Moose Truce: The Moose Jaw-Norway Connection
It’s been quite the year for our old Mac! Starting with an article in the Big Game Canada magazine/social media, local personalities Justin & Greg learned the sad truth that Mac was no longer the tallest moose in the world. They weren’t willing to take this sitting down, so they issued a challenge to our city and Mayor to take this matter on and do something about it! The challenge was issued, and citizens in Moose Jaw, all over Canada and around the world took on Mac’s cause.
The Norwegians’ moose, Stor-Elgen (which means Big Elk) stands 31 centimetres taller than our Mac, and their people were quite happy to remind us of that! A very fun, very public “feud” developed, resulting in tying the communities of Stor-Elvdal, Norway and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan together forever.
The people and businesses of Moose Jaw have banded together to ensure enough volunteer efforts and donations were contributed to begin a plan to make Mac the tallest again! Concentric Engineering, Orion Taxidermy, Messer, Sask PolyTech, Strictly Fences, Cork King, Sask Eco Solutions, Evans Excavating, Chris Robert (local engineer) and Steady Metalworks have all volunteered their abilities and donated much of the material required to put Mac back on top. With local business donations from Moose Jaw Co-op, the staff of Temple Gardens Mineral Spa, Little Chicago Entertainment, Sycamore Energy, Western Auto Group, Moose Jaw Ford, Ultimate Auto Detailing, GoFundMe, Murray GM and Service Master Moose Jaw and more than 150 personal donations from all over the world, Mac was well on his way!
Then one day, we received a call from Moosehead Breweries, a family-owned brewery from Nova Scotia and Canada’s oldest independent brewery. They wanted to help us — in a big way! We hosted a memorable press event and received one giant cheque in the amount of $25,000! We are still in shock from this as well as the outpouring of support from so many people around the world.
We know Mac is special. He might not win any beauty awards, but he has stood as guardian of our city for 35 years. He has harkened road-weary travellers to stop for a moment, grab a picture with the friendly character, and encourage them to take a longer rest and enjoy the sights and sounds of Moose Jaw. He has served his city so well that it was befitting to grant him a little makeover.
To everyone who supported us — THANK YOU! We couldn’t believe Mac was making news on CNN, BBC, national television, the London Times, the Washington Post, New York Times, and so much more. But really, 150,000 people a year can’t be wrong. And to the Stephen Colberts of the world, who took joy in making fun of our Mac, we say THANK YOU! You helped keep the spotlight on our moose for a really, really long time.
It’s been an incredible experience for all of us. We made lifelong friends with the Linda Henricksen, Deputy Mayor of Stor-Elvdal, Norway. We gained exposure for this city that we love so dearly. It’s something we will never forget as caretakers of Moose Jaw’s Moose. Saskatchewan’s Moose. Canada’s Moose. Your moose.
Writing & photos courtesy of Tourism Moose Jaw