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Where to Buy Swimwear Online in Canada: The Story Behind Sun Vixen Swimwear

The question I get asked the most is “Why did you start Sun Vixen Swimwear and what makes the company different?”

Opal answers the question where to buy swimwear online Canada
Opal Hurteau | Founder Sun Vixen Swimwear

The answer is simple, but also complex, so I decided to finally write down the story. Let me know if anything here resonates with you by leaving a comment below. And if there’s anything you want to ask me, please do.


Growing up I spent summers at the lake outside of Prince George, BC. I belong to a big family with 6 aunts and uncles, on my mom's side alone, and tons of cousins. We spent most of our summer in our bathing suits.

Ness Lake Prince George 1986
Ness Lake Prince George | My Uncle Julien's speed boat

I loved running to the end of the dock and jumping into the water. I would play in the water all day. I enjoyed water sports and spent a lot of time behind the boat. Summers for me were magical.

As I got older, my focus changed from the time at the lake with the family to trips abroad with friends. After my first trip to Europe in ninth grade, I became obsessed with traveling to new places.

Two Canadian women standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Me and my sister Shilo on our second trip to Europe in 1996

Since then I have explored many places throughout the world. I still adventure to new destinations every year. I usually choose places with beaches or hotels with world-class pools because I love to be near the water.

In my 20’s I began taking trips with friends to places like Miami and Las Vegas. Before we left my friends and I would talk about what bathing suits we were going to bring. We'd plan how much time we were going to spend at the beach or pool. Our conversations always included our frustrations about finding fashionable swimsuits for the trip. We all wanted to look our best in our bathing suits but we felt stuck for options.

Why was it so hard for us to find something that fit the bill? Sometimes girls' trips turn out to be more of a fashion competition than anything else. Have you experienced that?

two Canadian women wearing bikinis on the beach in Miami wondering where to buy swimwear online canda
Me with my girlfriend Christina in Miami 2006

Even so, I never wanted to be in last place when it came to my swimsuit or wardrobe choices. I doubt anyone wants to feel like the ugly duckling of the group when they’ve spent a few thousand dollars to go on a trip.



Throughout the years I continued to come up against this same challenge. Where to buy swimwear in Canada. As a Canadian, I felt there was a complete lack of options when it came to swimwear.

Often times I would turn to the USA to meet my needs, but that usually comes with added costs and risk. Exchange rate, shipping, duties, and return shipping costs can add up.

US Money paid for surprise duties and taxes after ordering swimwear online in the USA and having it shipped to Canada
As a Canadian, fees from shopping on US websites can add up quickly

They make the whole USA shopping experience a real bummer for us Canadians. I paid hefty fees to get a bikini I could feel good in.

As the years wore on, I began to see the swimwear scene change. More now than ever before, there seemed to be more options for beautiful swimwear. New brands and super high-quality swimsuits were popping up everywhere.

Agua Bendita Swimwear ad campaign 2011
Agua Bendita 2011

Usually, I would see all the great swimwear brands when I went on vacation. Why wasn’t I seeing these brands and styles in Canada, still, after all these years?

Throughout the years I continued to come up against this same challenge: Where to buy swimwear online Canada. As a Canadian, I felt there was a complete lack of options when it came to swimwear, especially online.

As my frustrations persisted, I finally decided I would look at starting my own company. This way, I could get to know the great swimwear brands. I could offer the best fitting, most fashionable swimsuits to my fellow Canadians.

Opal Hurteau of Sun Vixen Swimwear creates a store for canadians where to buy swimwear online canada
Me working on my laptop

After making the decision to start Sun Vixen Swimwear, I realized that it wasn't easy. I have high standards and I felt that what I offered had to be the absolute best you could get. I wanted to have a great selection of top designer swimwear brands for people to choose from.

I wanted to help people to find well-made, high-quality swimwear. Swimwear that's exotic and luxurious as the locations they traveled to. I wanted to help people find swimwear that inspired confidence. Swimwear that allowed them to feel relaxed so they could have fun and enjoy their time away. Somewhere to conveniently buy swimwear online in Canada.


