The Hudson's Bay Point Blanket might be the oldest and most identifiable Canadian tradition. These blankets were originally created in 1780 for fur trappers, traders and natives to survive outdoors in frigid Canadian winters. The point system is in place to rate the warmth and size of the blanket. These blankets are such high quality and so highly valued that they are often handed down through families and found for hundreds of dollars in thrift stores.
There was a resurgence in popularity of these blankets that seemed to coincide with the 2010 Winter Olympics last February, around the same time we ran DIY Idea: Blanket Upholstered Ottomans, where the blankets were identified at Hudson Bay wool blankets from LL Bean. As we enter into blanket weather, I thought I'd add to the story and share the 200+ year history of the classic design.
A few interesting facts about the blankets:
- There are several different colour options. The original versions included an all white version, which was highly valued by Natives who could use them to keep warm while camouflaged in the snow.
- The wool used in the blankets is a combination of wool from Britain and New Zealand, each of which provides unique qualities that make it water resistant, soft, warm and strong.
- During the War of 1812 British Captain Charles Roberts ordered Point blankets and had them made into coats for his men.
So if you're looking for a great example of a beautifully designed heirloom item that you can buy once and pass on to future generations, a Hudson's Bay Blanket might be a great investment.
(Images from top: 1. Blanket from LL Bean, 2. Chief Factor Barnston and R.M. Ballantyne at Tadoussac, 1846 by Charles Fraser Comfort courtesy of the Hudsons Bay Company, 3. Hudsons Bay Point Blanket Ottoman from The Bay)