Hbc Kicks Off Countdown to Beijing 2008 Olympic Games with Launch of Bold Team Canada Gear and $600,000 Donation to Athletes
– Canada’s first Eco-friendly athlete uniforms made with materials such as bamboo and organic cottont
May 1, 2008
Toronto, ON, April 30, 2008 – Hudson’s Bay Company today unveiled the highly anticipated clothing collection that Canadian athletes will wear at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The collection is eco-friendly and was designed with athletes’ input to ensure the Canadian team has ideal clothing to excel in Beijing’s hot summer temperatures. The replica wear is being launched in Bay and Zellers stores across Canada, as well as online at www.hbc.com.
The Company also announced donations of $300,000 to the Own the Podium 2010 initiative to benefit Canada’s winter sports system, and $300,000 to the Road to Excellence program to benefit Canada’s summer sport system. Both are part of the Canadian Olympic Foundation’s action plan to create world-class programs, policies and financing that will help to place Canada amongst the top nations at future Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“Hbc has a proud history of supporting Canadian athletes as they train and compete at the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Rob Johnston, President, Hbc. “It is with great pleasure that we once again show our pride by outfitting the Canadian Olympic team, as well as providing financial support, in their quest for gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.”
“The Canadian team is well known for its Olympic clothing and we are confident that the stylish and functional uniforms that Hbc has created for the team in Beijing will be worn with pride by athletes and sought after by the public,” said Chris Rudge, CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee. “I also want to recognize Hbc’s generous donation to the Own the Podium 2010 and Road to Excellence programs as well as their ongoing support of Canadian athletes.”
The latest Olympic collection is a highly-styled fusion of Canadian and Chinese symbolism. ‘Canada’ is proudly written in both English and Chinese and the maple leaf is used on select items. The primary colours for the collection are red and white, with further colour inspiration coming from the five elements of Chinese astrology: Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Metal. Chinese symbolism is used in the form of the lucky number eight, both as a numeral and an octagon.
Hbc’s Olympic design team worked with Canadian Olympic athletes from across the country to design the collection. Over 50 former and current summer Olympians participated in focus groups in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal and provided valuable feedback and suggestions that contributed to the goal of creating a team uniform package that exceeds the athletes’ fashion and functional needs. Many athletes were unprepared for the heat they experienced in Athens and asked that clothing be appropriate for the expected high temperatures in Beijing. In response, the clothing incorporates performance fabrics that provide UV protection, four way stretch, odor resistance, and wicking and cooling properties for ultimate comfort. The clothing is also eco-friendly, using materials such as bamboo, cotton blends, cacona and organic cotton. Most of the pieces will be available for sale as replica wear both in Bay and Zellers stores, online at www.hbc.com, at Canada House and the BC Pavilion during the Olympic Games in Beijing.
The collection includes special ‘team-only’ pieces that will not be for sale to the public. These include the opening ceremony outfit and the podium jacket. The designs for parade wear — the clothing worn in the Opening Ceremony — and the clothing designed for the medal podium will only be unveiled at the 2008 Olympic Games. Canada’s Olympic team members in Beijing will each receive 25 items, as part of the 2008 Team package, including leisure wear, jackets, pants and shorts, hoodies, t-shirts, shoes and luggage.
“I’m happy that Hbc took the time to consult with athletes on the design of the team uniforms and has created cool, eco-friendly outfits that will meet our needs in Beijing yet clearly identify us as Canadian,” said rhythmic gymnast Alexandra Orlando of Toronto, who has already qualified for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Hbc is the Official Clothing and Luggage Supplier to the Canadian Olympic team and the Official Department Store Partner and General Merchandise Retailer in Canada until 2012. The Hbc Foundation has also committed to raising $20 million dollars through 2012 to help fund our athletes, their training facilities and their national sports organizations. To date, the Company has already raised nearly $6 million toward its goal. Funds are raised on Canada Day at the Hbc Run for Canada in communities across the country and an annual charity golf tournament.
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) is a national, private, not-for-profit organization committed to sport excellence. It is responsible for all aspects of Canada’s involvement in the Olympic movement, including Canada’s participation in the Olympic and Pan American Games and a wide variety of programs that promote the Olympic movement in Canada through cultural and educational means. For more information, see the COC website: www.olympic.ca.
Hbc is Canada’s largest diversified general merchandise retailer, operating in department store (the Bay), mass merchandise (Zellers), specialty (Home Outfitters) and discount (Fields) formats. With more than 600 retail outlets and nearly 70,000 associates located in every province in Canada, Hbc provides Canadians with stylish, quality merchandise at great value, through retail banners focused on exceptional customer service. Hbc is a Canadian retail leader in corporate social responsibility, and the fifth annual Hbc CSR report can be found at www.hbc.com.
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