The White Hat

The White Hat


The white hat was originally produced by Smithbilt in the 1940’s and is the iconic symbol for the City of Calgary.  The white hat symbolizes the spirit of Calgary and is often copied but never duplicated.  As the official manufacturer of the Calgary White Hat, we are proud to continue this tradition and will never compromise on the quality or integrity of the famous Calgary symbol.

White hats are available in fur felt, wool felt and straw.  The straw is manufactured under agreement in Mexico and the felt hats are made in our Calgary factory.  In an effort to maintain the quality of the Calgary White Hat, these hats may only be purchased from Tourism Calgary or directly from us. Never settle for anything but the true Calgary made hat that is famous throughout the world.


For more than 60 years, Calgarians have welcomed visitors by presenting them with white hats in a lively ceremony that can be arranged through Tourism Calgary.

Mayor Bronconnier

Former Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier

The first cowboy hat was made by John B. Stetson in 1863 to protect himself from the weather of the American West. Working cowboys quickly adopted Stetson's hardy hat, and the North West Mounted Police switched to a version of it when their pillbox hats proved inadequate for conditions in the Canadian West. In 1946, Calgary hatmaker Morris Shumiatcher of Smithbilt Hats introduced the first pure white cowboy hat, using felt imported from Russia.

In 1948, the Calgary Stampeders won a chance to compete for the highest honour in Canadian football, the Grey Cup.

A special train carried 250 excited Calgary fans and entertainers, a chuckwagon, and 12 horses to Toronto for the game against Ottawa. Many fans wore Shumiatcher's white hats, and the Mayor of Toronto was presented with one.

A Calgary alderman, Don MacKay, was on that legendary trip East. A born promoter, MacKay began presenting white hats to visiting dignitaries after he became Mayor of Calgary in 1950, and a tradition was born. It was continued by the Calgary Motel Association during the late 1950s, and today Tourism Calgary oversees the presentation of thousands of white hats to visitors each year.



city calgary logo

Smithbilt is proud to be the official white hat maker for the City of Calgary.

We supply three different white hats for Tourism Calgary and the Mayor's office.




Some of the celebrities who have received the Smithbilt White Hat



Luciano Pavarotti
Opera Icon

George Bush

George Bush
US President


Rudy Giullani
Former Mayor of New York

dalai lama

Dalai Lama
Tibetan Buddhist Leader

David Johnston

David Johnston
Governor General of Canada

Princess Margret

Princess Margret

Paul Gross

Paul Gross

Tasha de Vasconcelos

Tasha de Vasconcelos
International Super Model

Tracey Kelusky

Tracey Kelusky
Former Roughnecks Captain

Webber Academy

Webber Academy Graduates

Aerosmith • Bryan Adams • Mario Andretti • Barenaked Ladies • Clint Black • The Beach Boys
Bill Clinton • Bill Cosby • Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young • Robert Duvall • Bob Dylan
Prince Edward, Earl of Essex • Foo Fighters • Gene Hackman • Mark Holmes
Governor General Michaëlle Jean • KISS • Diana Krall • Robin Leach • Ang Lee
David Letterman • Jack Nichlaus • Greg Norman • Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh
Vladimir Putin • Maurice "Rocket" Richard • The Rolling Stones • Arnold Schwarzenegger
Bruce Springsteen • ZZ Top • ACDC • Kevin Costner • Wayne Gretzky • Oprah Winfrey
Tony Blair • Janet Jackson • Mickey Mouse • Willie Nelson • Pope John Paul II

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