The Grand Portage: A Story and Adventure for Canada

Peter Gardner web101 Peter Gardner, Director of Insights & Strategy

I love stories. I always have. I’m an absolute sucker for a Dr. Seuss classic with an eloquent hidden meaning, or a brand finding the perfect way to tell us what they stand for. That’s why I’m so excited and proud of our client Hudson’s Bay for launching the Grand Portage Program, a national cause marketing program that will raise funds to help the Trans Canada Trail connect the remaining 2,200KMs of The Great Trail in honour of Canada’s 150th.

The program itself is comprehensive and the goals are lofty. It all started with a vision of Connecting Canada Through Adventure, and we found inspiration early on in Hudson’s Bay’s Country of Adventurers campaign. The net result of that early Storybuilding work is a program that now  includes a line of signature merchandise that  hits shelves today (bias alert: the collection is amazing and is really a one-stop-shop for all of your Canada 150 needs in my opinion at least), a ten market mall Celebration Tour in partnership with Cadillac Fairview, an authentic cross-country Portage, and a national, multi-channel marketing campaign that includes print, digital, social, cross-promotion, and influencer marketing among others.

On a brand level, we worked with Hudson’s Bay to build a narrative and concept around the theme of adventure with heritage, pride, and cause at its core. From the beginning we set out to create something that would not only tie back to Hudson’s Bay’s roots and their role in helping to discover and shape the Canada we know and love today, but would also allow them to give back to our country – a birthday present  worthy of Canada’s 150th if you will. To get beyond storytelling, we also wanted to be sure to give Canadians an opportunity to experience the story and become an active participant in authoring it. To do that, we are launching a national mall Celebration Tour and cross-country Portage on June 22, 2017. The Celebration Tour will bring the story to life at ten Cadillac Fairview locations across the country, featuring popup retail, digital trail experiences and social photo opportunities.  Orienteering and trail hunts for kids, as well as appearances from Hudson’s Bay ambassadors and Trans Canada Trail’s Trail Champions will also be a part of the Tour. The Portage, which features the iconic Hudson’s Bay striped canoe, will travel over 8,500 KMs+, ultimately arriving in Ottawa on August 26, 2017 to celebrate the complete connection of The Great Trail. Stay tuned for when we’re in a town or city near you!

This is one epic adventure and it’s just getting started. See you on the Trail!





Hudson’s Bay to raise funds in support of Trans Canada Trail to connect The Great Trail

Toronto, ON – (March 2, 2017) – Today, Canada’s iconic retailer – Hudson’s Bay – announced a commitment to connect Trans Canada Trail’s Great Trail in celebration of Canada’s 150th Birthday through its Grand Portage fundraising program. The Great Trail, which is the longest recreational trail in the world, will finally connect Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast, leaving a great Canadian legacy to be enjoyed for generations to come.

Hudson’s Bay’s Grand Portage program is both a fundraising initiative and a call to action to Canadians across the country to explore and show their love for Canada.  The multi-faceted program includes a collection of commemorative fundraising merchandise set to launch in March 2017, as well as a journey that will see a team of adventurers portage across the country from June to August 2017.