VANCOUVER, B.C. — The only thing more sought after than gold medals at these Olympics? Gloves.
All of Canada is smitten for red mittens. The rest of the world, too.
More than pins, or Team Canada hockey jerseys or hoodies, the red, knit Vancouver 2010 mittens with the white maple leaf on the palm are the red-hot collectible from these Winter Games. The mittens, which retail for $10, and were featured prominently in Friday night's opening ceremony, worn by all five honorary torch bearers, are everywhere in Vancouver.
The only place they're not is on the shelves at some stores in the city after being completely bought out.
The Main Press Center retail center at Canada Place sold out of its stock Saturday, and on Sunday, hordes of shoppers could be seen at various Hudson Bay stores snatching up the mitts.
At a Richmond Mall, south of Vancouver, the rush to the glove rack at The Bay — one of Hudson's stores — resembled a stampede when the store opened for business.
Hudson's Bay has offered the gloves at its stores throughout Canada since the fall. According to a report in The New York Times, the company originally hoped to sell 1 million pairs of the gloves, but as of last week had already sold 2.6 million and said the new goal is 3 million.
The last shipment of the gloves went out to stores last week, with some shipments not even reaching shelves before selling out.
“I do know people who don't have them, but most people I know have bought them,” said Kathryn Moore, a Vancouver local who said she bought her red mittens a few weeks ago.
When asked what the appeal was, Moore said the gloves are “a practical Canada thing.”
Chantelle Munro, of nearby Abbotsford, said she got her gloves on Sunday as a Valentine's gift from her husband. She said there were still plenty left on the shelf at the Abbotsford Bay store, but she was having a hard time finding a red Team Canada T-shirt, one of the other ubiquitous items in Vancouver.
“It's a good accessory, and it shows on either side of your jacket, so if it's colder out, you can still show you're a proud Canadian,” she said.