1973

Childhood friends Green and Budman, who grew up in Michigan but spent their summers at Camp Tamakwa in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park, establish Roots as a footwear company in Toronto, with the “negative heel” shoe as their flagship item.

1976

Roots sponsors the first ever Festival of Festivals, which would later become the Toronto International Film Festival.

1976

The Canadian Olympic Team sport Roots's “Puff” boots at the Denver Winter Olympics, the first of many collaborations between Roots and an Olympic team.

1984

Roots debuts its Entertainment Merchandising and Wholesaling division, which ends up outfitting the cast and crews of such films as Jurassic Park, Days of Thunder, Iron Man and The Bourne Ultimatum. On the TV side, shows such as Friends, The Sopranos, The Office and Saturday Night Live have all used Roots goods.

1985

Roots introduces a beaver into its logo.

1988

The Jamaican bobsled team arrives at the Calgary Winter Olympics without proper jackets. Recognizing an opportunity, Roots saves the day by designing ones for the team, which had become an international sensation due to, well, the fact that they were a bobsled team from a small Caribbean island, later immortalized in the film Cool Runnings.

1998

Canadian athletes at the Nagano Winter Olympics sport clothing designed by Roots, including the famed “poorboy” hat that goes on to sell in the hundreds of thousands.

1999

Roots launches both roots.com, their first website, and the first Roots Home, a home furnishing store on Avenue Road in Toronto.

2001

After clothes and home furnishings, the logical brand expansion is... air travel? Roots unveils Roots Air, a five-airplane airline with service between Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, in March. Roots Air gets grounded just two months later.

2002

The Salt Lake City Winter Olympics mark the beginning of Roots’ partnership with the U.S. Olympic Team. The U.S. team berets become a sensation at the Games, selling hundreds a day at the Roots store in Salt Lake City and eventually selling more than a million in total. Roots also designs the uniforms for the U.K. and Canada, as well as the “Gold Medal” jackets for the Canadian women’s and men’s hockey teams.

2010

Vancouver artist/author/general creative guy Douglas Coupland teams up with Roots to release a line of clothing that paired his “pop” sensibilities—bold, bright colours, kitschy Canadiana—with athletic wear and leather goods. For some reason, you don’t see many people wearing this jacket much these days.

2013

Roots marks its 40th anniversary.

2015

Green and Budman sell their majority ownership stakes to Searchlight Capital, an international private equity firm.

2015

Roots collaborates with Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry—an American playing in Canada, much like the company’s founders—to launch a line of Toronto-inspired clothing.

2016

Roots employs nearly 2,000 people in Canada; operates 120 retail stores across Canada and the U.S., as well as 65 in Asia.



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