Lululemon founder buys ecologically unique Canadian island for 'future generations'

The former yoga apparel boss is donating the untouched land to a local conservation charity

The founder of yoga fashion brand lululemon athletica has purchased a remote Canadian island, and helped conservationists to buy a second island in the same archipelago, in a bid to preserve the area's ecosystems.

Chip Wilson purchased the tiny island of Saturnina in British Columbia, off the coast of Vancouver; an isle that's home to rare coastal Douglas firs.

Some of the trees on the island are more than 400 years old and the land is also a critical habitat for many endangered or threatened species.

Wilson, who is Canadian, told The Guardian he had been interested in the islands since he saw Vancouver's Stanley Park years ago and recognised that someone had been smart enough to save it.

He told the UK newspaper that if he got the chance, he would want to do the same.

Wilson purchased Saturnina Island, in the Strait of Georgia, to donate to the BC Parks Foundation.

In an Instagram post, the foundation said the island was "for future generations".

Wilson's foundation also matched funds raised by a local high school to help the BC Parks Foundation to purchase West Ballenas Island in the same Canadian waters.

The conservation charity began campaigning to save West Ballenas Island last year when it was listed for sale by an agency that specialises in island purchases.

Home to many important and fragile endangered species, it was the last privately owned island in the archipelago of 19.

That island was listed for $2.2m, but BC Parks Foundation was able to purchase it for a reduced price of $1.7m. The charity has plans to create a marine park linking several of the islands.

The entrepreneur and his wife, Shannon, also donated money to help the charity purchase a large piece of a third nearby island called Lasqueti. In total, the family foundation has spent upwards of C$4 million ($3.2m) in land purchases across the three islands, which will now be managed by the BC Parks Foundation.

Father-of-five Wilson is the founder of lululemon athletica and Westbeach Snowboard apparel, and is widely renowned as being one of the first major players in the multibillion-dollar athleisure retail category.

Updated: July 1st 2021, 3:08 PM
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