Tuesday, August 1, 2023

The Roots Canada Story: A Brief History

The Roots Canada Story: A Brief History

Roots Canada was founded in Toronto on August 15, 1973 by Michael Budman and Don Green. They decided to create a company with a Canadian feel based on a summer camp that they had attended as children in Ontario's Algonquin Park. The first item that they sold from their first store in Toronto was a shoe. It was commonly known as the Earth Shoe and officially called the Roots Negative Heel Shoe.

The company was successful right from that very first day when they sold seven pair of the shoe.  Intended as a part-time business, they were so successful that they opened more than thirty stores in the first year. Dan Ackroyd and Gilda Radner were there helping in the store from the very beginning. The venture was meant to be, according to a CBC video, "a celebration of what makes us Canadian" although the founders were American.

From CBC News, comes this fascinating 8-minute look at the story of Roots Canada. The 2014 video does a fine job of documenting the story but it is noteworthy that since then, the iconic Canadian company has been sold and is now a publicly held brand.


Not all of Roots merchandise is manufactured in Canada but Roots does demand that its merchandise be excellent.  It has a well-respected reputation to maintain and strives to uphold that reputation. Roots built this reputation in the past by creating extremely successful Olympic collections and merchandise for celebrities, concerts, cultural events and movies.

Roots created the Canadian Olympic Team's outfits from 1998 to 2004 and has also done so for Great Britain, the United States and Barbados. Remember the 1998 poor boy or newsboy-style hats worn by the Canadian Olympic team in 1998? Roots sold 500,000 of them that year and those Olympic pieces are still sought after today. 

The picture shown above is of the Roots' poorboy or beret-style hat from the Olympics in Nagano, Japan in 1998. The picture is used here with permission and currently available in the eBay store of Jav Treasures by clicking right here

If it is no longer available in Jav's store, you can click here to see the selection of Roots' Olympic-themed Poorboy hats that are available now.


Roots products are made in Canada, the United States, South Asia, Asia and South America only using reputable companies and suppliers who adhere to the Roots Code of Conduct. Factories must provide working conditions meeting health, safety and labor standards; respect for all workers, not use child or forced labor, minimize the impact on the environment and avoid too much packaging in shipping, have inspections by independent auditors and not have any discrimination based on gender, race, nationality and religion.


Roots makes wonderful clothing and fabulous leather products. They now sell a wonderful range of items including but not limited to genuine leather shoes, jackets, bags, belts and luggage; sports and yoga wear including t-shirts and sweatshirts for men, women and children; watches; and home items that have included furniture, linen, towels and accessories.

I do not mind paying a little more for a quality Canadian style that lasts. How about you?

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on Review This Reviews!


Roots Canada on Wikipedia
This link takes you to a brief history on Wikipedia of the organization that is Roots Canada Ltd.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. It does sound like a wonderful company with high ideals and yes, I am definitely willing to pay more for something that is better made and will last longer. This is a very interesting look at ingenious businessmen and what works.

    1. Our discussion has me wanting to get my hands on and read the book about the company. The Negative Heel Shoe went viral before, I think, viral was even a word.

  2. I always admire (and love hearing about) companies who have a good code of conduct in all their dealings. And it is especially satisfying when said company produces excellent products. Thanks so much for this look into the story behind Roots Canada.

  3. I remember the original Roots negative heel shoes (showing my age, lol)! Such an interesting history of an admirable and successful company. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Roots merchandise has such an original and very exceptional presence in the fashion industry. Great clothes and accessories that can't be beat! Great looking and affordable too! I love the Roots story! Thanks Brenda!

  5. I appreciate their company's code of conduct. I know it's difficult to keep costs down these days, but aiming to be a morally responsible business, I believe, is the way of the future and the ones who will gain the best reviews - like this review. We have several Roots products in our home; I love their products - we have those mittens that were high in demand too!


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