In these hectic days, all too often when we log on to the internet we’re greeted with serious news, focused on politics, conflict or tragedy.
But every once in a while we’re met with something else — a small reminder that the world is less predictable, more unusual, and sometimes downright stranger than we could have ever imagined.
That’s what we found in B.C., in 2022, with a handful of stories that came across our desks ranging from delightful to head-scratchers.
We’ve collected seven of our favourite off-beat stories to bring you a little cheer as we head into 2023.
Arret the goat that rides horseback
Could this little guy be the Greatest Of All Time?
That’s still up for debate, but he’s definitely a GOAT.
In March, Global BC got to meat Arret, a goat from Krestova in B.C.’s Kootenay region that’s formed an unlikely bond with a horse named Bouge.
How unlikely? The little fellow has taken to riding on his companion’s back.
Aimee Kootnikoff, who operates the Kootenay Acres farm, told Global News she first spotted Arret up to the unusual behaviour early this year and figured it was a bizarre one-off.
“He went up there pretty much every day after that, he was just hanging out on his back, pawing at his back a little bit; mostly just hanging out or jumping on and off, onto the hay bale,” she said.
Arret has since developed a reputation as a “little trouble maker,” who likes to barge into the house, jump on kitchen counters and sneak into their car, amongst other hijinks.
While Bouche and Arret appear to have become fast friends, that relationship hasn’t extended to the other horses on the farm.
Kootnikoff said the adventurous goat recently tried to pull a similar maneuvre with another horse named Rio, but was quickly rebuffed.
“He went for a running leap,” she said. “The horse went one way and the goat went the other. It did not last one second, if even that.”
B.C. woman finds naked man was living in trunk of her car for 3 days
A B.C. woman got the fright of her life last February when she found a naked man had been living in the trunk of her car for days.
Nanaimo’s Bethany Coker told Global News she originally noticed some mud in the front seat of her vehicle, and assumed someone had broken in and spent the night.
She didn’t think much of it and cleaned the car, before getting on with business as usual.
It wasn’t until three days later that she noticed the car windows were fogged up, and heard a voice say, “Hey.”
She popped the trunk and couldn’t believe what she found.
“At first I thought someone was playing a prank on me, and then when I realized what was happening, I just kept my phone recording because I wasn’t too sure what was going to happen,” Coker told Global News.
Coker said she’d been driving the car around doing errands and going to work the entire time, without the man so much as making a sound.
“We’ve been to the grocery store together, we’ve got sushi together, gas together. We’ve been to work twice. Not a single word.”
Coker recorded some of the interaction and put it on social media where it has since been viewed thousands of times.
She can be heard in one clip asking the man if he is naked and him replying saying, “Yes, it’s a rite of passage.”
Coker called the police right away.
“It was probably the most hysterical call I’ve ever been on,” she said. “They’re like, ‘What do you mean he’s been in your trunk for three days?’ And I’m like, ‘He’s been in my trunk for three days, please hurry up.’”
Police later said the man had “significant health issues” and confirmed he was receiving help.
From Dingle Bingle Hill to Bergen-Op-Zoom, Nanaimo B.C.’s unusual street names
If you’ve ever been to Nanaimo, you’ve likely run across a few of the Vancouver Island municipality’s unusually named streets.
Dingle Bingle Hill Road, Bergen-Op-Zoom Drive and Giggleswick Place are just a few favourites.
Earlier this year, the Nanaimo Museum put together an exhibit honouring the community’s non-traditional nomenclature with the help of a group of history students at Vancouver Island University.
“History is around us all the time but we don’t think about where these names come from,” VIU professor Dr. Katharine Rollwagen explained.
“Definitely in the 1960s and 70s, that was Frank Ney. He was the mayor, he was also really big into real estate development so he was in a position where he got to pick what these names should be.”
Rollwagen said Ney — an eccentric municipal leader immortalized in a statue clad in pirate clothing at the city’s waterfront — had a big family, and often worked them into some of the street names.
Twiggly Wiggly Road was named after one of Ney’s daughters who was nicknamed Twiggy, after the famous British supermodel in the 1960s, for example.
Other names in the community come from its mining history. Jingle Pot Road, for example, refers to a tool used by coal miners: crews would tug a rope on a pot with a few stones in it that would “jingle” when it was time to haul coal carts up.
TikTok of B.C. dad hoping to see his cloud photo on TV gets millions of views
Ever wanted to have your photo featured on TV and end up becoming an unexpected social media celebrity?
No, we haven’t either.
But Sunshine Coast dad, Mark Skeath, did earlier this year.
