Hudson's Bay Company

Established 1670

In 1670 the ‘Company-of-adventurers-of-England-trading-into-Hudson’s-Bay’ was incorporated with a royal charter from King Charles II. Dating back to the 18th century, Hudson’s Bay point blankets were traded by the Hudson’s Bay Company to First Nations and Native Americans in exchange for beaver pelts, buffalo robes, moccasins, and other trade goods. Wool blankets were desired by locals because of wool’s ability to hold heat even when wet, and because they were easier to sew than bison or deer skins.

The classic design of this English blanket features a green stripe, red stripe, yellow stripe and indigo stripe on a white background. The short black lines on the blanket are referred to as ‘points’. Blankets were shrunk as part of the manufacturing process and this point system rates the warmth and size of the blanket. Since the start of the trade these point blankets have been produced in England. Since the end of the 19th century, as England’s only remaining blanket mill, Hainsworth has been the exclusive manufacturer of the blankets. The Hudson’s Bay point blanket is the oldest and most identifiable Canadian tradition.

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© Hudson’s Bay Company, Toronto, Canada

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