How Chris Hadfield's flight suit landed in thrift store by mistake

Astronaut Chris Hadfield's son answers the vexing question about how his father's flight suit ended up in a Toronto thrift store.

Suit purchased at thrift store was meant to be donated on loan to a science centre

Closeup of the flight suit once worn by astronaut Chris Hadfield, which Dr. Julie Lynn Wong found in a Toronto thrift store. (CBC)

Ever lost anything during a move? Chris Hadfield has.

Now the astronaut's son, Evan Hadfield, has answered the vexing question about how his father's flight suit ended up in a Toronto thrift store.

"We accidentally donated the wrong box to charity on our move back to Canada, it appears," Evan Hadfield wrote to an inquisitive Reddit commenter. 

Dr. Julielynn Wong recently stumbled upon Hadfield's flight suit in a second-hand store on Queen Street West and bought it for $40. 

"My jaw just dropped. I said, 'I can't believe it,'" Wong said. The suit is the same one Hadfield appears in on the back cover of his book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.

Dr. Julielynn Wong, right, poses in the flight suit once worn by astronaut Chris Hadfield, which she found in a Toronto thrift store. (Emily Chung/CBC, CBC)

For 26 years, Chris Hadfield, a Sarnia, Ont., native, was living outside of Canada — in Russia and the U.S. — building a career operating the Canadarm in orbit, becoming the first Canadian to walk in space and rising to fame aboard the International Space Station.

He captured the public's attention with pictures and short videos, which included a zero-gravity performance of the David Bowie song Space Oddity

Hadfield, 55, moved back to Canada in 2013 and settled in Toronto with his wife, Helene, after retiring from the Canadian Space Agency. They have three children — Evan, Kristin and Kyle. 

"We're not even sure which box it was that got donated," Evan Hadfield said, but he joked about the mix-up.

"Moving 20+ years worth of stuff from Texas to Toronto immediately after returning from space has a way of losing track of some things."

Hadfield's space memorabilia was meant to be used for learning purposes.

"Our intention had been to loan it to a science centre, with all the other memorabilia of his," Evan Hadfield said. "Regardless, I hope it still finds its way there somehow."

Wong attends the Challenger Learning Centre at the Ontario Science Centre for space science education, so the suit may coincidentally end up serving its intended purpose after all.

With files from Lorenda Reddekopp

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