Designed for the Canadian Winter

January 28, 2008 ⋅ 4 Comments »

Over at Pie Palace, the esteemed Erigami Scholey-Fuller asks why we don’t have more things designed for the realities of the Canadian climate:

Winter plays a huge part of our identity. Canadians snowshow, snowboard, ski, skate, and skidoo. We invented hockey. We dominate the sport of curling. We essentially invented the modern ski resort. In the temperate south of the country, we endure subzero temperatures five to six months of the year.

But our consumer goods, our clothing styles, architectural styles, and fetish objects are designed elsewhere. We use stuff designed in climates where zero is considered cold, and a light dusting of snow will close a city.

Skaters on the Rideau Canal, Ottawa

I can think of a few exceptions, like the ubiquitous Uggs and fur-hooded parkas, but for the most part, he’s right. On the other hand, when have electronics, fashion, and architecture ever emphasized practicality first? Design in these disciplines tends to favour style over substance.

What do you guys think? Do we need more products designed for the Canadian realities? Or will we be prying your iPod Touch out of your cold, frost-bitten fingers?

If you’re interested in Canadian design, you should take a look at The Canadian Design Resource, which I’ve been enjoying immensely over the past few months. It features a daily post on a diverse mixture of things designed in Canada.

Photo of the Rideau Canal by Flickr user Robbie1


  1. Francis Bogsanyi - January 28, 2008:

    AFAIK Uggs originated in Australia - a byproduct of our sheep fetish.

  2. Patrick - January 29, 2008:

    Right. I knew Uggs weren't Canadian, I just meant that they are a popular product that is actually suited to the climate (despite how ugly they are, IMO).

  3. Mike Lin - April 15, 2008:

    Have you seen these crazy iPod gloves designed in Montreal?

    The index fingertip is extra thin for controlling gadgets, and you can pop your thumb out to control your phone without taking the glove off. How's that for Canadian design? I received a pair for Christmas. The thumb thing is pretty handy for walking and texting/talking. OTOH my index fingertip was admittedly chilly.

    I'm a friend of MikeF btw.

  4. Patrick - April 15, 2008:

    Ha, hadn't seen those before! Super annoying web site, but a cool product.