ECO Style: Patagonia

This Spring, shop our selection of environmentally friendly products from Patagonia.  Patagonia is committed to building the best product while causing no unnecessary harm and using business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. Now more than ever, it is important to consider our environment when choosing our clothing. We are proud to offer a variety of Patagonia products that are bluesign approved, fair trade certified and made with traceable down.

Reasons to Love Patagonia
  1. Eco-friendly brand
  2. Producers of numerous award winning pieces
  3. Gives back to many charitable initiatives to protect our planet
Why We Believe in Patagonia

Bluesign Approved
In 2007, Patagonia became the first brand to officially join the network of bluesign system partners. Patagonia employs methods and materials in their manufacture that conserve resources and minimize impacts on people and the environment. The bluesign system is the solution for sustainable textile production. It eliminates harmful substances right from the beginning of the manufacturing process and sets and controls standards for an environmentally friendly and safe production. Learn more about the bluesign system here.

Fair Trade Certified
Patagonia is out to change the industry. Fair Trade is a tool used by Patagonia to raise workers’ wages, improve their standard of living and move them closer to earning a living wage. A premium is paid for every Fair Trade Certified item that carries Patagonia. That extra money goes directly to the workers at that factory, and they decide how to spend it. The program also promotes worker health and safety and social and environmental compliance, and encourages dialog between workers and management.

Traceable Down Standard
Patagonia down products contain only Traceable Down. This means that the company traces the source of down from parent farm to apparel factory to help ensure that birds are not force-fed or live-plucked. The Traceable Down Standard provides the highest assurance of animal welfare in the apparel industry.

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Our Norwegian Adventure With Norrona

This May, we were asked to visit Oslo, Norway where we would get the chance to learn about Norrona as a company and a manufacturer of goods that is new to Sporting Life. The plan was to start at Norrona headquarters, then proceed to live the life of a Norwegian in the fjords at the incredible High Camp Turtagro.

We flew out of Toronto Pearson Airport at 7pm, arrived at London Heathrow at 8am, and made a beeline to catch our next plane. We hopped on Scandinavian Air into Oslo, where we had the opportunity to take in the city. This city is one that no one should miss in their lifetime. It is a beautiful city that pairs old with new – stunning architecture surrounded by modern Norwegians riding bikes and living a healthy lifestyle. Not to mention the incredible food!

We met up with the Norrona gang and our rep Frode, who we lovingly call Thor (take a look at these photos and tell us you don’t agree!) We sat down to an excellent dinner before starting the next day’s adventures. The next morning, Frode picked us up from the hotel and we drove the 45 minutes to Lysaker – Norrona’s headquarters. The closest thing we can compare the vibe to is Muskoka – headquarters is surrounded by rocks, trees, evergreens, and a stunning waterfall. Getting into the adventurous Norwegian spirit, we climbed the rocks around the waterfall – because that’s just a normal day for a Norwegian. We so admire how they live and breathe the outdoors.

A tour of the Norrona facilities quickly revealed that their work environment is very unlike ours in Canada. The building is minimalist, but the culture is that of people who wholeheartedly believe in the brand. The office is made up of large rooms where all divisions work separately, but at lunch they all come together as a community. Jorn Jorgensen, the grandson of the founder of Norrona, mixes in and engages with the staff. He holds true to the values of the brand. The employees are there for each other as a team; the product is born from the outdoors, made for the outdoors by people who spend their lives outdoors. They build great quality product that is tested by tried and true outdoorsmen.

Norrona is the epitome of authenticity.

We saw the showroom; product from Winter 18 and beyond; Norrona testing facilities; colour swatches and patterns. Everything you could possibly learn about the brand is right there at your fingertips.

After our eye opening tour, it was time to pack up and go on our adventure. We loaded up the van and drove 6 hours outside of Oslo into the mountains. It is quite the trip to go from a beautiful summer climate to full on winter. On the drive to High Camp, we bonded with our Norwegian guides and learned that Norwegian culture is full of passion. Passion for activity, music, family, health. We shared music that means something to each of us, and shared stories and chats that we will remember for a lifetime.

