Song about Torontonians' dismal obsession with Canada Goose parkas

Torontonians are actually pretty well-dressed, but not in winter. In winter, everyone wears awful, identical Canada Goose parkas. This has made John R. so mentally distressed that he's actually made a rap video about the dismal state of affairs, with a video illustrating the problem:

Everyone in T-Dot wears the same damn coat
Is it cheap? Nope!
800 bucks, it’s Canuck
Goose Goose Goose Goose Goose Goose Duck
It’s a shopping spree
on the TTC
newscasters on TV
Why you asking me
if this coat was free?
I need it for extreme conditions in my SUV
Heat only goes to 3
This setting takes forever to warm my knees.

Everyone in Toronto Wears the Same Damn Coat


  1. It’s not even cold downtown near the lake.  Go 25 miles out for some good subarctic prairie breezes. 

    BTW, the flowers are blooming where I am. Suckers!

      1. Fahrenheit, I presume? I once suffered through 50 degrees in Turkey, and I can’t imagine temps getting any higher than that.

        1. I, on the other hand, am desperate to escape. Living here long-term is like being mummified without dying first.

          1.  Well, living in Paris long-term is like being made into an insta-meal : first you’re very slowly poached/soaked, then deep-freezed, and finally overheated by microwave before being served. At least, mummies get to live longer.

            Perhaps we could switch jobs. Mine is soul-crushing (the day-job at least), but it’s located in a very cool neighborhood.

  2. Not *everyone* wears them, and even so, it’s great that people are paying $800 for a Made in Canada Canada Goose parka rather than $500 for a Made in China North Face parka. Also they’re not awful, just crude and utilitarian (by modern, hyper-designed laser-cut Arc’teryx/Patagonia standards) which should make their popularity something to praise, not scorn.

    1.  I was just about to compare this to the college-student North Face craze. I found the video amusing, but know little about the coats.

    2. I do think it’s interesting that a company that’s been around for decades making – as you say – crude and utilitarian coats can all of a sudden become hip, with sales going through the roof for pretty much the same product as they’ve always made. It is a testament to the company that it’s still family run and made in Canada.  Lots and lots of people would have outsourced manufacturing to Bangladesh and sold the company to Nike by now, because they could make 3.8% more return on their capital investment.  

      This is an interesting profile of the company and the guy running it:

      One of the very reasonable complaints leveled against the company though is that they use fur taken from fox’s caught in leg-hold traps, which is cruel and inhumane.

      Here’s an unnecessarily inflammatory picture of that:

      1. So they use coyote for the fur, and that’s a pic of a coyote not a fox. As someone who has lived on Baffin Island, I can tell you that the fur on the collar is absolutely necessary. Synthetic is not adequate protection. People who use these in TO do not need the fur, it’s an affectation. What’s really annoying is that these people have caused supply issues and people in the North sometimes can’t get them, which is an issue  because having a good coat is literally life or death. 

        1. Well, fair enough.  I did say that it was unnecessarily inflammatory. It’s just now shown to be slightly inaccurate too.

          Although they did make a Drake special edition coat that uses Arctic fox fur.  Not that that’s a picture of an Arctic Fox either, but oh well.

          Anyway, no, Toronto people don’t need it. So neither do 99% of the people who do wear those coats.  Also, the process to get them has been called unnecessarily cruel. I guess you can dispute the ‘unnecessarily’ term, but not the ‘cruel’ part.

          This is a biased but interesting counterpoint to Canada Goose’s fur use policy.  Good read, if a bit long.


          1. I’d have a lot more sympathy for the anti-leghold position if they proposed an alternate source of fur. Since they don’t, I just dismiss it as PETA nonsense.

      2. I do think it’s interesting that a company that’s been around for decades making – as you say – crude and utilitarian coats can all of a sudden become hip, with sales going through the roof for pretty much the same product as they’ve always made.

         Tell that to Pabst.

    3. I have one of ’em, plus the pants.

      I like to point out to friends all the cool features like: “Look, there’s a pocket with a clear face for ID, so they’ll know where to send the body when they pull it out of the snow bank.”

      Canada Goose parkas are, it must be said, very, very warm.  Where I live now, it doesn’t get cold enough to be able to wear my parka – the temperature only manages to drops to about -25degC.  Not quite cold enough.

      In Montreal, everyone wears Kanuk.  Of course, being Montreal, Kanuks are a lot more stylish.

  3. Foobar: It’s what you wear for three months of the year in Toronto instead of carrying an umbrella for eight months of the year or wearing a jacket for the other four months of the year during Vancouver’s so-called summer (yes, I am bitter that I can’t ever get back the year I unwillingly spent in Vancouver). 

