A new publication from Canada Goose. Your guide to living in the open.
A celebration of the ties that bind—and all the unique ways we find our family

The bonds of family are more than a name—for they hold our warmth, and fit no one the same.

The people we’re closest to aren’t always our relatives, and the people who make our lives richest often fall outside the traditional definitions of mother, father, sister or brother. Drawing on this sentiment, we brought a diverse group of people from around the world to a remote spot on Canada’s far east coast. Held on a cliff in Newfoundland—the ocean on one side, the forest on the other—it was an evening of good food, good company and the kind of memory-making that they’ll tell the grandkids about. A few whales out in the bay even stopped by at one point to join in the fun.

In many ways, the people around that table couldn’t have been more different. Some were from Canada, some from the United States, others from the United Kingdom. Some were born family, others chose this to be their family. There were best friends and brothers, soul mates and soul sisters. Some were touchy-feely, others showed their love with a few carefully chosen words.

But one thing that united them all? The warmth of their connection to their loved ones.

Read on to hear more of their stories—and learn how everyone wears family differently.

A celebration of the ties that bind—and all the unique ways we find our family

The bonds of family are more than a name—for they hold our warmth, and fit no one the same.

The people we’re closest to aren’t always our relatives, and the people who make our lives richest often fall outside the traditional definitions of mother, father, sister or brother. Drawing on this sentiment, we brought a diverse group of people from around the world to a remote spot on Canada’s far east coast. Held on a cliff in Newfoundland—the ocean on one side, the forest on the other—it was an evening of good food, good company and the kind of memory-making that they’ll tell the grandkids about. A few whales out in the bay even stopped by at one point to join in the fun.

In many ways, the people around that table couldn’t have been more different. Some were from Canada, some from the United States, others from the United Kingdom. Some were born family, others chose this to be their family. There were best friends and brothers, soul mates and soul sisters. Some were touchy-feely, others showed their love with a few carefully chosen words.

But one thing that united them all? The warmth of their connection to their loved ones.

Read on to hear more of their stories—and learn how everyone wears family differently.

You don’t have to spend long in Sage and Sarain’s company before one—or both—of them tear up. It’s a testament to the depth of their bond and the profound safety they feel in each other’s presence.

It’s hard to pinpoint the moment Sarain and Sage’s friendship began because, well, it didn’t even begin with them. As members of the same lodge, their family trees are intertwined in the deepest way, sharing each other’s joys, sorrows and traditions generations back. Because Sarain is a little older than Sage, the relationship has a big sister, little sister dynamic. They are each other’s anchor to home, a link to culture, tradition and spirituality when they’re both far from family.

When Tasha Tilberg met Laura Wilson, it was “fast and furious,” the model, musician and textile artist remembers. “We met in May, bought a house in August, and got engaged in February.” It wasn’t long after they experienced another profound change: The birth of their twins, Grayson and Bowen. “Having children is such a huge shift,” says Laura. “When I met her, Tasha was living out of a very small bag, travelling the world. She was very nomadic—and still has that burning in her—but she loves coming home.”

Home is now a vineyard in the Canadian countryside. “I want my kids to grow up with life skills–like how to grow their own food, how to chop wood,” explains Tasha. Theirs is a family that’s deeply connected to the land. “We always say grace,” adds Tasha, “paying respect to the animal or the farmers that gave us this food.”

In every sibling relationship there comes a time when you have to choose to spend time with the other person. The relationship either flourishes as a result or you grow apart as adults. For London-based photographer Ron, it took moving out of the family house for him to begin really investing in his relationship with his younger brother, Carl. As they got older, they realized they shared a creative streak and ambitions to work far outside the traditional careers their parents had in mind. Now that they’re both adults, Ron and Carl spend their time together honing their craft of photography, exploring their city and just hanging out. They have very different personalities—Ron is quick to react where Carl is more considered—but they share that unspoken language of shared memory and background that only two people who’ve grown up in the same house can have.

The Boniecka family has always been close, bonded by a move to Canada from their native Poland, an ocean away from relatives and friends. But until his sudden death a few years ago, Ania always thought of herself as more of a daddy’s girl. Suddenly Ania’s relationship with her mother shifted—and so did her entire life. A role reversal began to take place as Ania found herself caring for the woman who had always cared for her. To be near, Ania and her husband moved into a condo one floor below where Maria lived, and they began including her in every aspect of their lives. And while Maria is still very much Ania’s mother—see: the way she lovingly scolds her—the dynamic has shifted, as daughter becomes protector, caregiver, friend.

When Kyle moved to a new town for university, he joined the local rugby club as a way to make some friends in a strange place. One of the first people he met was Zach, a local guy who welcomed him into the fraternity with open arms. They first bonded as teammates, but their friendship blossomed off the field. They hung out all the time and Zach began inviting Kyle over to his family home, where they shared dinner with his parents and little brother, which reminded Kyle of his own family far away. And although they’ve moved on from that season of life—both men have homes of their own now and they don’t play rugby anymore—they’ve stayed close and consider each other brothers for life.

A few years ago, Berty was a church intern in need of a place to live in a city far from his home in Indonesia. Nancy was the empty nester who, along with her husband, opened her home to a stranger. Growing up, she’d always been taught to be generous. Over the two years that Berty lived at Nancy’s there were countless heart-to-heart chats, especially as he started wondering if he should turn his growing Instagram account into a career. Over and over, Nancy would respond: “If the door opens and you don’t go through it, what was the point of the door opening?” She was one of his biggest champions, celebrating every step of his journey to becoming a professional photographer. She’s also the person who encouraged him to propose to his girlfriend—and whenever the couple comes through town, they know they have somewhere to stay.

For Lauren, Mark is her dad, outdoor mentor and best friend. They share a sense of adventure, and spent many weekends and vacations growing up exploring the outdoors together. They’re never happier than when they’re off on a trail together somewhere, sometimes talking, sometimes not. As a dad, Mark’s goal was to instill the same love of being outside in his daughters as his own dad had put in him. And although they don’t live in the same city anymore, both Mark and Laura know that whenever the other one calls, they’re ready to go, up for yet another adventure together.

When they were in 4th grade, Mara and Gillian moved onto the same street and they’ve been best friends ever since. Growing up, they spent more time at each other’s houses than they did at home, and it’s a friendship that has stood the test of moving away for college, different career paths and the transition into adulthood. This sisterhood is comfortable, worn in after many years of shared experiences, laughter and embarrassing memories.

If you didn’t know better, you’d assume that Tommy and Gwilym are brothers. Yes, they’re both redheads, but it’s more the way they are together. Teasing, laughing, always at ease.  

In fact, they only met a few years ago. Tommy was just getting into modelling and social media, and Gwilym, who’d been in the business for a few years, took on the role of mentor. For Tommy, Gwilym was a respite from the insular world of professional athletes. For Gwilym, Tommy was one of the first friends he made when he moved to a new city. Their lives are now entwined in the way that two brothers might be: They’re business partners, trusting each other implicitly but still bickering about cleaning the house they share. Most poignantly of all, Gwilym says that the closeness he experiences with Tommy fills a void that his own family has never been able to.