As you get higher into the mountains, you hit a snow beltline where the snow walls get higher and higher. You suddenly realize how high up you are; completely away from all civilization. Our destination is only inhabited by 300 people, but the event we were attending brings people from all over the world. People camp on the roadside, put their skis on, and go!

We arrived at our basecamp for the next 3 days, from which we would skin 2100 vertical feet up the mountain. Then…we ski! We met people from all over the world; guests of Norrona, as well as people who signed up to experience the wonderment that the mountains provide. We were placed in classes based on ability, and each day we would gear up in our touring equipment, skin up the mountain, and ski back down.

This is where the need for properly fitted equipment becomes clear. The mountains leave no room for ill fitting equipment or improper layers. If you plan on hitting the slopes in any capacity, be prepared! In our case, there would be pressure on our feet, high altitude, and physical exertion. Our boots had to fit properly and our skis had to be freshly tuned.

When packing clothing for touring, remember one thing and one thing only: LAYERS. The weather can change drastically from the bottom to the top of the mountain, and the sun is no joke.

Norrona features lines- or “concepts”- named after some of the most beautiful Norwegian locations.

For example, the Lofoten island chain is famous for its beauty and harsh contrasting weathers, and its extreme elements represent the heart & soul of Norway’s outdoor life. The Lofoten concept was launched in 2004 and took freeride skiing in a radical new direction. This line is technical, durable, and practical – design and quality come first! Bright coloured Gore-Tex jackets and baggy ski pants will help you stand out on the slopes and enhance any mountain experience. The Lofoten Gore-Tex Jacket (available for both men and women) offers breathable, versatile protection on the mountain. The women’s jacket is the brand’s warmest waterproof freeride jacket. Featuring PrimaLoft® Sport insulation, this season offers a more light weight jacket with a quieter face fabric, improved hood, and no underarm zipper for a softer, lighter and more compressible insulated jacket. The men’s jacket offers all the critical details you need for demanding conditions. It is light and highly breathable with superior ventilation, and weather-protective with a high level of comfort.

Looking for something a little more versatile? Falketind has got you covered: this line is made to function 365 days a year. Falketind is Norway’s most beautiful peak. While it appears inaccessible, the mountain in fact offers varied activities all year round. The outerwear line modelled after the mountain is equally as versatile. The men’s warm1 zip hoodie features a high warmth-to-weight ratio and quick drying properties. Wear it as a mid-layer or instead of a jacket without compromising on insulation and breathability. The unique construction of this fleece is perfect for different types of activities and changing weather conditions, as it traps warm air without inhibiting moisture transport.

The beauty of this experience was seeing nothing but passion for the outdoors. Despite our groupings based on ability, no one minded whether you were a professional skiier or a first timer at touring. We met extreme skiers who were happy to be present in the outdoors with likeminded individuals.

Our trip brought all kinds of unexpected twists and turns – early morning wake-ups, injuries, a rock concert, friends from the UK and all over the world! We also got to learn what Norrona is all about – celebrating nature and living among it. After spending a week with our friends at Norrona, we truly got the sense that when they make their product, they make it because they understand the details the garments need to have for you to be able to perform your activity. Norrona is passionate about not cutting corners, using the best materials, and being limited; these products are far from mass produced. The culture of the staff is inspiring to say the least; our Norwegian friends are phenomenal and work as a team. They have a mutual desire for the success of the company because they believe in it.

Coming back after 2 days of touring and 3 nights, it was a quiet drive home. Not only because we didn’t want to leave this beautiful place, but because of the people. The individuals we encountered on our journey were such happy people and loved being with other people.

After experiencing a scenic country with oceans, rivers, fjords, mountains, great food and even better people…we can’t wait to go back.

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All About the Canada Goose Thermal Experience Index (TEI)

Canada Goose is known for making some of the warmest jackets on the market – the selection is so expansive, how is one supposed to choose? That’s where the Thermal Experience Index (TEI) comes in. Learn more about what TEI means and how it can help you find the warmth you want for the experience you seek.

