Nothing says Calgary like its signature Smithbilt white hat, so in a fitting tribute to the city’s 100th Stampede, Calgary native Paul Hardy has been commissioned with creating a commemorative topper. The $900 hat, which is entirely made of soft white rabbit fur and adorned with a hand-woven Italian leather belt, will be presented to 40 famous Canadians, including Steve Nash, Rick Mercer, George Stroumboulopoulos and Karen Kain.
Here’s a little history lesson for those of you not familiar with Calgary’s long history of white hats: after the first-ever Calgary white hat was created in 1946 by Smithbilt Hats’ artisan Morris Shumiatcher, a Calgary mayor began presenting the hats to notables who came to the city, beginning a now 60-year-long tradition of “white hatting.” Essentially, it’s Calgary’s equivalent to presenting keys of the city.
In keeping with tradition, most of the 40 recipients of the Paul Hardy hat will receive them in a commemorative “white hatting” ceremony on July 10, about half-way through the stampede, which runs from July 6 to 15. The rest of the country can log on to the Globe and Mail website to share their own experiences or memories of the various famous white hat recipients. Five participants will be chosen at random to receive their very own Paul Hardy white hats.
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