When planning the details of the company, I decided that I wanted it to be e-commerce. The downward trend in retail and the decline of brick and mortar was undeniable.

The difficulty with e-commerce, I realized, was building trust with people. They need to feel comfortable buying from you.

Over the past 10 years as e-commerce has grown into the giant industry it has become today, trust has gone away. There have been a lot of fly-by-night businesses that have chipped away at consumer trust.

Most of us have experienced the frustration of ordering online and feeling stuck. Once your order comes it’s not as advertised. The company either doesn’t accept returns or expects you to pay the return shipping costs.

Trust in Canadian Companies like Sun vixen Swimwear who sells designer bathing suits online
Trust is the key to building an online business

In my view, the scale has tipped way too far for company profits at the expense of customer satisfaction.

Why does it feel so transactional when I’m spending my hard-earned money? Why does it feel like companies care more about profits than customers? I wanted to make sure that my customers do not feel the frustrations that I have felt.

a canadian woman shopping online for designer swimwear in canada
Shopping Online is the way of the future. It's convenient & efficient

Shopping online should make our lives easier, not more difficult. Customers shouldn't feel like they come behind company profitability. Without the customer, the company cannot exist.

Customers should always come first.



I knew that offering the best swimwear available must include great customer service. Drop shipping was not an option for me.

I know that spending $150 or $200 on a bathing suit isn't chump change. It's a real investment. That's why it should look like you spent that much when it arrives at your door.

A beautiful one-piece swimsuit shouldn't arrive in a cheap, plastic, self-sealing shipping envelope. You know the one that always arrives with dust and dirt all over it. Dirt from who-knows-where-it-came-from.

This was inconceivable to me.

That's why every swimsuit from Sun Vixen Swimwear comes in its own washable canvas bag. It's wrapped in gold paper that smells like the beach and topped off with a handwritten note.

Opal Hurteau of sun vixen swimwear writes a personalized note to her customers who purchase designer swimwear online from sun vixen swimwear in canada
Every order comes with a personalized hand written note

Finally, it's sealed in a white box that is not too big!

My pet peeve is receiving something I have ordered online in packaging that is way too big for the item I ordered. To me it seems wasteful.

Most important to me was to make sure customers feel cared for. They should receive exactly what they were expecting to get.

They should feel that they had made a good decision to spend their hard-earned money at my store. This is why I decided to offer free shipping and free returns.

If the swimwear I am offering is the best, then I should feel confident enough to offer free returns. And, if the size isn’t right, I want customers to feel comfortable exchanging it.

They shouldn't have to pay for shipping costs. Sometimes you don’t get it right on the first try when ordering online.


Above all else, I want you to exude confidence beyond what you have felt before when you try a swimsuit on. I know that when you invest in a quality swimsuit it can change the way you feel about yourself.

When a woman feels radiant and beautiful there's nothing like it.

woman from vancouver canada on vacation wearing her pilyq bikini from sun vixen swimwear online
Sun Vixen Swimwear customer on vacation in her new bikini

Swimwear has the ability to make you feel vulnerable. When a woman feels confident, that feeling radiates out into the world. It has a positive transformative effect on her and on the world around her.


Travel plans are what usually set the wheels in motion for you to look for a new swimsuit. You invest a great deal of energy in booking your vacation. You want to maximize your time away and relax in the confidence that your time and money were well spent.

The next time you go on vacation we hope you think of us. Does your current swimsuit match the look and feel of the destination you are traveling to? You booked a trip to a beautiful and luxurious location but, will you feel your absolute best when you get there?

Have you done everything to get the most enjoyment out of your travel plans? Is your swimwear worthy of your vacation destination?

Is your swimwear worthy of you?

If not, let us help you find something that is perfect for you so you can feel confident on your well-deserved vacation.


Why should you consider buying anything from us?