    Torontonians have come a long way. They’re arguably the best dressed in North America these days. Though they’re still North Americans, so  there’s no comparison with Soho, or Chelsea, or even Peckham…

    1. Most Vancouverites don’t bother with umbrellas, we just wear hoods. Why would you need a coat in 20 degree weather?

      1. You need a jacket in the evening in Vancouver in the summer because it’s so cool. You can’t sit outside at a patio without a jacket on. Or they have heaters for the outdoor patios. In summer.

        1. No you don’t. You can’t comfortably sit outside in Toronto at all, because it’s either too hot or too cold almost all the time.

          1. It’s hot in summer in Toronto because summer is hot. You don’t have to wear a jacket in the summer in Toronto because it’s hot. Hot in summer is good. If you’re overheating when you’re sitting down, then the problem isn’t Toronto…it’s you.

            You can’t sit comfortably outside in Vancouver because it’s either cold and raining for eight months of the year, or it’s just cool the other four months. 20 degrees for an average high in July is not hot. It’s cool. This is why people in Vancouver wear flannel to play volleyball on the beach.

          2. No it isn’t. 20 degrees is comfortable. 25 is annoying, and over 30 for any extended time just not on.

            Not to mention letting the snow off the mountains.

  4. I’m not Canadian, no longer a Torontonian, and I’ve never owned one, but those are darn good jackets. A good jacket is worth it’s weight in gold in a Canadian winter.  If I could have afforded one, I would have bought one.  I find a good winter parka (even at that cost) to be a heck of a lot more reasonable than 99% of the absolutely ridiculous coffee related gadgets BoingBoing fawns over.

  5. They issue Canada Goose parkas to participants in the US Antarctic Program.  I was lucky enough to serve a 6 month contract there from August ’09 to Feb. 2010.  I have to say, those coats are great.  Very warm and effective.  Heavy and somewhat uncomfortable, certainly.  The other piece of top-notch Extreme Cold Weather gear was the Army surplus insulated “bunny boots.”  My toes never got cold wearing them, even after hours outdoors.

  6. This stuff is actually big in NYC as well. Saw some schmuck on the subway wearing one with slightly rolled up khakis & boat shoes sans socks. Boat shoes sans socks & $800 “working class” gear.

  7. I’m an American expat living in Montreal, and I see folks everywhere here wearing Canada Goose in the winter.  I guess it’s common across Canada?

    As for my own choice in winter gear, I’ve tried many coats and have found nothing beats L.L. Bean’s Baxter State Parka in terms of price/performance.

  8. Meanwhile in Edmonton, which actually gets cold weather, no one seems to own a functional Winter coat.  They have some little black nylon jacket, very thin gloves, and earmuffs – barely adequate for the half-block dash from the parking lot to the office.

    If I grab my knee-length wool coat, enormous mittens, wool scarf and thick toque, and suggest we go for a walk to get some fresh air at lunch, most folks will look at me like I’ve just suggested we pop in to the bloodletters for an invigorating leeching.

    1.  My wife responds about like your end comment when I suggest we go out and play in the snow, or even stand in the doorway and *look* at the (fairly rare in Seattle) snow.

  9. Can’t seem to share this. Everytime I click on the share button the share window stays behind the video overlay. Anyone else have this occur?

    1. Or they mistake their steeplechase viewing outfits for actual outdoors clothes.  I saw one family all Abercrombie & Fitch (or whatever is two notches above that) confidently carrying their rental raft down to a class 3+ river, wearing hiking boots.   They probably pulled out after a couple hundred yards. 

  10. I’ve noticed that in Toronto too, though it never seemed quite so ubiquitous as in the video (though most of my time in Toronto has not been in the coldest parts of winter). I looked at one in a store once because I’d seen them around but this one had an Antarctica patch instead of the normal arctic patch. The weird thing though was that the store was Bloomingdale’s at South Coast Plaza in Southern California, where you are guaranteed to never need such a jacket (but a lot of Japanese tourists shop there, for some reason, so that may be the target audience – though the brand has cool jackets you can only get in Japan too according to a search I just did to check if I was imagining the Antarctica patch). 

    Anyway, though everyone in the video didn’t look particularly good in the jacket, if you size down and buy the right model they can look reasonably cool. There are plenty of other jackets if you care more about looks than trends (or functionality for that matter), of course, but it doesn’t have to be a terrible choice if you’re smart about it. I wouldn’t wear it unless I was issued one in e.g. the US Antarctic Program as another commenter mentioned (if I was going to Antarctica for my own geology research and had to buy my own gear I’d probably get something else, but I’d gladly take one of these for free ;) because I don’t like wearing bulky stuff and I care about looking good and not wearing the same thing as everyone else.

    Obviously that’s ultimately silly, but I think it says something about the hate on these jackets – everyone who wears these could actually afford something nicer looking and similarly functional (for city-going requirements) that doesn’t look so bad, but they bought these to be cool and as a status symbol, which is easy to hate on (or just find dumb).

