Storms pass, but community lasts. Highline Outdoors, owner of The North Face store in Banff and Wild Mountain in Jasper, is stepping up to help local mountain communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic that devastated the tourism and hospitality industries in the Canadian Rockies.
Thousands of people living in and around Banff, Lake Louise, Canmore and Jasper were laid off in March and April due to the COVID-19 health restrictions. Although many of them were foreign workers who left Canada to return home, others have had to rely on temporary government programs and charity to survive. As restrictions ease, some locals have been able to return to work. However the continuing foreign travel bans, hesitancy on the part of regional tourists to renew travelling and continuing social distancing restrictions mean businesses are reopening gradually with far fewer staff.
I recently spoke with Lydia Wilson, who owns Highline Outdoors with her spouse Cam. “Right now we are working on campaigns in Banff and Jasper to support grassroots COVID-19 recovery efforts,” she explained. “We are calling it 'Storms Pass, Community Lasts' and we are donating $3 from the sale of each of our popular Coordinates T-shirts to help locals who really need it. In the Banff, Lake Louise and Canmore area, we are donating to the Banff Canmore Community Foundation’s Emergency Community Fund. In Jasper we are donating to the Jasper Community Team Society’s Caring Community Fund.”
Lydia and Cam’s goal is to raise $5,000+ this summer from The North Face store in Banff and $3,000+ from their Wild Mountain store in Jasper to “walk out of this storm together”. T’s are available in both stores and online at highlineoutdoors.ca.
In previous campaigns using the Coordinates T’s, Highline Outdoors has been successful raising funds that went to causes such as the Young Film Makers Workshops at The Banff Centre, sponsorship of various Banff Mountain Film Festival Events and local community grants through the Banff Canmore Community Foundation.