“Lightweight for active pursuits.”
Not ideal for the kind of weather we’ve been having lately, but a TEI 1 coat has its time and place. A lightweight Hybridge Lite jacket is the perfect layering piece for spring, fall, chilly summer nights and mild winter days. Winter jogging, cross country skiing
“Ultimate in core warmth, comfort and versatility.”
All you need for a typical Canadian winter day, TEI 2 styles will keep you warm during almost any winter activity. Put a shell on top and you have the perfect storm of waterproof insulation!
“Fundamental warmth fashioned for everyday use.”
TEI 3 is evidently the most popular warmth for a Canada Goose coat. Heavier fabrics and increased down allow these coats to handle colder, harsher climates. Bonus points for coats like the Kensington, which feature interior shoulder straps to make for easy carrying when temperatures change quickly.
“Inspired by the Arctic and made for enduring daily warmth.”
For long hours spent outside in less than ideal temperatures. TEI 4 coats are perfect for both harsh winter winds and city elements, but still feature sleek silhouettes to maintain a cool (more like warm) look.
“Field-tested for the coldest places on earth.”
We’re looking at you, Winnipeg. Don’t let the coldest days of winter keep you indoors! Get outside and live your Sporting Life, but stay safe with a TEI 5 coat.


It’s important to remember that everybody experiences temperature differently and the designations above are guidelines only. They’re intended to help you select the right Canada Goose jacket for your particular need.
When applying our TEI rating, please consider if you are a person who is typically cold, or warm, or very warm normally, and combine that with how you layer your clothing, your level of hydration, amount of sleep and level of activity to determine if this temperature rating would apply to you.

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New Year, New You

Image via Lole Blog.

Happy New Year! There is something so refreshing about leaving the past year behind and looking towards a clean slate. While fitness goals are one of the most common new years resolutions, we are totally on board with that. If 2018 makes you want to break out of your fitness routine and get healthy, we say GO FOR IT!

The hard part of sticking to a resolution is finding motivation. To help you get started in crushing your goals this year, here are some surefire ways to successfully change up your fitness regime and learn to love working out.

1. Try Something New

New year new you, right? The best way to break out of a fitness rut is to change it up. Getting stuck in the same routine isn’t good for your body or for your motivation. Even adding one new class to your week will challenge your muscles and reignite your will to workout! Here are some of our favourite workouts that you can try in the new year:

Spin: We LOVE spin! Spin is a great way to get your heart rate up and build muscle without the stress of a high-impact workout. If you’re in Alberta, visit our friend Andrew Obrecht at YYC Cycle – his high energy class will leave you feeling invigorated (and probably pretty sweaty, too!).

Yoga: Yoga is great because there is something for everyone. Whether you prefer power yoga, hot yoga, restorative yoga, chill flow…your body will thank you for turning off your brain for an hour and focusing inwards. Training your breath is beneficial to all aspects of your life, and even an hour of light or restorative stretching will benefit your muscles, your sleep, and your mind.

TRX: One of our favourite workouts this year has been TRX. Using portable suspension equipment, TRX develops strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously. Gravity and your own body weight makes for a workout unlike any other. Whether you work out every day or haven’t set foot in a gym in years, TRX is adaptable to provide a safe and tough workout regardless of your fitness level.

Barre: Trust us: Barre is not just for ballet dancers. What seems like simple micro movements and stretches turns out to be a killer workout inspired by ballet, yoga and pilates. This workout will sculpt, lengthen and strengthen your muscles – muscles you probably didn’t even know you had! We promise you will break a sweat.

2. The Buddy System

We know…one of the hardest parts of working out is getting to the gym. This year, find yourself an accountability partner to ensure that you get yourself up and moving. It’s awesome to have a friend to go to the gym with every day, but something as simple as receiving the “Hey! I just finished my workout, did you?” text can be enough motivation to get that workout done. Community is one of the reasons we love Fitbit; there’s nothing wrong with creating some friendly competition among friends to help you reach your goals!

3. Fuel Up

We can’t say it enough: hydration is KEY. Nothing will make you want to quit a workout more than feeling burnt out and dehydrated. Always be sure you have enough water for your workout to keep up with the sweat you are inevitably producing. S’well bottles are a forever favourite; your water will stay cool in a hot room, and won’t freeze during a winter run. We also recommend an energy chew or snack to refresh your sodium and electrolytes before, during and after a tough workout.

