‘Don’t mess with Mac’: International face-off over moose statues

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'Don't mess with Mac': International face-off over moose statues

Image copyright David S Troyer/Instagram
Image caption Mac the Moose stares down Norway's Storelgen

Since 1984, residents of Moose Jaw have had one big thing about which they could boast: Mac the Moose.

The Canadian city was long the proud owner of the world's tallest moose statue, a 9.75m (32-foot) steel-framed creature, covered with metal mesh and cement.

But a few years ago, a slightly taller moose statue was erected in Norway, beating Mac's record by some 30cm.

Now, Moose Jaw has launched a campaign to reclaim the crown.

"We're considered to be very mannerly and respectful, but there are things you just don't do to Canadians," Fraser Tolmie, mayor of the prairie town, told the BBC.

"You don't mess with Mac the Moose."

Norway's Storelgen, or "Big Moose", stands on a highway partway between Norway's capital of Oslo and the city of Trondheim.

It was built in 2015 by artist Linda Bakke in partnership with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration in an effort to reduce traffic accidents.

According to an article that appeared in the Daily Scandinavian, Ms Bakke felt it was "important that the elk was made higher than Mac the Moose".

Image copyright Courtesy Fraser Tolmie
Image caption Moose Jaw Mayor Fraser Tolmie says 'don't mess with Mac'

Mr Tolmie was recently alerted to the loss of the crown by Saskatchewan YouTubers Justin and Greg, who posted a video in January urging the city to add 31cm to Mac or to rename the city simply "Jaw".

The mayor said the city has since fielded a number of suggestions from residents on how to add to Mac's height.

"There's even been a suggestion about stilettos," he said, but noted the most popular suggestion so far has been to "give Mac a bigger rack" of antlers.

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The city's tourism department claims Mac remains one of the most photographed roadside attractions in Canada.

A Facebook poll by Norwegian online newspaper Dagbladet, posted on Thursday, has Canada's Mac in the lead as the favourite moose statue among 60% of more than 20,000 online voters.

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