A year ago, our cross country adventure with Canada’s iconic retailer – Hudson’s Bay – came to an end.
The concept of the Grand Portage was born out of the goal of giving the ultimate gift for our country’s birthday, inspired and invigorated by the wonders of Canada’s backyard.
Using the Hudson’s Bay iconic striped canoe as a symbol of Canadian pride and adventure, a team of three adventurers set off on June 22, 2017, traveling West to East from Victoria, British Columbia to New Victoria, Nova Scotia. A modern-day Portage, 66 days from start to finish. During that time, the team touched 2 oceans, travelled more than 14,000 kilometers, made over 278,000 paddle strokes, and delivered thousands of surprise and delight experiences, big and small.
Using an extensive community outreach approach, facilitated through community networks and partnerships, the team participated in 52 organized paddling events that featured over a dozen paddling clubs, 350+ adventurers, and 30+ influencers including Canadian Olympians, TCT Champions, fashion influencers, and outdoor enthusiasts. To maximize visibility at the community level, the team participated in the City of Kelowna’s Canada Day parade, visited 150+ communities across the country, and led urban portages in densely populated city centres to interact with as many Canadians as possible and raise awareness for the program.
But what exactly was our gift to Canada?
In partnership with Trans Canada Trail, the national steward of the Great Trail, Hudson’s Bay created a great Canadian legacy, that will be enjoyed for generations to come. A national fundraising program that raised $1,000,000, designed to help the Trans Canada Trail connect the remaining 2,200 kilometres across this country. A connection that was a 25 year old goal in the making. The fundraising program included the Grand Portage retail signature collection, available at Cadillac Fairview malls across the country, online, and through the pop-up retail experience. The collection was an instant hit, generating over $3,000,000+ in total sales across the country. Sales from the signature collection were critical to Hudson’s Bay’s overall fundraising efforts and allowed it to achieve its fundraising goal.
Results from the program were so strong that Hudson’s Bay has decided to continue on with the program in 2018, relaunching the Grand Portage brand as a signature collection of outdoor lifestyle clothing and accessories.
This year, the Hudson’s Bay Grand Portage took home Gold at the 2019 Sponsorship Marketing Awards for Campaign Celebrating Canada 150, and an Award of Distinction for Best New Initiative. The campaign has also recently been shortlisted as a nominee for the 2019 Strategy Awards.
So with the official end of summer just around the corner, make sure to take a page from the Grand Portage’s story, by getting outside and enjoying Canada’s backyard. Trust us, you’ll be amazed.