4. New Gear, New You

If the reasons above weren’t enough to get you out the door for a workout, new gear often does the trick! We’ve got all of the equipment you need to be ready for that new 2018 fitness regime. Whether you choose to workout in the privacy of your own basement, at a local gym, or in a trendy new fitness class in your city, you can find the tools you need to succeed at Sporting Life.

Go out and chase your fitness goals in 2018 – it’s time to make a change!

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Brand Spotlight: Fjallraven

Featured: Men’s Canada Shirt, Men’s Keb Pant

Aside from their iconic Kånken backpack that we love oh-so-much, Fjällräven has spent more than 50 years leading the apparel industry in serving nature.

“To leave no trace is a motto among outdoor enthusiasts. And just as we would like to leave last night’s campsite so that the next visitors can enjoy undisturbed nature, we would also like Fjällräven as a company to have as small an environmental footprint as possible.” Fjallraven responsibility

Created in a tiny cellar in Örnsköldsvik, Fjällräven has emerged as a popular brand all over the world. Åke Nordin, an outdoorsman and scout, didn’t find that the backpacks of the time were very comfortable or fun. The bags were certainly not the same kind of backpack we use today; they hung shapelessly and forced you to walk doubled over.

Åke had read that if you were going to carry anything heavy, the weight should be positioned high up and close to the back. It was in the aforementioned cellar that he created a wooden frame. Using his mother’s sewing machine, he sewed a bag out of strong cotton material which he fastened to the frame using leather straps.

While in Ranger school, Åke realized that there was a market for functional,hard-wearing outdoor equipment. When he founded Fjällräven 10 years later, this backpack was the start of it all. Founded at his family’s home just outside Örnsköldsvik, the first backpacks with aluminum frames were created, and eventually the “condensation-free, lightweight tents, functional outdoor clothing and revolutionary sleeping bags which would come to be loved by a growing corps of outdoor enthusiasts around the world.”

As a company, Fjällräven is all about 3 things:

  • Developing durable, timeless and functional outdoor equipment
  • Acting responsibly towards people, animals and nature
  • Awakening and maintaining an interest in outdoor life

The 2017 collection from Fjällräven features sustainable apparel for those who don’t want to feel the cold. Through their Down Promise, Swedish Wool Project and developments in synthetic insulation, Fjällräven will keep you warm on nature’s terms.

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Comparing Canada Goose: Langford vs. Emory

  • Fit: Slim
  • Retail: $925
  • Length: Mid thigh, 35″ centre back
  • Fill: 625 fill power white duck down
  • TEI 4
  • Removable coyote fur ruff
  • Non removable adjustable hood
  • Adjust fit with interior waist drawcord
  • Maximum storage with big front pockets, and extra storage space with interior security pocket
  • Available in Fusion Fit & Black Label
  • Available colours: Black, Navy, Graphite, Military Green, Admiral Blue, Charred Wood (coming soon), Limestone (coming soon)
  • Fit: Slim
  • Retail: $950
  • Length: Hip, 35.5″ centre back
  • Fill: 625 fill power white duck down
  • TEI 4
  • Introduced to Canada Goose line in 2016
  • Removable coyote fur ruff
  • Non removable adjustable hood
  • Maximum storage with big front pockets with top & side access; extra storage space with interior security pocket
  • Available in Black Label
  • Hideaway snow skirt
  • Available colours: Black, Graphite, Admiral Blue, Navy (coming soon)


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Rescued Is Our Favourite Breed

What is your favourite breed of dog? Ours is rescued!

When you’re a kid, a dog can be your best friend. Someone to play with, someone to talk to, someone to love you unconditionally. Rescue dogs are a special breed; they need extra love and care, but will return the favour with love of their own. Whether a child knows it or not, having a rescue dog teaches skills that will last a lifetime: empathy, responsibility, patience. As your kids start a new chapter this school year, teaching them about rescuing animals in need is a perfect way to emphasize these important qualities.