    In my home town of Buffalo, just across the border (well, two hours around the lake and then across the border) from Toronto, very few people have much money – and those who do mostly just buy North Face (which already is quite expensive) rather than something nicer. Most people realistically can’t afford even that, though, so they wear knock-offs from the cheap brands – and 90’s-style puffy or otherwise bulky jackets. Everyone in Buffalo looks worse than the people in the video. If anything, sadly, the college girls wearing North Face jackets with leggings and Uggs are among the better-dressed people in Buffalo in the winter.

    Basically… I wouldn’t complain if everyone in other cold-climate cities wore these (or something similar), even if everyone looks the same. It surely says something positive about your city if there are so many people who can casually afford these jackets. Not that having lots of rich people around (pushing out everyone else) is necessarily the best thing, but you know what I mean.

    1. I saw some impressive gear in Australia where some Filipinos (?)  were wearing everything but snowshoes to cope with 60 degree F temps. 

          1. I swear that some businesses have their AC set at 60°. Most of us who live here year round keep it in the 80° to 85° range.

            Rather depressingly, it’s supposed to be 97°, 97° and 99° the next three days. I’m really not happy about having to run the AC in winter.

    2. If the coat you saw had an Antarctic patch, it was either not a Canada Goose coat or it was counterfeit.  Canada Goose coats sold at retail have only the the signature red  “Canada Goose Arctic Program” disc. Any thing made after 2011 can be identified with a hologram sewn into the lining. I’ve seen Counterfeit coats in Toronto On Orfus Road for $50.

  11. After a few months in Toronto I commented to a Torontonian friend of mine that I thought the jackets everyone wore were hideously ugly. He pointed me to the aptly named: Canada Douche tumblr. Hilarity ensued.

  12. They wear them a lot in Copenhagen too…. Or chinese replicas since the original is REALLY expensive….

  13. I’m not even Canadian. But when i walked outside into -17C this morning, I did wish I had one of those parkas. Still a very nice day, though.

    1. Synthetics are nice, but not good enough for anything below -15.
      Canada Goose will get you from -15 to being the last man alive fending off the Thing at the south pole.

      1. I have a Canadian military surplus Actic patrol parka.  I’m pretty sure it’s all synthetic

        I’ve had it about 15 years, and in that time there’s only been one Winter when it made sense to wear it.  In a solid 8 or 10 days when it didn’t go above -30 C, including a longish walk at -45, I was always comfortably warm in that thing.

        1.  I think that might be pre-dating the use of thinsulate.

          Reasoning being that it’s Canadian military equipment, so it’s most likely at the technological level of WW2.

          1. Well it’s certainly not “thin”.  It’s got the “insulate” part down solid though.

  14. Nice to see large groups of people that are smart enough to dress properly, instead of “being fashionable”.

  15. When I lived in Ottawa I found if it’s a cold enough winter, people will wear all kinds of crazy stuff to stray warm, and there is an implicit agreement that everything slides – you are trying to keep warm. So tying a sock around your ears wouldn’t really draw any attention. People wore Russian hats, fur hats, farmer hats, Swiss hats, tuques, berets, chullos, coonskin hats, deerstalkers, flat caps, patrol caps, and every kind of coat, mitten, glove, or scarf you could imagine. The diversity and extremity of fashion was worthy of applause. You would not find *anyone* wearing the same item of clothing. I think that’s a good approach to fashion – open, nonjudgemental, with a focus on stupid fucking hats. 
    Canada Goose parka behaviour is the exact opposite.

  16. The Density of these coats  is really quite staggering. However the distinctive circular patch on the arm lends itself to an amusing game. On a busy Toronto street corner you can mentally  play connect the dots and see if the amount of coats form significant shapes. 

  17. I live in Oshawa which is less than an hours’ drive east of Toronto and people wear any old thing in the winter. It could be -22C/ -7.6F and you will see people walking around wearing shorts and a flimsy little hoodie!

  18. My best Canada Goose story:

    I was in the emergency room with a broken wrist last winter and my roomie was a lady who had dislocated her shoulder.  
    Each of us requested that our coats be cut off.  Mine, a 6-yr-old $80 Colombia ski jacket that I didn’t give a crap about cutting.  Hers, an $800 knee-length parka that when cut, released enough feathers to subsequently fill our hospital room until it looked like the remnants of a 3-hour pillow fight.  

    My point – sort of amazing that not only are people willing to pay $800 for a coat but that also when in pain, they would be willing to cut it in half with a pair of surgical scissors with little to no hesitation.

  19. These lyrics are an accurate description of what seems like most pedestrians in downtown Toronto are wearing this winter, which has been colder than last year. The suddenness of this Canada Goose phenomenon/fad here is striking. It’s almost like when everyone simultaneously had a cell phone years ago.   

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