Celebrate Canada Day With Classic Hudson’s Bay Stripes

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It’s as iconic an image as the Canadian flag.

The Hudson’s Bay Company Point Blanket—those cozy, creamy blankets with the bold, colourful stripes—are treasured by Canadians and coveted around the world. The famous stripes are so popular, the retailer has practically “blanketed” a variety of items with the bold colourful motif.

In honour of Canada Day—and one of the most recognizable Canadian style items—here are a few tidbits about the famous stripe blanket that you might not have known, and a few items that now feature the iconic stripes.

  • Hudson’s Bay Company, one of Canada’s oldest retailers, first introduced the point blanket in 1780 as part of the fur trade. While blankets were being traded since the late 1600 by traders from England with natives for fur—beaver pelts in particular being in-demand since gentleman’s top hats were made of beaver—it wasn’t until 1780 that the blankets were being shipped on a regular basis. By 1860, standardized sized and colours were established.
  • The point system—which ranges from 1 to 6—refers to the size of the finished blanket with a 1 point blanket being 2′ 8″W by 8’L.  The blankets are woven 50% larger and through a manufacturing process reduces them to avoid further shrinkage once they are being used.
  • Using a blend of wool from Britain and New Zealand, the blankets are to this day, still manufactured in an old mill in the UK. The wool is dyed and air and sun dried before it is spun. One of the many features that made the blankets popular with the natives were they were actually warm even when wet. And the white blankets were perfect camouflage in the winter.
  • The popular white blanket with stripes of red, yellow, green and indigo were introduced around 1800.
  • Hudson’s Bay also sold point blankets that were recut into coats. But this outerwear fashion has its origins from war. It is said that Captain Charles Roberts, who was in charge of a fort near Sault Ste. Marie in 1811, unable to get winter coats for his troops had First Nations women fashion coats out of the blankets. As the war of 1812 started, the Captain ordered more blankets to be fashioned into coats for the upcoming winter and the short double breasted style known as the Mackinaw was born.
  • The colourful striped blankets have become a classic and a valuable part of HBC heritage and the retailer now design over 150 items and collaborate with other heritage brands that feature the colourful stripes on a variety of products at various price points.


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