Adopting a dog is no easy feat, but it can make a world of difference in not only your life, but also the life of the animal. According to the Ontario SPCA, the term “puppy mill” describes a breeding operation in which dogs are repeatedly bred for financial gain and are kept in substandard conditions. Puppy mill dogs are often confined to small cages for their entire lives and commonly suffer from various infections and parasites. A puppy mill cannot meet the needs of a dog and is a form of cruelty.

Rescue dogs can be fearful or timid; rightfully so! These pups have often been abused, mistreated, or abandoned. They need love and patience in order to reach their potential – just like kids.

So, what steps should you go through to adopt a dog?

First of all, these are the things you should look for in an adoption organization:
– Animal welfare/happiness comes first
– Application required
– All pets spayed/neutered
– Vaccinated
– Full disclosure of the dog’s history
– Offer ongoing support to adopters
– Not for profit/charity

Once you’ve found the perfect place, here are some of the important steps to follow when choosing your new canine family member:


How to Help Pet Homelessness

Even if you want a purebred, research breed-specific rescue groups. You can also foster a rescue dog to provide a temporary good home (that could even turn into permanent, should you fall in love!)

Get Your Pet Fixed
There are low cost options to spay or neuter your pet; preventing unplanned litters is important!

Spread the Word
Get involved at your local shelter! Volunteer, donate, and tell your friends what you’ve learned about animal welfare.

Whether they offer spay/neuter programs, take in homeless dogs or provide other forms of animal support, donate your time or spare supplies to animal welfare organizations; every little bit helps!

As your kids head back to school this fall, encourage them to think about the ways they can make a difference in their community.

Ask the question: How will you shape your world?
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Save the Bees, Save the World

Heading back to school gives young adults an opportunity to find a cause that is near and dear to them. What could be a better cause than the environment? More importantly, the food we consume and the sustainability of human life. Here at Sporting Life, our attention has recently been turned to the plight of the bees.

Did you know…
  • It requires 556 worker bees to gather a pound of honey.
  • Bees fly more than once around the world to gather a pound of honey.
  • A single beehive can make more than 100 pounds of extra honey. The beekeeper only harvests the extra honey made by the bees.
  • They’re smart: Scientists have discovered that bees take the shortest possible route between flowers. Instead of flying randomly from flower to flower, bees get it all done as efficiently as possible.
  • 1/3 of the food crops humans eat everyday require bees and other pollinators to successfully produce a crop.
  • The rusty-patched bumble bee, once abundant in southern Ontario and now almost extinct and officially designated as endangered.
  • Six more bees have declined to such an extent that scientists have advised the federal Minister of Environment to take steps to protect them.
  • Colony failures can be caused by a number of factors including: starvation, weak honey bee queens, pesticides, diseases and pests.

Bees seem pretty important, huh? Without them, we wouldn’t have 1/3 of the food that we eat every day. For the sake of not only human nourishment but the survival of our environment and local ecosystems, we need to take steps to save the bees!

5 Ways to Save the Bees

Educate Yourself
Perhaps the easiest thing you can do to help the bees is to educate yourself. Everyone knows that knowledge is power – learn about the struggling honey bee population, educate those around you, and get involved! For starters – watch this video for a new perspective on bees and how diverse they are:

Buy Local Honey
By purchasing local honey, you are supporting beekeepers and bees in your area. As we have learned, this directly helps the environmental health of your neighbourhood! Unlike pasteurized honey, raw honey comes straight from the hive and is unheated, unpasteurized and undiluted, which means it retains all the antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and delicious flavor. Eating local raw honey is an easy way to stay healthy and support your community.

Install a Hive
Did you know that you can have your very own bee hive at your home or business? Companies like Alvéole make urban beekeeping possible. We have two hives on the roof of our Yonge Street location! By installing a hive, you are not only inviting bees to pollinate your neighbourhood, but you are able to harvest your very own honey. The extraction is done artisanaly at Alvéole’s honey house, and you are welcome to do whatever you please with your honey – keeping the locally sourced cycle alive!

