Buying Canadian has always been a good thing, but now it’s more important than ever. But which companies are actually Canadian? A lot of them, as it turns out. From beauty products to clothing and live entertainment, there are a bunch of well-known global brands that got their start right here in the Great White North. Here are 20 companies that you may not have known were Canadian.
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BITE Beauty launched in Toronto in 2012. The company focuses on lip products that are made with food-grade ingredients. The company was taken over in 2014 by Kendo, which is part of the massive LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE conglomerate.
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Saje Natural Wellness
Saje Natural Wellness hit the scene in 1992 with its line of essential oils and skin care products. The Vancouver-based company has shops across Canada and nearly two dozen south of the border. The company also makes some of the best natural products currently available in Canada.
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Herschel Supply Co.
One of Canada's most successful brands, Herschel Supply Co. was founded by Lyndon and Jamie Cormack in 2009. The Vancouver-based company's hipster retro backpacks have become must-have accessories for the fashion set. Their products are sold globally in some of the world's biggest retailers.
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Which came first, Lululemon or yoga? Given the ubiquitous nature of the Vancouver-based brand, you'd be forgiven if you thought the former. But no, Lululemon didn't hit the scene until 1998. Since then the company, one of the largest athletic-wear manufacturers in the world, has opened stores around the world. Today, you'll see the Lululemon logo pretty much anywhere you go. But don't forget that it was here in Canada first!
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Although the Sorel brand is part of the Columbia Sportswear empire, it got its start in Canada. According to the University of Waterloo, Sorels were introduced by Kaufman Footwear, which was based in Kitchener, Ont. Kaufman Footwear went out of business in 2000, and the Sorel brand was purchased by Columbia.
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MAC Cosmetics was founded in 1984 in Toronto. It has become one of the largest makeup companies in the world and a Canadian beauty brand that celebrities love. Today, the company is owned by Estée Lauder Companies and is based in New York.
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Another Vancouver-based company on our list is Arc’teryx. The company specializes in outdoor/sports clothing and equipment. Founded in 1989, the company now has more than 500 employees and its products are available worldwide.
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Joe Fresh is not only Canadian, it's also owned by Loblaws. The Joe in the name is actually Joe Mimran, who created the line of clothes and accessories for the food chain. You can find Joe Fresh products in supermarkets across Canada and in retail outlets in the US.
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Naked and Famous
Naked and Famous specializes in denim, specifically Japanese selvedge denim which the company says has more soul than the garden-variety stuff lining the shelves of box stores. They take denim to another level with innovations like raspberry scratch-and-sniff and glow-in-the-dark varieties. Based in Montreal, the company's products are available from retailers around the globe.
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IMAX Corporation made big-screen motion pictures really big-screen. Founded in Canada in the late sixties, IMAX has grown into a billion-dollar company with more than 1300 theatres in 75 countries. The company's headquarters are in Mississauga, Ontario. In addition to its theatres, the company manufactures the special format cameras and projectors used in IMAX films.
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Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil started with just 20 street performers back in 1984, and after a rocky start and some government funding, the idea took off. The Montreal-based company has a number of touring shows, all of which feature gravity-defying performances. The dedicated theatre in Las Vegas has seven different shows, so it's easy to see something new. The company now has more than 4,000 employees.
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Tea has become nearly as popular as coffee, and Toronto-based DAVIDsTEA is certainly riding the wave. Founded in 2008 the company specializes in specialty teas and accessories.
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Kit & Ace
Based in Vancouver, Kit & Ace is a clothing brand that has family connections to Lululemon Athletica, where co-founder Shannon Wilson was a designer. She teamed up with her stepson J.J. to create the new company. Kit & Ace has stores in many major Canadian cities but recently shuttered its international outlets to focus on its domestic market and online sales.
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Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
Headquartered in Toronto, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts has a portfolio of 75 luxury properties scattered around the planet. The company owns some of Canada's most iconic hotels in addition to famous locations like The Savoy in London, The Plaza in New York and the Fairmont Monte Carlo in Monaco.
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Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Another big Canadian hospitality brand is Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. The company was founded in 1961 and since then has grown to include a collection of 109 properties spanning 43 countries. Isadore Sharp, the company's founder and chairman, also founded The Terry Fox Run.
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If you're an influencer, you've likely heard of Vancouver-based Hootsuite. The social media management platform is just one way to juggle all of your social media accounts.
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Montreal-based Gildan Activewear may be better known for the logos others place on its products. While the company does sell branded clothing, they've made their name by manufacturing blank t-shirts that screen printing companies buy and customize. The company was founded in 1984.
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We dare you to try to find a roundup of fashion must-haves every woman should own without spotting a staple Aritzia piece of clothing high up on the list. The BC-based company has stores across North America including a flagship store in New York.
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Vancouver is home to Fluevog's flagship store, one of the neat things about Vancouver you might not know. The company has stores across Canada, the US and even in Amsterdam.
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Mountain Equipment Co-Op or MEC is another Vancouver-based brand (there must be something in the water). Because the outdoor equipment and clothing store is a cooperative, you have to be a member ($5) to shop here. The first MEC store opened in Vancouver in 1971 and there are now 22 outlets across the country.
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