Nanoose Bay, B.C. – Howard the gnome has a forever home.
The 25-foot tall statue has been a parked at the Nanoose Bay Chevron station for years.
But the search for a new home began after the Chevron station’s owners told the family that owns Howard that they wanted him taken apart for legal reasons.
Bridget Matewish, whose grandfather Ron Hale built Howard in 1997 for the family’s amusement park, said that after careful consideration, and many suitors, Howard is headed to Galey Farms, a family run business in Saanich.
“They have all the resources to repair him completely and restore him back to the original state,” Matewish said. “They also see a ton of families every year and they are a family establishment and we really felt like my grandparents would like that location the best.”
Matewish said it was a unanimous decision for the family to move Howard to the park.
“We all had a gut feeling about it,” she said.
Galey Farms has a pumpkin patch, hayrides, petting zoo, farm market – and now a giant gnome.
According to Matewish, Howard is going to become a garden gnome.
“He’s going to have jumbo mushrooms, he’s going to have jumbo hummingbirds, jumbo dragonflies… he’s going to have quite the experience.”
Howard is heading to his new home in the next two to four weeks.
“We’re going to start getting the wheels in motion in the next little bit, here,” Matewish said.
Speaking of wheels in motion, Howard comes in four pieces so he will be disassembled before being driven to Saanich. He detaches at the hat, head, body, and legs.
“He’s actually not too difficult to move, it’s just using a crane to take him apart into the four pieces and then getting him onto trucks and trailers,” Matewish said.
One of the candidates for Howard’s next home was Sayward’s White River Resort RV park and campground, owned and operated by Mike Phipps.
“He was a great fit, we really like the location and we really liked that it was a family-run business, and he (Phipps) is fantastic,” Matewish said. “But there was just some logistic stuff with permitting that we were dealing with some of the other locations, as well. I think permitting would have taken longer than the (April 30) timeline that we had available to us.”
Phipps is satisfied with the decision, even if Howard isn’t going to be putting down stakes at White River Resort.
“I had thought it would be a good place for me and I thought it would be good for our community and for my business, but I think Saanich is probably a better spot for more people to see him,” Phipps said. “It’s probably better in the long run. It’s just been a lot of fun and I’ve gotten a lot of exposure.”