Adventure Harder With These 10 Eco-Friendly Canadian Companies
Earth Day, every day.
by : Aman Dosanj- Apr 6th, 2022
Janalla Photography (Anupaya, MINI TIPI)
Supporting local is not what I do but who I am. All of that started with Slow Food, which is about good, clean, and fair food for everyone; now, after fourteen years of practice, those principles seep into everything I do—and how I choose to adventure.
From a cozy Indigenous-crafted blanket steeped in tradition, a canoe paddle that doubles up as an art installation and a slick 100% Canadian-made fedora to a rescue salve from one of the Okanagan Valley’s pioneering farming families and a backpack made from thirty-one plastic bottles, these companies put sustainability first. It’s not an option but a new standard, an everyday commitment that goes well beyond Earth Day. Check out the ten planet-conscious items we’re into right now.
Onquata Native Paddles are so stunning that you will have trouble deciding. For the mother-daughter duo of Lise and Lara (Huronne-Wendat Nation), this artisanal, ancestral project was sparked by their love of nature and the outdoors. From the sourcing and processing of wood (aspen) to carving and painting, each aspect of production takes place in Quebec. Today, Onquata’s paddles symbolize “the feeling of resilience, advancement and positivism,” says Lara Siouï. Currently, with an all-female, all-First Nations team of skilled craftswomen, this family business takes pride in promoting a sense of community in Wendake, Quebec—preserving customs and traditions for generations to come.
Price: from $130
When your lifestyle and homeware collections revolve around thoughtful living—both indoors and out—Anupaya‘s responsibility looks after wild spaces. Every time we purchase one of their sustainably made, ethically sourced goods, their one pound promise removes a pound of waste from the environment. Through hosted cleanups, that’s roughly 60,000 pounds since their journey began in 2018. Using old-school millinery techniques and (cruelty-free) 100 percent American wool, their super chic Vagabond and Supertramp fedoras are made by hand in Montreal to lessen the carbon footprint as we adventure in style.
Abeego’s reusable beeswax wraps are naturally chemical-free and water-resistant too. Made with beeswax from the prairies, jojoba oil, tree resin, hemp and organic cotton cloth, “I didn’t feel good about wasting any of them,” says founder Toni Desrosiers. Running a nearly zero waste B-Corp certified facility, Abeego went one step further—giving leftover trimmings a new shred of life as Firestarters. Cooking over fire is a big part of my adventures. Finding enough kindling—and the dry kind—can be tricky, so their Firestarters have been my camp kit staple for years. Best of all, they burn hot but slowly.
Every time you purchase an item, tentree plants…ten trees. As the business sits on transparency, its apparel and accessories are designed in Canada and ethically manufactured globally. The Mobius 35-litre Backpack is ruggedly enough for the outdoors while being kind to Mother Earth. REPREVE® technology means plastic bottles are diverted from the landfill, then spun into fabrics for its exterior and lining. Excess algae from natural water sources are harvested and turned into foam padding; zippers, trims and buckets are up-cycled using post-industrial waste. Adventure on.
Founded by ethnobotanist Leigh Joseph (Skwxwú7mesh First Nation), Skwálwen Botanicals is a love letter to the land. Celebrating Indigenous knowledge that runs thousands of years deep, their range of wellness and skincare products are gentle on your skin—and the earth. “I love this blend of plant ingredients,” says Joseph about the Nékwentsut Rose+Nettle+Mint Tea. “The mint is refreshing and calming for digestion; the rosehip is rich in vitamin C; and the nettle has iron, anti-inflammatory properties and aids in enhancing access to the vitamin C from the rosehips.” To tread even lighter on the wild plant population, Skwálwen partners with organic farms and native plant nurseries for much-needed balance.
Pela created the world’s first compostable phone case made with 100 percent Saskatchewan flax (yes, as in the seed). When you compare them to the usual plastic mobile accessory suspects, we’re talking 30 percent fewer carbon emissions, 34 percent less water usage and a whopping 80 percent less waste during production. Beyond that, the company is Certified B-Corp, Climate Neutral Certified and a member of 1% for the Planet. The case breaks down—without harmful microplastics—in under a year to live happily ever after. (My case has even stood up to the drop test.)
Snacks are everything to me—and for Scout Canning. The company’s mission is to become the most trusted seafood brand in North America. From sea to table: their canned seafood is wild (Atlantic lobster, Alaskan pink salmon, and Pacific Albacore tuna) or responsibly farmed (organic PEI mussels, Ontario rainbow trout), traceable and sustainable for year-round eats. Guided by 1% for the Planet and The Marine Stewardship Council (with B-Corp pending), their goal is to reduce waste (including by-catch) and protect fragile waterways. Award-winning chef Charlotte Langley makes sure everything is shelf (and backpack) stable—and delicious too.
Price: from $30 (3-pack)
Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm
Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm is a family-owned and operated business in Kelowna, British Columbia. Their small-batch Rescue Salve is here to nourish hardworking hands and feet—or if you’re a wee bit congested. Lavender and thyme from their vertically integrated farm are hand-harvested and distilled into essential oils, then combined with unrefined Fairtrade, organic shea nut butter. The packaging, developed by Sulapac in Finland, is made with FSC-approved wood chips and plant-based polymers to make it 100 percent biodegradable—decomposing within 2-3 months. $1 from every online order also goes to the Tree Canada National Greening Program.
“Clothing is an investment,” says ecologyst co-founder/CEO Rene Gauthier. Instead of the conventional fashion model, ecologyst wants us to buy fewer, slower, and better. That means shifting production locally, eliminating plastics and petroleum in clothing, and thinking about the long game (including offering lifetime repairs on garments). Their cozy Merino/Cashmere Toque mixes crazy soft merino wool with recycled cashmere: “it’s been re-spun from garments and off-cuts that would otherwise have ended up as waste,” explains Gauthier. Rooted in British Columbia, the company regularly uses its platforms to advocate against pipelines and old-growth clear-cutting (as they should).
Founded in 2016 by Trisha Pitura (Nipissing First Nation) and Mélanie Bernard, MINI TIPI bridges cultures one blanket at a time. Sourcing recycled wool and polyester fabrics from Italy (that feels like a cloud), each adventure-ready blanket is designed, cut, and sewn in Quebec. Collaborating with Cree artist Pat Bruderer, otherwise known as Halfmoon Woman, their spring Birch Bark release takes inspiration from the ancient Indigenous art form of birch bark biting—and will be available for purchase on April 14. Traditionally, the pattern is bitten into a thin layer of bark from the birch tree using nothing but the teeth (as well as a hefty dose of visualization). Now translating that into textiles, each blanket is seriously unique.
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