Ben Jordan on his paragliding expedition

MEC’s most memorable moments of 2016

What a year. From wild paragliding expeditions across mountains to new stores across Canada, so much happened in 2016 that we had to combine our favourite moments in one place.

1. 5 new stores for you

In the span of one year, we opened (or relocated) 5 new stores to better connect and serve our members across Canada. Some members even camped out by the front doors the night before we officially opened – amazing.

Check out the new MEC community hubs in Kelowna, London, South Edmonton, Laval and North York.

New MEC store opening

We couldn't resist snapping a photo of this epic sunset from our MEC Edmonton South grand opening.

2. You helped us give back

Thanks to our members, in 2016 we invested over $3 million dollars as part of our 1% for the Planet partnership to conserve the environment and help people play in the outdoors.

A couple of highlights? Expedition grants are unique to MEC and are focused on funding people who inspire all of us with the ultimate outdoor adventures. One expedition grant helped Benjamin Jordan launch his paragliding trip from Vancouver to Calgary, while another supported Madeleine Martin-Preney and crew to complete the first continuous ski traverse of the Canadian Selkirks.

Ben Jordan on his paraglide expedition

Ben’s paragliding expedition (with ukulele breaks) in action.

3. Think Outside Summits connected youth to the outdoors

Outdoor Nation is a growing network of collaborators, change makers and adventurers. Each year, we host summits to bring these groups together to pitch ideas on how to get more youth active and outside (along with a healthy dose of camping, music and inspiring speakers). See what 6 amazing outdoor projects will be debuting in 2017 as a result.

Want to know more? Check out #mecnation on Instagram to get a glimpse of what our community’s getting up to.

Think Outside Summit: group collaboration and yoga session

A few moments of brainstorming, connecting and getting our stretch on at the Think Outside Summits in Toronto and Montreal.

4. Voted top brand in Canada

In 2016, we were honoured to receive two distinctions:

New MEC store in Kelowna

New MEC store in Kelowna.

5. #goodtimesoutside

We launched a brand new hashtag to celebrate #goodtimesoutside. It’s been pretty amazing to see how and where members are getting outside – keep the radical adventures coming!

Collage of December edition of Goodtimesoutside

6. Fully carbon neutral

As of January 1, 2016, the day-to-day operations of MEC buildings are now carbon neutral. Read more about it how it works.

MEC Head Office in Vancouver, BC

MEC Head Office in Vancouver, BC, is designed to a LEED Platinum Standard.

7. Ambassadors inspired us

Professional runner, cancer survivor and MEC Ambassador Jim Willett blew us away when he ran his #marathon2marathon this past June. He ran over 1100km to participate in two marathons only a few weeks apart! Follow Jim on Instagram.

Jim Willett on his #marathon2marathon

A few snaps of Jim during his epic #marathon2marathon.

Professional climber and MEC Ambassador Sarah Hart joined us at Banff Mountain Film Fest and led a ladies-only climbing clinic. As part of the experience, we treated 14 amazing women to a day of climbing, brunch and VIP seating at Banff Film Festival’s Hot Topic Game Changers: Women’s Adventure Storytelling.

Sarah Hart climbing clinic

Climbing with awesome people is always a good idea.

8. Partners overcame obstacles

It’s important to us to make the outdoors accessible for everyone, which is why we loved seeing photos of our grant to help make these adaptive stand-up paddleboards from our friends at the British Columbia Mobility Opportunities Society.

Adaptive stand-up paddleboards

9. Members made us proud

We’re so lucky to have so many long-time members (dating back 40 years) who reach out to us with photos and memories that make us smile. One example? Here’s a photo of a MEC member 10 years apart, but still wearing the same MEC backpack. *Tear* – they grow up so fast.

MEC backpack, 10 years apart

Another mini MEC member warmed our hearts after we heard he celebrated his third birthday doing a beach clean-up with a dozen of his friends.

MEC member doing a beach clean-up for his third birthday party

This is just a handful of the memorable things that happened in 2016. Huge thanks to our great members and staff who make this Co-op something to celebrate.

Missy Shana
Missy Shana

A social media specialist, Seinfeld-quoter who repeatedly travels vast distances for good food. Has probably creeped your Instagram profile.