Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic uniforms for the Winter Games in Pyeongchang South Korea, complete with colour blocks of red and white, plus black, were unveiled at Toronto’s Eaton Centre on Tuesday morning.
Fifteen athletes walked the runway as Hudson’s Bay Company revealed the Team Canada uniforms athletes will wear at the opening and closing ceremonies in South Korea.
“Everybody puts on that one jacket before the opening ceremonies, I think that’s when it all becomes real,” said ski jumper Taylor Henrich. “You’re here as a team … and I feel confident when I put it on, I’m like ‘Wow, this is so cool. So cool.”‘
The opening ceremony parka falls to the mid-thigh and features “Canada” emblazoned across the chest in bold white lettering. On the back is a large white Maple Leaf. Athletes will march in the closing ceremonies at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium in red and black softshell jackets.
“Being able to walk into opening ceremonies with the whole team, all wearing those red jackets, it was a special moment,” long-track speedskater Gilmore Junio said about the 2014 Sochi Olympics. “Definitely felt unified as Team Canada, and I think that really gave us a lot of momentum going into the Olympics.”
“Being in all this Canadian gear really brings the team together,” Canadian ski cross racer Marielle Thompson told CBC Sports. “To see many different sports today and seeing everyone in the uniforms … it’s a really nice feeling to be part of the team.”
The Team Canada collection also includes buffalo check shirts, tuques and ball caps.
“I haven’t had a chance to wear the true winter clothes,” Thompson added, “but the guys who are wearing them said they’re really warm.
“[The jackets] look really great, super practical and stylish at the same time. Really authentic. I can see use wearing that in day-to-day life so hopefully that represents Canada well into the [opening and closing] ceremonies.”
Brian McKeever, who will make his fifth Olympic appearance in Pyeongchang, said receiving his Canadian team gear never gets old.
“It’s when you know you’re getting close to go time,” said McKeever, a 10-time Paralympic gold medallist. “You roll into the village and you show up in your dorm room, and the atmosphere is building, and then you unzip that [Team Canada] package and there it is, and it’s stuff that brings us together as a team and as a nation.”
HBC has outfitted Canada’s winter athletes for the Olympics since 2006, as well as at various occasions throughout the history of the Winter Games dating back to 1936.
Outfits for Canadians who reach the medal podium in Pyeongchang feature a puffy red coat.
Pyeongchang features the ninth edition of the red mittens have become symbols of Canadian Olympic pride, said HBC president Alison Coville.
“It doesn’t matter where I am, whether I’m out west or I’m in Ottawa, or in our own streets of Toronto, I still get a little warm and fuzzy when I see how many people are out there on the streets wearing those mittens,” she said.
Mitten sales have contributed more than $ 30 million to the Canadian Olympic Foundation. The money raised helps provide access to coaching, equipment, sport medicine, nutrition and other high-performance resources. Mittens retail for $ 15, with $ 3.90 going to the Canadian Olympic Foundation.
The Winter Games open Feb. 9 in Hoenggye Olympic Park, while the Paralympics begin March 9.