As an immigrant to Canada you are probably expecting to spend out on a few things when you arrive. Often top of the list is replacing all the electrical items that you’ve left behind because they’re the wrong voltage – with men looking forward particularly to buying the boy’s toys.
But one thing you might not have thought you’d be spending out on is clothing. Specialist clothing in particular.
For some reason Canadians seem to believe that every outdoor activity deserves its own specialized clothing. The obvious one to think of is skiing or snowboarding. Clearly skiing in your jeans is not a great idea. A friend of mine tried and quickly found cold, wet denim was not pleasant at the top of a mountain.
So you probably planned on equipping yourself with the latest ski wear.
Maybe you intend to go kayaking. Here too you’ll need an outfit. But this is to be expected. You are out on the water, and that’s probably not part of your normal activities so it deserves special clothes for the conditions you’ll encounter.
What about cycling? Long gone are the days when our grandfathers hopped on a bike with their tweed suits, and no more specialized equipment than a pair of cycle clips. Nowadays it is rare that you see a cyclist who is not kitted out in lycra, with padded shorts, logo infested shirt, helmet and wrap around sunglasses. It must take quite some time to hop on the bike and ride to the shops for a loaf of bread.
If you pop into one of the outdoor outfitters, like MEC, you will find sections of the store devoted to equipping you for cycling, skiing, kayaking, climbing and even walking.
Yup! You may need special clothes to go walking. In fact my local recreation centre runs walking classes. Ok it is Nordic walking. Which apparently requires poles. Or is that Polish walking and it requires Swedes. I can see why you might need a lesson or two!
One further activity that deserves mention is Yoga. This seems to have become hugely popular if you judge by the number of people walking around wearing their Lululemon yoga gear. Actually in some areas I doubt if they’ll serve you in the coffee shop if you’re not wearing your Lulu’s.
Sporting events also require special clothing. Go to a Canucks game without wearing your Canucks jersey and you’ll feel pretty uncomfortable. Ditto for a Whitecaps soccer match.
The arts however have escaped the trend. Go to the theatre for example and people will be wearing a whole variety of outfits. You may see shorts and flip flops, or jeans and hoodies, and rarely a jacket or frock. Clearly Lululemon has an opportunity here : bring out a line for the theatre goer or art gallery visitor. Then we’d all know what to wear.