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Manitoba boy suggests a giant statue to draw visitors to Haida Gwaii

Winnipeg student makes his case in a letter to Daajing Giids council
Hunter Farrell, a student in Winnipeg, Manitoba, sent the Village of Daajing Giids a letter with a suggestion for a monument to attract more visitors on January, 10, 2023. (Photo: supplied)

A Winnipeg grade five student sent the Village of Daajing Giids council a letter with an idea for a new tourist attraction — a giant bathtub on a jet ski.

In his letter, which was translated from French to English for inclusion in the council’s agenda package on Feb. 27, Hunter Farrell wrote, “if you make my giant object, your town will have lots of tourists, believe me.”

Councillor Jesse Embree suggested sending the student a response informing him that the project idea is not within the village’s financial means at this time. There are lots of giant things around the community to celebrate, such as the trees and the size of the salmon, he added, laughing.

Farrell wrote that he hoped if the village did build his idea it would be 10 feet tall and five feet wide. He suggested they build it out of metal and rock.

While he has never travelled to B.C., he found a photo of the community and thought it was beautiful, he wrote in an email his mom sent to the Haida Gwaii Observer.

Council made a motion to have mayor Lisa Pineault respond to Farrell.

The letter was part of an assignment Farrell did for class at École Howden, a french immersion school in Winnipeg, his teacher, Joëlle Jeanson, explained in an accompanying note. For the cross-curricular project, students were instructed to choose a city or town in Canada and pitch a monument for a roadside attraction that was either connected to the name of the place or something the community was famous for.

A discussion about Farrell’s letter during council’s Feb. 27 regular meeting led some council members to believe the student had perhaps mixed Daajing Giids up with Nanaimo, where the annual World Championship Bathtub Races are held.

He suggested the bathtub on a jet ski statue as a way to promote the bathtub racing sport, which he thought was unique, he wrote. He was unaware that the races were in Nanaimo and thought they were held “on the shores of B.C.,” including Daajing Giids.

Farrell would like to be a professional hockey or soccer player one day but said he would also enjoy being mayor because then he would be in charge of a city.

There are many communities across the province that boast of having a statue which is the largest of its kind. Houston, a small community along Highway 16, claims to have the largest fly fishing rod in Canada and Quesnel, another town in the northern region, has the world’s largest gold pan.

According to the District of Houston’s website, tourism promoters in B.C. encouraged communities to create a landmark to draw in visitors and that is what prompted the municipality to build the fishing rod, which was erected in 1990.

READ MORE: Daajing Giids council support CityWest’s new connection plan

READ MORE: Living wage is $22.69 in Rupert and $25.87 to afford basics in Daajing Giids

 Kaitlyn Bailey | Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
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