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Ray Wohlford does not look like your typical celebrity. But as Greg Groat explains, his reputation and work speak for themselves in Canada and amongst Hollywood’s trendy set

F YOU make them, they will come”—celebrities, that is. To name a few—Alyssa Milano, Sarah MacLaughlin, James Spader, Cindy Crawford, Brendan Fraser, Gary Sinese, Sharon Stone, Harry Connick Jr, Kurt Russell, Lorenzo Lamas, Greg Evigan and Daryl Hannah—are proud Dayton product owners.
   Dayton has been a tradition for years in Canada, recently coming to light as a result of the Robin Williams starrer, Jumanji. The movie was shot in Vancouver, BC and required a scene at the beginning of the film depicting a shoe factory. The call went out to local celebrity, Ray Wohlford.
   Wohlford is the owner of Dayton Boots and it’s understood that if you need expertise in the boot and custom shoe areas, he is the person to call. Initially, he was asked for his assistance in creating a realistic boot factory to be used on the movie set. After spending some time with Ray, the movie crew asked him if they could be fitted with Daytons.
   It wasn't long before Dayton began to receive enquiries from celebrities. The reputation of Dayton had circulated in the celebrity world as it had in Canada.
   Today, Dayton is often asked to go to the film locations for fittings. Celebrities have also been known to visit the store (in disguise), to be fitted for their new boots and shoes. There are presently over 50 different styles.
   For years, the Dayton boot and shoe line has been a staple in Canadian fashion as well as in the work community. Various lines of apparel are also available, such as shirts and jackets, enhancing the durable reputation of the Dayton brand.
   Dayton was established by Ray’s grandfather, Charlie Wohlford, in 1946. Word of mouth about its consistent quality has been the strength for continuing years of growth. The word Dayton in Canada is synonymous with boot, to the point of entering the Canadian vernacular and becoming (perhaps dangerously for the Dayton brand) a generic term like Kleenex and Xerox.
   The shop and product line continue to grow. Dayton may be visited online at, or visit 2250 Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V5L 1V4, Canada. Telephone 1 604 253-6671, fax 1 604 253-8163.
G R E G   G R O A T

Greg Groat is based in Vancouver, BC and a guest contributor to Lucire.

Above: Dayton's wall is littered with autographed photographs from celebrities thanking owner Ray Wohlford and his staff for their work. Shown are Alyssa Milano (top centre) and one from Jumanji (bottom left). Below: Local celebrity Ray Wohlford, owner of Dayton Shoes, in the company's factory.

Dayton fashion show: writer–photographer Groat attended Dayton's fashion show on November 27 where its range of shoes and boots and other lines were modelled.
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