Legend has it that in 1534, when Jacques Cartier crossed the Atlantic Ocean to reach North American, he asked the Natives he encountered what the place was called. “Kanata,” they replied. The word meant “village” in their language. From that time on Cartier called the land Canada.
The Cowichan (pronounced "COW-eh-chan") story originates in the Cowichan Valley on rugged Vancouver Island. Traditionally, this is a region where its people lived in an outdoor society. This habitat required clothing that could stand up to outdoor living as well as protect the wearer against the elements. This is the home of the Cowichan sweater, produced by Canada's West Coast Salish Natives. The versatility of this sweater allows it to be as warm as an overcoat and as dry as a raincoat.
No two sweaters are alike. The fleeces come in natural colors and shades of brown, black and white. As the black sheep matures, the wool changes from brown to gray with aging, like human hair. All of the dark shades in Cowichan sweaters made with undyed wool come from this unique black sheep. The wool is carefully carded to prevent damage to the fibers and is still hand spun. The sweaters are hand-knitted with this pure virgin wool. The natural oils are left in the wool to retain its water-resistant qualities. A Cowichan sweater traditionally lasts for years and years, if properly cared for.