responsible down standard (RDS). The RDS oversees the entire procurement process, which includes animal welfare.

Canada Goose uses natural down because you get the most warmth for the least weight. Natural down is reusable, durable and biodegradable. Canada Goose uses only down which is a by-product of the poultry industry.

This is where the confusing world of bulking power comes in. The easiest way to describe fill power is to talk about the “softness” of a down product. The purpose of fill power is to trap air and provide insulation.

Before down finds its way into Canada Goose jackets, it is tossed and returned in a machine that appears to belong to Build-a-Bear.

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Canada Goose Toronto Factory
Canada Goose Toronto Factory Photo of Canada Goose

Favorite parts of the tour

It’s nice to see Portuguese pride being celebrated throughout the factory. When I think of “Canada Goose”, I immediately associate it with Canadian pride. But the jackets, although made in Canada, are actually made by people who have come here from many places, including Portugal.

Mr. Cut-A-Lot. There’s a machine at the back of the factory called Sir Cut-A-Lot. Before a jacket pattern is approved for full production, designers work on a small run of the pattern. The team uses Sir Cut-A-Lot to cut designs for new models.

Badminton rackets. If it is not broke, do not fix it. I’m sure there could be a more technical or automated way of fluffing during the manufacturing process, but badminton rackets do work. The company has been making jackets since the 1950s and has the process to prove it. Each jacket has a code on a tag that indicates where it was made and by whom. Canada Goose monitors quality to ensure they produce durable, well-made coats that can safely take adventurers to temperatures of -30°C and below.

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Facts about the brand’s most iconic jacket: Snow Mantra Parka

  • Snow Mantra parka is composed of 247 parts
  • The jacket is animated by 98 hands
  • The parka has been tested by people who work and live in the coldest regions of our planet
  • The Snow Mantra Parka has seen many iterations through collaborations with designers such as Jun.J and Angel Chen
  • The jacket is known as one of the warmest in the world
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