Seeing Stars: First Day At Roots

Toronto Film Festival: Roots LocationSleep. Sleep is good. Unfortunately, we didn't get much sleep last night (or at least I didn't) as we're currently staying at a friends' place in Toronto on the edge of Chinatown. Don't get me wrong: it's an incredible apartment right above a Scotiabank, with high ceilings and wide spaces. It's just conveniently down below are the streetcars that screech by and shake the building every 10 minutes. (I'm sure we'll get used to it after a while).

Anyway, Sean and I woke up early this morning and made our way to Roots' head office. We stepped inside the doors and were immediately greeted with the company's founding philosophy pasted on the wall.

The company was started in 1973 by founders Don Green and Michael Budman, and has grown to become one of Canada's most recognizable clothing brands.

During our tour of the office, it was clear the place had a great vibe. Everyone seemed pretty happy to be working, and it quickly became apparent that many employees had been there for at least 5 years or more (some pushing 20!)

Afterwards we headed out to their leather factory, where they produce their leather merchandise: bags, jackets, shoes, you name it. We had never been in a leather factory before, so we weren't sure quite what to expect. Turns out - it's a really cool environment. The place is wide open, fully air-conditioned, and buzzed with workers cutting, stitching and creating.

Another fact about Roots we didn't know: many of their goods are still hand-made in Canada. Not all of them, but still, that's pretty darn good --

Roots still directly employs nearly 2,000 people in Canada, including 200 at our leather goods factory in Toronto. All Roots products are designed in Toronto by Canadian designers. Indirectly, through our work with various suppliers, we help contribute to the employment of thousands more people in Canada.

After our tour of the factory, we had the chance to sit down with Director of Communcations Robert Sarner, who talked with us about the importance of communcation - between a company and its employees, as much as with the public. In fact, he values communication so highly, he recommends you talk to him directly if you have a beef, compliment, or question about Roots.

Toronto Film Festival: Roots LocationSean and I finished off the day with a visit to the Roots flagship store on Bloor St, where we learned what we'd be doing for the weekend: talking with celebrities.

Well, maybe not quite, but looks like we do get to promote the Flick Off campaign, which means capturing clips of what others are doing to reduce their carbon emissions - and this includes celebrities in town for the Toronto Film Fest.

We'll be there most of Friday, so if you're in town, come visit us! Sean will also be blogging on the Roots Film Festival blog here.