Canada, Norway lock horns over world's biggest moose

Canadian mayor considering putting hat on statue

By ROB PICHETA, CNN
CNN

(CNN) - A Canadian mayor says he is considering putting a hat on his town's statue of a moose, after affronted residents discovered that it is no longer the world's tallest.

The unofficial title of "world's tallest moose statue" was snatched from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in 2015, when a sculpture 30 centimeters (12 inches) taller was erected in Norway.

But locals only realized their town's inadequacy this week, when resident Justin Reves set up a crowdfunding campaign urging donors to help reclaim the crown for their figure, called Mac.

"The Norwegians deliberately and intentionally stole the title from us with the creation of 'Storelgen' -- an ostentatious chrome moose made to be exactly 30 cm taller than Mac," Reves wrote in the appeal.

"We believe it is our duty as Canadians to not stand idly by while our national treasures are insulted with this creation," he added.

Moose on hockey skates?

The ensuing crisis has led to Moose Jaw's mayor, Fraser Tolmie, promising he will "restore honor" to Canada, and asking residents how best to make their 32-foot-high statue taller.

"My message is very clear -- we're going to take the crown back," Tolmie told CNN. "It's a challenge that we're going to face head on."

Tolmie says he has received support from across the province since posting a video on Facebook, in which he asks locals for advice.

"There have been suggestions about putting a hat on him," Tolmie said, while others have floated the idea of placing Mac on hockey skates.

But his efforts were met with defiance by the deputy mayor of Stor-Elvdal, the municipality in which Norway's bigger, shinier moose is located.

"Sorry to disappoint you guys. We are going to continue our work to make sure that our moose is the biggest moose in the world, for many years to come," Linda Otnes Henriksen said in a video made by Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.

'Bigger than Brexit'

The transatlantic moose war is likely to escalate on Monday, when, Tolmie says, a decision will be made on how to make Mac taller.

Tolmie told CNN that the issue is "bigger than Brexit" to Moose Jaw residents, and insists his city is a more fitting location for the world's tallest statue.

"Our city is named Moose Jaw, so we're very, very closely linked with moose," he said, adding: "I just don't see the connection between Norway and moose. I really don't."

Moose Jaw's statue was built in 1984, and the city claims he is "one of the most photographed roadside attractions in Canada."

Norway's more modern, metallic sculpture -- named Storelgen, or "the big elk" -- was built between Oslo and Trondheim in 2015. "It is my understanding that they purposely went out to build a bigger moose than ours," Tolmie said.

CNN has approached Henriksen for comment.

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