• 1885

    The Dominion of Canada was created in 1867. Only 18 years later, James W. Woods was outfitting lumbermen in the Ottawa Valley with his own special brand of canvas supplies. Over the following decades, Woods’ fame and fortune would continue to grow and prosper along with our new country.

  • 1895

    By this time, Woods had built a plant to manufacture his in-demand tents, sleeping bags and canvas goods of various kinds. Ever seeking to make life in the great outdoors even greater, Woods invented a new lightweight canvas that was virtually waterproof. It was a revolutionary innovation. Woods’ reputation spread quickly around the world.

  • 1896

    The Klondike Gold Rush was on. Pioneers and prospectors looking to strike it rich in Canada’s Yukon depended on Woods™ gear for their very survival in one of our country’s harshest climates. Known as “stampeders”, these hardy adventurers carried Woods™ tents, sleeping bags, mackinaw sweaters, camp stoves and other gear in their Woods™ packsacks.

  • 1898

    Joseph B. Tyrell – a noted geologist, cartographer and mining consultant who first discovered the dinosaur bones in Alberta’s Badlands – wrote a letter as he put it, to “testify to the excellence” of the Woods™ eiderdown sleeping bag. He heartily and enthusiastically endorsed the product as “the most comfortable bed that I have ever had in the field”.

  • 1906

    Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, and his crew were first to successfully navigate the Northwest Passage. Woods™ parkas, tents, sleeping bags and other gear were stowed aboard their ship, the Gjøa. Later speaking of his time at the North Pole, Amundsen said, “There are two times a man is happy when he’s up there: when his belly is full of hot liquid and when he’s in his sleeping bag.”

  • 1911

    Curious to learn more about polar survival, Amundsen returned to live among the Inuit in Canada’s Arctic for two winters. The hands-on experience and knowledge he gained would prove essential when he successfully led the first team to conquer the South Pole. Once again, Woods™ gear was an integral part of that team and adventure.

  • 1913

    The Canadian Arctic Expedition was a daring 5-year mission to study the Arctic and its indigenous peoples. The first such venture of its kind, it was painstakingly documented. Among its incredible historic references? Photographic evidence clearly showing Woods™ tents, sleeping bags and especially the Woods™ Arctic Parka which had been specially designed and developed for that particular mission.

  • 1914

    The world – and Woods Canada went to war. During WWI, the company applied its considerable survival expertise to equip Allied soldiers with its tents, sleeping bags and other goods; in particular, the company created the first gas masks for our Canadian army. We may never know how many Canadian lives were saved as a result of this patriotic duty and valuable contribution towards the war effort.

  • 1925

    The company has long enjoyed affiliations with the National Geographic Society and the Royal Geographic Society. It outfitted many of the most important explorations of the early 20th century: the Theodore Roosevelt Field Expedition through Central Asia, Admiral Byrd’s expedition in the Antarctic and the first ascent of Mount Logan – Canada’s highest peak – to name but a few.

  • 1940

    Renowned American author, Ernest Hemingway, was also an avid outdoorsman and enthusiastic fan of Woods™ gear. In what’s often considered his greatest and best-known novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, he penned a starring role for the Woods™ sleeping robe in the plot and setting for his most famous love scene.

  • 1944

    Woods™ gear was proudly stowed aboard the St. Roch in 1944 when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s schooner was the first vessel ever to make a return voyage through the Northwest Passage in a single season. When she became the first ship to circumnavigate North America in 1955, Woods™ was there again to serve.

  • 1967

    By the latter half of the 20th century, Woods™ brand was expanded from its already-comprehensive line of outdoor equipment and durable canvas gear to include hockey bags. The company was also the nation’s largest flag manufacturer. On July 1, 1967 – Canada’s Centennial – Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson unfurled the new flag Woods™ Canada had supplied atop the Peace Tower of our Parliament buildings in Ottawa. Its red maple leaf continues to symbolize our country and values around the world.

  • 1982

    The company, along with Laurie Skreslet, and his team – were the first Canadians to reach the summit of Nepal’s Mount Everest in the Himalayas. At an altitude of 8,848 m (29,029 ft) above sea level, it’s the world’s highest peak. The company was highly honoured to have helped that team make history by supplying the tents, sleeping bags and parkas they needed to survive the climb.


    The Woods™ legacy began in 1885 with James Woods’ vision and passion for the great outdoors. Today, it lives on wherever your own spirit of adventure leads you. We remain committed to helping you explore, discover and create your own great moments in Canada’s backyard and beyond.