Skeath snapped a photo of an unusual cumulonimbus, or “anvil” cloud over Bowen Island in April and submitted it to Global BC’s popular Weather Window segment.
That night, Skeath plopped down in front of the TV to see if his snapshot would make the Global News Hour.
The photo didn’t make it that night, but a video his daughter took of him waiting and watching got a much bigger reach. She shared the clip to TikTok where it has racked up more than three million likes and 5,200 comments.
After he went viral, Skeath’s photo did get featured, along with the TikTok video, on the News Hour.
In an email Skeath said didn’t think the moment was much of a big deal, but was surprised by the social media response.
“I don’t get it but there you are, lol,” he wrote.
‘Tigger come back’: B.C. house cat chases black bear out of family’s yard
Who would win a fight, a black bear or a house cat?
It seems like the outcome would be a foregone conclusion.
Not so for a North Vancouver housecat named Tigger, however, who became a social media star in June after winning a face-off with a bruin many times his own size.
Owners Gavin and Cameron Sturrock told Global News the two-year-old Bengal cat has a bold streak, and is known for deterring local dogs and even staling chicken from the family’s kitchen.
But even they were shocked when on June 21 a bear turned up outside their home as they were packing up for a camping trip.
“Literally, I was just frozen,” recalled Cameron.
“I didn’t notice right away, but my little cat was just like – he was right here,” Gavin added.
And Tigger had no fear.
“He was two feet away from this bear,” Gavin said.
“I was freaked out, Oh my God, this bear is going to eat my cat right now.”
Gavin called Tigger, who in typical cat fashion ignored him. So he took out his phone and started recording.
In the video, Tigger can be seen arching his back and walking towards the bear. The bear, in turn, backs up and runs off.
Not bad for a cat that the brother say already cheated death once, surviving a disease called FIP, feline infectious peritonitis.
“He goes from that, gets all better, and becomes a bear fighter!” Gavin said.
Ogopogo or unusually large bird? Kelowna couple spots something strange beneath the waves
It wouldn’t be a roundup of the odd and unusual stories of the year in B.C. without an appearance by the province’s favourite cryptid, the Ogopogo.
The latest alleged sighting of the creature rumoured to swim beneath the waves of Okanagan lake happened in October, as Dale Hanchar took his sailboat out for a cruise with his wife Colleen and a friend.
That’s when they spotted something in the water they couldn’t explain away.
“As a boater, I was just looking, (to see) is this something dangerous that needs to be marked so somebody doesn’t run into it, like a dead head or something like that,” Hanchar said.
Hanchar said whatever it was in the water “didn’t look right” so they circled back to have a second look, this time with a camera ready.
“We were all puzzled as to what could that possibly be,” he said.
“You know, we kind of eliminated what it wasn’t in our heads, and we talked about it a little bit and then we just kept on going.”
When the group got home and zoomed in on the photo, they were even more puzzled.
“For one thing, the two nodular things are sticking up… whatever they are, those that are about three feet apart,” he said.
Hanchar said they’ve since ruled out plants, fish and even dead deer, raising the question: Was it legendary lake beast Ogopogo, which is also known by its indigenous name Nx̌aʔx̌ʔitkʷ (NN-Ha-Ha-Teek)?
Either way, they want to know if anyone else saw the strange object. And in the meantime, the legend of Ogopogo gets another boost.
Grand Forks, B.C. donkey runs for mayor
We started this roundup with a four-legged hoofed animal in the Kootenays, and that’s how we’re going to end it.
This tale involves a donkey, and B.C.’s recent municipal elections.
Meet Lobo, who ran for mayor of Grand Forks.
“As a joke, I put it on Facebook, ‘What do you think about Lobo for Mayor?’ Well the comments are still coming in, some people say ‘I’ll get behind Lobo’ or ‘I hope he takes a bite out of crime,’ it goes on and on,” said his owner and Campaign Manager Lorraine O’Connor.
“Some people want him to go all the way to Ottawa to the (House of Commons) there but I tell him he has to start at the bottom and work his way up.”
With his poised and professional attitude, O’Connor said she thought he’d have been a perfect fit to run the city of approximately 4,000 people.
“He observes everything and he’s not quick to jump into it, he waits, he studies he’s a good judge of character,” said O’Connor.
Lobo’s got plenty of other skills too. Last winter, he was caught on camera shovelling his owner’s driveway.
Unfortunately for Lobo and O’Connor, B.C.’s Local Government Act got in the way with its requirement that local government officials hold legal Canadian citizenship.
In the end, Everett Baker was elected mayor of Grand Forks with 48.9 per cent of the vote.