World's tallest garden gnome in B.C. closer to finding a new home
A shortlist of potential new homes has been released for a nearly eight-metre-tall gnome statue in Nanoose Bay.
"Howard," the giant statue recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest garden gnome, has stood at the side of the Island Highway in the small Vancouver Island community for the last 21 years.
The statue was originally built as a mascot for an amusement park that once operated at the same location. It was sold, but the gnome stood pat as the gas station moved in.
Earlier this month, the owners of the Chevron station told the family of the man who built it they wanted to dismantle it for legal reasons.
That sparked a race to find the gnome a home.
"We want to find him a new home, somewhere people can still visit him, take photos with him," said Bridget Matewish, the granddaughter of Ron Hale, who erected the statue. "We don’t want to see him torn down and thrown out."
Interest poured in from around not only Vancouver Island, but across B.C. and beyond.
Matewish said the family wanted the statue to be placed somewhere public and prominent, so others could enjoy Howard's friendly face.
She told CTV News on Tuesday that the family received hundreds of options after making their appeal.
Now, the family has narrowed it down to five potential new homes. They are:
- Sayward Whitewater Resort
- Coombs Antique Store
- The Log Cabin General Store (Parksville)
- Fast Time Grand Prix (Parksville)
- Galey Farms (Saanich)
Matewish said the locations made the shortlist because they are family-focused businesses .
"Everybody that we've chosen is either really nice and close, or has some tie to family-driven business, a lot of families visit where he's going to be viewed by children and families," she said.
The gnome has attracted attention from other high-profile people in the area, like mid-island resident and Sex in the City actress Kim Cattrall.
Cattrall issued a statement in March to show her support for Howard remaining in the area.
"It would be sad to see him go. He has waved us on for countless years. Our Nanoose Bay gnome," she said.
The Guinness Book of World Records officially recognized the gnome as the world’s largest on Aug. 19, 2009. It stands at 7.91 metres in length.