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Canadian Fashion Designer Opens Doors Locally

Valarie Migdley sews custom order gowns at the Whole Nine Yards
Valarie Migdely sews custom order gowns at the Whole Nine Yards.

Valarie Midgley is back in Thunder Bay from Toronto after helping create Stage costumes for shows such as The Producers, Mama Mia and the Lion King. The Westgate graduate left home to study fashion design at Sheridan College, then spent six years working in the film and theatre industry.

“I went to (Toronto to) do what I had to do,” she says. “I sewed with some of the best people in the business. Then it was time to come home where housing is affordable, people are friendly and there’s a great quality of life.”

Not only did Valarie gain terrific experience with Mervish Productions in Toronto, she also provided her expertise for the recent film release Beowulf. In July 2005, she opened The Whole Nine Yards between Court and St. Paul Streets.

“I am a big supporter and advocate of showing the positive side of Thunder Bay.” Her creations include everything from bridal to a “barely legal risqué” line. She also has a line of fleece and microfleece targeted at dance schools and a women’s industrial clothing line she plans to manufacture here and sell via the internet (

Valarie is passionate about a growing interest in Canadianmade fashion and encouraging people to support local “self-made” businesses to keep dollars – and jobs – in Thunder Bay. “I wake up smiling every day.”