Happy Birthday Mr. PG: Prince George’s iconic mascot turns 60

Click to play video: 'Iconic Mr. PG statue gets a makeover' Iconic Mr. PG statue gets a makeover
Mr. PG is an 8.11-meter tall wooden statue that greets Prince George visitors to the city. Here he is in 2012 before he was given a fresh coat of paint and moved across the street from his current location. – May 8, 2020

One of British Columbia’s best-loved mascots is celebrating a major milestone.

Prince George’s venerable Mr. PG, the smiling, ball cap-wearing, lumber-themed giant, turned 60 on Friday, May 8.

READ MORE: QUIZ: Do you know British Columbia’s famous mascots?

Mr. PG made his first appearance in 1960, where he welcomed delegates to a Rotary International conference at Prince George’s Simon Fraser Inn.

His first incarnation was much smaller than the 8.11-metre (26.5-foot) metal and fiberglass statue that now welcomes visitors to the city.

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His creation is credited to Harold Moffat (later, mayor of the community from 1970-1979), who sought a mascot to promote the region’s forestry industry, according to the City of Prince George.

In the years that followed, Mr. PG went through numerous incarnations, including a stint as an 11.5-metre (38-foot) parade float starting in 1961.

“We have an Elks Day parade here, and that’s sort of his first parade that he participated in,” Pringe George Mayor Lyn Hall told CKNW’s Mornings With Simi.

“And then he participated in the in the Grey Cup parade in Vancouver. And that was a real a real hit and he did parade throughout the entire province.”

In 1970, Mr. PG was installed at the intersection of Highways 16 and 97.

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Mr. PG still stands guard over that intersection — the busiest in northern B.C. — but underwent a $6,700 makeover in 1983 to his current form.

We change him up quite often. So we have the ability to fly various flags, whether it’s for, you know, fundraisers or to recognize certain events in our community or recognize certain events that are taking place around Canada,” said Hall.

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We were supposed to have the World Women’s Curling Championships here. But because of the pandemic, they were cancelled. But we had them decked out in some curling attire.

He’s also been the inspiration for countless pieces of memorbilia, from postcards to plush toys to commemorative plates.

You can find out more about Mr. PG and what Prince George is doing to celebrate him on the city’s website.

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