Norway and Canada Go Head to Head Over the World’s Tallest Moose Statues

Norway and Canada Go Head to Head Over the World’s Tallest Moose Statues

The rivalry between Canada and Norway has always seemed to reflect the nature of their residents: mannerly.

Consider what happened during a cross-country skiing event at the 2006 Winter Olympics. A Norwegian coach gave a Canadian skier a pole so she could compete after her own had broken, enabling Canada to win a silver medal. Norway placed fourth.

The showdown continued in last year’s Winter Olympics, when Norway upset Canada in a team curling competition.

“You had to bring that up, eh?” Fraser Tolmie, mayor of the Saskatchewan city of Moose Jaw, said in an interview on Saturday.

There has been a rivalry, sure, but above all, a friendly one. Now it seems, though, that the line has been crossed.

Mac the Moose, a 32-foot-tall sculpture in Moose Jaw, was the tallest moose sculpture in the world for more than 30 years. Then one was erected in Norway in 2015. At nearly 33 feet, the shiny Norwegian moose sculpture named Storelgen bested Mac for world bragging rights.

“We take this personally,” Mr. Tolmie said. “There are some things that you just don’t do to Canadians: You don’t water down our beer, you don’t tell us we can’t put maple syrup on our pancakes and you don’t mess with Mac the Moose.”

Norway messed with Mac the Moose.

Storelgen was designed by Linda Bakke, a Norwegian artist who saw an opportunity to best Canada at something.

“When it was decided to create a sculpture in that dimension, we decided we could just as well step in and make the world’s largest and, in addition, the world’s finest,” Ms. Bakke said. “That was not so difficult to beat.”

Mr. Reves and Mr. Moore think of it more as a challenge.

“They intentionally made their elk 30 centimeters taller,” Mr. Reves said on Saturday. “They were trying to send a message, so we can’t let this stand.”

Mr. Tolmie agreed. He has a personal connection with Mac — the moose is named after his great-uncle Les MacKenzie — and feels strongly that something must be done.

“We have a very unique name, Moose Jaw, so there is a very significant connection having Mac standing there on guard to our community,” he said.

He called on residents of Moose Jaw and Canada for suggestions on how to make Mac the world’s tallest again, and will announce the plan at a news conference on Monday.

“Mac has a prepared a statement,” the mayor said. “I will be reading his statement and we will be looking at what he wants to get done. We want to respect him.”

Ms. Bakke is willing to make another moose statue taller than Storelgen for Canada — or anyone else willing to pay her.

“It is a little fun to beat Canada in something,” Ms. Bakke said. But, she added, “I’m neutral.”

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