A Toronto Moose even farther afield

Speaking of the Toronto Moose, I’m reminded of my experience with Bay Street Moose a few years ago. He originally stood in the concrete meadow at the corner of King and Bay, where I passed him every day on the streetcar for six months. Of all the moose I saw on my daily travels, he was both the most familiar and my favourite. When he was finally carted away in the autumn of 2000, I figured I’d never see him again. Fast forward to July 2001: I was in the Netherlands on a business trip and had the weekend to do some quick exploring. I took the train to The Hague and decided to stroll through the city in the general direction of the Binnenhof and Queen Bea’s office. I ventured down a tree-lined path between two streets and discovered an outdoor exhibition of various sculptures from around the world. The sculptures ranged from interesting to weird, and my mouth dropped to the ground when I spotted my old friend standing proudly among them:

Bay Street Moose in The Hague, 2001

It was jarring to see a piece of my daily Toronto life on display 6,000 km away, where I happened to find it because I wanted a bit of shade on a sunny day. I gave him a pat, took a couple of pictures, and shook my head all the way home.

A Toronto Moose ventures far afield

Toronto Moose at Primitive Designs

Last seen in their native habitat in Y2K, the Toronto Moose continue to pop up in all kinds of unexpected places. This one guards the tiki huts, (fake) palm trees, and teak carvings of…Port Hope? Standing guard at the entrance to Primitive Designs in Port Hope, this moose migrated here by way of Pickering, where it resided for a number of years before being bought earlier this year by Primitive Designs owner Ron Dacey. Unfortunately, I can’t tell which moose this was; I can’t find a matching mug shot in the City of Toronto’s mooseum gallery. Either it’s one of the missing portraits or (more likely) it’s been repainted since leaving the big city.

Ron wasn’t around when I popped by for a visit this week, but staff were split 2-1 on whether the moose was even for sale, never mind the asking price. Majority opinion was that Ron likes it too much to sell it just yet. But everything has a price, especially in retail.

Related: A number of Toronto Moose still dot the city. I’ve written about two of them.


The once proud Toronto Moose, now relegated to playing bit parts in off-Bayview productions

It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since Toronto was overrun by Moose in the City. Why, I remember it like it was ten years ago…

There are still a few moose dotting the city in various states of disrepair, but you can almost see the sadness in this one’s eyes as he gazes back on his glory days as a tourist attraction from his current position as a Halloween prop near the corner of Bayview and Moore. Hang in there, buddy; Halloween’s here in a week and I’m sure you won’t have to wear any silly Christmas costumes afterward. Besides, this getup is much more dignified than the one Google Street View caught you in. They didn’t even have the courtesy to blur your face.

Mooseter Science

Time Moose Scape goes dumpster diving

You remember the Moose in the City, don’t you? For six glorious months in 2000 more than three hundred moose statues stood watch over Toronto, succesfully saving us from the shame of having flying pigs instead. Although some locals didn’t fully appreciate the fibreglass wildlife, I’d rather have the moose than any of the subsequent visitors to our fair city, including aphids, SARS, and Chilean soccer players.

Rudolph the red-nosed mooseMost of the moose had disappeared by the end of the year, but a few can still be found on display around the city. I recently stumbled upon this poor fellow behind the Ontario Science Centre, covered in dust and jammed up against a wall behind piles of discarded shipping pallets and recycling bins, begging for some dignity in retirement.

Time Moose Scape began life sponsored by none other than the very organization that callously threw him outside like so much trash. Oh, he tried to stay on their good side by getting a new paint job, donning a new suit and bow tie, trimming off his gangly antlers, and even going so far as to have a giant red clown nose surgically attached to his snout. It was all for naught. More enamoured by the latest plastination and big boat toys, Time’s masters cruelly cast the gritty seven-year-old out into the world to fend for himself.

Like any abandoned child, Time has remained close to the only home he’s ever known, scrounging for food and affection in the nearby recycling bins, eventually settling among the empty water bottles and flattened cardboard boxes. But despite the hard turns his life has taken, he keeps a smile on his face. That big red nose could have become a mark of his failure, but Time has chosen to wear it as a badge of courage. It proudly proclaims that one day he will be back among the adoring children inside.

A version of this article originally appeared on Torontoist.