Date
24 May 2017
Canisters of Banff air for sale on Vitality Air's website. The firm is in talks with distributors in China. Photo: Vitality Air website
Canisters of Banff air for sale on Vitality Air's website. The firm is in talks with distributors in China. Photo: Vitality Air website

Canny Canadians sell canned air from Rockies to pollution-weary

Plagued by pollution? Sick of smog?

Two entrepreneurs are ready to sell you breathable air from the Canadian Rockies — in a can.

“Essentially we’re selling air,” Troy Paquette, one of Vitality Air’s Canadian co-founders, told the CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster.

“Clean, beautiful, fresh Banff mountain air.”

The idea came to Paquette and co-founder Moses Lam as a bit of a joke.

They chatted to some people who lived abroad in regions with lots of air pollution.

Paquette and Lam joked about packaging some fresh Canadian air and shipping it around the world so people could experience it.

They put up their first product — air from the Rockies resort of Banff in a taped-up Ziploc bag — on eBay.

It sold for 99 US cents.

They tried it again.

This time, a small bidding war started. The second bag sold for US$168.

Paquette and Lam decided to try to turn it into a legitimate business.

Now, canisters of air from Banff and Lake Louise, also a Rockies beauty spot, sell from US$15 to US$46, depending on the size.

Some of the canisters are sold to Canadians, but interest has also come from China, Iran, Afghanistan and other places abroad, Paquette said.

Beijing issued its first-ever red alert for air pollution this month. 

Paquette believes China’s air pollution has contributed to the spike in interest from that country.

“The air is just so bad that people just want it now,” Paquette says.

“They don’t want [only] one can.”

The duo, who both have day jobs outside the Edmonton-based company, have big plans.

The firm is in talks with distributors in China and in other countries who want to stock the product in stores.

And that’s no joke.

– Contact us at [email protected]

FL

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