Over the years, Don and Michael have received numerous awards and accolades
for their work in creating and directing such a highly respected brand.
Born in the United States in 1946, Michael Budman attended elementary and high school in his hometown of
Detroit, Michigan. In 1968, he graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Communications.
In 1956, while still living in Detroit, Michael began attending Camp Tamakwa in Canada’s world famous Algonquin
Park, north of Toronto. It marked the start of his lifelong love for Algonquin Park, celebrated for its unspoiled
wilderness and natural beauty. Over a 13-year period, Michael spent his summers at Tamakwa as a counselor,
canoeing instructor and camp director. It had a strong influence on Michael, contributing greatly to his attraction to
Canada. In 1969, he moved to Toronto where he taught history at a local high school.
In 1973, Michael and fellow Tamakwan and former Detroiter Don Green founded Roots Canada. They first thought
of the idea and did the initial planning for the business in Algonquin Park in 1972.
In 1981, while living in France where he was overseeing the European operations of Roots, Michael helped
establish Paris Passion, the acclaimed city magazine that was published until 1991. He was Executive Publisher of
Passion, which covered contemporary Paris life, French culture, the arts, entertainment, literature, design,
architecture, style, fashion and politics.
In addition, Michael has been involved in numerous cultural and entertainment events. He has served as an
advisor on several films and music productions while Roots has sponsored many arts-oriented initiatives in
Canada and the United States including the Toronto International Film Festival and the Comedy Festival in Aspen.
Through both Roots and personally, Michael has long supported many community-related causes, charities and
organizations, especially those involved in helping the environment and children. Among his most recent
contributions, Michael is an active supporter and Board Member of Right to Play, an organization founded by speed
skater Johann Koss dedicated to improving the lives of underprivileged children around the world through sport.
Michael is also a Board Member of Waterkeeper Alliance, founded by Bobby Kennedy Jr. to protect rivers and lakes
in Canada and the United States. Over the years, Roots has been a leader in the retail industry in Canada with its
commitment to environmental matters, literacy campaigns and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle.
Michael is an avid athlete, active in many sports. He is married to Diane Bald, a highly successful Toronto–born
architect who has played a vital role in the development of Roots. They live in Toronto and maintain a cabin in Algonquin Park.
Born in the United States in 1949, Don Green attended elementary and high school in his hometown of Detroit,
Michigan. He majored in history at Michigan State University and lived in Jamaica for two years in the late 1960s.
In 1964, while still living in Detroit, Don first became familiar with Canada when he began attending Camp
Tamakwa, north of Toronto. Situated in Algonquin Park, Tamakwa is famous around the world for its unspoiled
wilderness and natural beauty. Don was both a camper and staff member at Tamakwa, which marked the start of
his lifelong love for Algonquin Park. His time there had a strong influence on Don and his attraction to Canada.
In 1972, he moved to Toronto.
In 1973, Don and fellow Tamakwan and former Detroiter Michael Budman founded Roots Canada. As Don and
Michael were laying the groundwork for their new business, one aspect was proving especially elusive. They did
not yet have a name for their soon-to-be-launched natural footwear company. In an auspicious moment, Don
happened to be flipping through a friend’s biology textbook when the word ‘roots’ caught his eye. He liked its
natural, earthy meaning. After all, he said at the time, “Your feet really are your roots, as they’re connected to the
ground like a tree is.” Michael also liked the sound and look of the word, and what it evoked. Soon after, they chose
Roots as the name, and they’re glad they did given its timeless strength and appeal.
Through both Roots and personally, Don has long supported many causes, charities and organizations involved in
environmental and other community-related initiatives. They range from Waterkeeper Alliance to Right To Play,
from the Jane Goodall Institute to the Canadian Red Cross. The beneficiaries also include a wide variety of
projects related to hospitals, amateur sports, health and education.
Don has also supported and been involved in many cultural initiatives over the years. In the 1980s, he was
Co-Executive Publisher of Paris Passion, an innovative English-language magazine in France. Roots has
sponsored various arts-related activities in Canada and the United States including the Toronto International Film
Festival, Luminato Arts Festival (Toronto), Idea City (Toronto) and the Comedy Festival in Aspen.
For decades, Roots has been a leader in the retail industry in Canada with its commitment to environmental
matters, literacy campaigns and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. Roots has worked with environmental groups
such as the Canadian Wildlife Federation, the David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defense, Friends of the
Earth, the Evergreen Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund and the Toronto Green Awards. In 1990, Don cowrote the
foreword to Preserving Our World: An Environmental Call to Action, by Warner Troyer.
Don is an avid athlete, active in fitness-related activities and many sports. He is married to Quebec-born Denyse
Tremblay, a yoga instructor who has played an active role in the evolution of Roots, they live in Toronto and have a cabin in Algonquin Park close to Tamakwa.