I was going to choose “hockey” today – but that’s just so obvious, not to mention Canada’s official sport is actually Lacrosse!! So after some deliberation, I decided it would be Hudson Bay, a large body of saltwater in the north and also an overpriced Canadian department store!
Did you know that Hudson Bay is the second largest bay in the world? Despite being more than 1.2 million square kilometres, it is actually rather shallow, with an average depth of about 330 feet.
Hudson Bay was discovered by explorers in the early 1600’s and named after Sir Henry Hudson who, with his ship Discovery, mapped much of the eastern coast of the bay before running into some trouble. The ship was stuck in ice for most of the winter, but the crew managed to survive until spring. At that point, Sir Hudson wanted to continue exploring, but the crew would have none of it, calling a mutiny and leaving Hudson and a few others to fend for themselves on a dory while they returned to England.
Later, other explorers in the area began trading with locals for pelt and building a British monopoly on the fur trade in the area and creating The Hudson’s Bay Company, founded in England and eventually evolved into a Canadian department store that still exists today and is recognizable by its traditional green, red, yellow and blue stripes that appear on blankets, clothing and other items that they sell.
If you grew up in Canada, you grew up with an HBC Point Blanket in your house. Guaranteed. And today, they run a ridiculous $300-500 a piece!
The Hudson’s Bay Company has been a proud Canadian company and seems to attempt to hang on to our roots as much as possible, being the official outfitter for the Canadian Olympic Team for nine Olympic games and contracted to continue through to 2020.
Although the Hudson’s Bay Company now has American ownership – which happens a lot to Canadian companies to keep them afloat (ahem, Tim Hortons), it remains an iconic symbol of Canada and our roots in the north through trade. In Canada, we refer to the store as just “The Bay”, but everyone knows what it is and how long it’s been around.