Does it matter where the world’s tallest moose sculpture is located? For the last few years, civic leaders in the Canadian city Moose Jaw and the Norwegian municipality Stor-Elvdal would say yes, for they spent several years engaged in a friendly war of words over their respective sculptures.
A tale of two moose
Up until 2015, the Moose Jaw sculpture “Mac the Moose” had no rivals to the title of world’s tallest moose, standing 9.8 meters (32.15 feet) tall. But then Stor-Elvdal unveiled its 10.1 meter (33.1 feet) tall moose, dressed in eye-catching shimmering silver. It attracts the attention of passing motorists, many of whom stop at the rest area for a closer look.
But it also caught the attention of the Mayor of Moose Jaw. “What is at stake is Canada’s national pride. We can’t lose it because of a moose,” said Moose Jaw’s Mayor Fraser Tolmie to CTV News. “Mac is like family to me, and to everyone in Moose Jaw. So this is personal for us,” he added.
New antlers make the difference for Canada
While the comments were of course tongue-in-cheek, local residents and businesses took up the challenge laid down by two Saskatchewan-based YouTubers Justin and Greg to reclaim the title. The successful campaign to raise $50,000 for the necessary work was boosted by a $25,000 donation from local firm Moosehead Breweries, Canada’s oldest independent brewery.
To reclaim the title, it was decided to give Mac a new set of antlers. Local taxidermist Rion White along with colleagues and friends volunteered to build the antlers. He told CBC that although the work had taken much longer than expected, he was pleased with the end result: “I’m super proud and I can drive by this highway all the time and say, ‘I had a part of that.'”
An amicable resolution
Mac the Moose now stands 10.36 meters (34 feet) tall. Despite one artist’s desire to build a 20 meter tall moose clad in gold, it now appears the feud has come to an end. Moose Jaw’s Mayor Fraser Tolmie and Stor-Evdal’s Deputy Mayor Linda Otnes Henriksen have signed a Mooserandum of Understanding to end the friendly feud.
The declaration confirms Mac as the world’s tallest moose, but it declares the silver Stor-Elvdal moose to be declared the shiniest and the prettiest moose in the world.
There is a more serious side to the agreement though, as the two municipalities agree to future cooperation. Among other things, the Norwegian municipality will hold a Canada Day celebration, while Moose Jaw will mark Norway’s constitution day.
However, at the time of writing the official website of the Norwegian moose doesn’t seem to be accepting the decision, declaring it to be the world’s tallest. Perhaps this friendly feud isn’t quite over yet?
Publicity worth millions
The feud attracted significant international media attention and it was covered on the Stephen Colbert Show. The American presenter made his feelings clear live on air: “Norway’s got the T-1000 Terminator moose, and Canada has a papier mache dog from an abandoned theme park,” said Colbert.
Still, Moose Jaw had the last laugh. According to a study published by the Moose Jaw Independent, that publicity was worth “millions” and led to the city winning an award at the annual Economic Development Association of Canada (EDAC) conference. The city was given the award for best marketing material in the “Event” category.