Go Organic
Pesticides are no good for humans and bees alike. Pesticides used on plants linger in the nectar and weaken bees’ immune systems. Organic is the way to go! Keep an eye out for labels that indicate that the food was grown without pesticides, or buy your produce from a local farmer’s market. This will ensure that your food is bee-friendly, and you are supporting your community in the process.

Plant For Pollinators
Bees rely on pollen and nectar to survive – if there is a lack of supply nearby, the bees can starve. An easy way to help your local bee population is to plant a pollinator-friendly garden in your yard. You can find a list of plants for pollinators here, but even simple herbs such as sage or rosemary are loved by bees!

As you head back to school this fall, think about the ways you can make a difference in your community.

How will you shape your world?
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Why We Love the Fjallraven Kanken

The Fjallraven Kanken backpack was created in 1978 to spare the backs of school children. Back problems had begun to appear in younger age groups where shoulder bags were popular. The backpack soon became a common sight at pre-schools and nature schools around Sweden! While originally created for kids, this backpack is a staple for all ages that are into the minimalist, Scandinavian style.

Why do we love it?

– Durable Vinylon F material repels moisture better than any other synthetic fabric. Fibers in this material swell in humid weather for superior water-resistance….no wet books while waiting for the bus!
– Two zippered compartments with two side pockets. This simplicity keeps you from losing things in the abyss that is your school bag.
– Simple shoulder straps make this bag easily customized and wearable for long periods of time.
– The logo doubles as a reflector to keep you safe on walks to school at dawn or dusk.

These features are all kinds of appealing, and can be found in each of the different variations of the classic backpack:

The classic! Made of durable fabric, the classic will outlast even the toughest of school days. Two side pockets and a zippered pocket in the front make for easy day-to-day storage.

Kanken Mini
The cutest little backpack you ever did see! The Mini is just that – a mini version of the classic. It is perfect for young kids headed back to school, or as a smaller daypack for adults! Doubles as a fashletic purse, which we aren’t mad about.

Kanken Laptop
While you may be able to fit a laptop in the classic, this Kanken features padded shoulder straps and a specially designed area made to house a laptop computer neatly and securely.

Kanken No. 2
Redesigned and better than ever! The Kanken No. 2 is made from a sturdier fabric and has leather straps, making it a new and slightly improved version of the original. This bag also comes in laptop form!

We are all about being eco-friendly, especially with the start of a fresh new year. The Re-Kanken (and the mini!) are sustainable versions of the classic style, as each bag is made entirely from eleven plastic bottles! Dyed with SpinDye® technology that radically reduces the amount of water, energy and chemicals used, this bag is mindful of our environment. Check it out:

Find Your Kanken
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How Will You Shape Your World?

Is there any better fresh start than heading to university or college for the first time? Leaving home and starting a new adventure  opens the door for you to be whoever you want to be and shape the world that you want to live in.

The idea of shaping your world is important. As a young adult, you have a clean slate to create the life you want to live. This is the time to consider: what is important to me? Where do I stand on issues that affect the world I live in?

Did you know…
  • As of 2012, 31 million primary-school pupils worldwide dropped out of school
  • 1 in every 13 people is a refugee
  • Over a billion people live with some form of disability
  • The LGBTQ community was the predominant victim group for assaults in Toronto in 2016
  • Canadian women earn 87 cents for every dollar made by men

It is up to you – smart, innovative young adults – to fight for the causes that affect the well-being of other people just like you all over the world.

We are all a part of one world. No matter what cause weighs on your heart, it is our responsibility to come together to fight for equality, diversity and inclusion.

How can you help?

  • Practice Inclusion. Bringing the world together can be as simple as changing your own mindset. We encourage you to practice inclusion and love with those in your own life and community.
  • Educate Yourself. Do whatever you can to learn about others. Attend conferences like the one featured above; read online journals or blogs; talk to people who may be experiencing a different lifestyle than you.
  • Join the Fight. On campus, you will find countless places to lend a hand and encourage change. Find the club, organization or group that speaks to you and join! Meet like minded individuals and learn what you can do to help others.

As you head back to school this fall, think about the ways you can make a difference.

How will you shape your world?
Sarah Harrison via Teen Vogue
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