Dr. Bonnie Henry was the inspiration recently for the owner of a feed and tack store south of Nanaimo who dressed up a horse mascot as the B.C. provincial health officer. Meredith Dean, store owner, dresses up Cantelope in costumes for every occasion and sets him up in front of the store next to the Trans Canada Highway. (Photo submitted)

Horse mascot dressed in Dr. Bonnie Henry outfit a hit on Vancouver Island

Trading Post Feed and Tack has been dressing up Cantelope for 15 years

Running a thriving feed and tack business is just horse sense for Meredith Dean, owner of the Trading Post Feed and Tack store in Cassidy, south of Nanaimo.

The store sells what its name implies, but if the sign on the front of the building doesn’t catch the notice of motorists passing by on the Trans Canada Highway, a horse mannequin named Cantelope nearly always does. Dean dresses up the horse in costumes for almost every occasion and holiday and sets it out next to the highway in front of her store.

Over the years Cantelope – so named because it “can’t lope” according to a story on the store’s website – has been decked out in Christmas and Halloween outfits, decorated for St. Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s Day and was even wore a homemade space suit and helmet for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.

Most recently Dean took a cue from the COVID-19 epidemic and dressed up Cantelope as B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, attired in a white blouse under a bright pink sweater, a red and white necklace, homemade pink and red pumps and a blonde wig. A speaker’s podium with fake microphones completed the set-up.

Dean chose to pay tribute to Henry out of admiration for the doctor’s calm demeanour during her daily pandemic briefings broadcast over the past few months.

“She’s so calm and reassuring and when she tells you to do something you just want to do what she says,” Dean said. “She’s kind of like a mom. Everybody loves her.”

The image of Cantelope dressed as Henry posted on the store’s Facebook page drew a lot of attention.

“There was over 23,000 views of that,” Dean said. “That was the absolute most we’ve ever had and the comments are amazing, how much everybody loves Bonnie Henry.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo barbershop quartet records musical tribute to Dr. Bonnie Henry

Passersby stopped in daily, sometimes even taking the effort to take the U-turn route at Nanaimo Airport on the divided highway to double back and take selfies and snaps of friends and family with the horse.

“So many people have stopped and taken their picture. We’d say, hey we’ve got a customer, but no, they’re just getting their picture taken with Bonnie Henry,” Dean said.

Dean said friends of the doctor even stopped in to take photos, and confirmed that how Henry appears on TV is how she is all the time.

“We were a little afraid she’d be offended if she saw herself, as a horse, dressed up, and the hair, but they said, ‘Oh, no. She’s got a great sense of humour,’” Dean said.

As of Monday, Cantelope switched costumes for Father’s Day, into a black wig, black moustache and coveralls and a smaller horse, Honeydew, is beside him wearing a pink wig and a tutu.

“It’s a father-daughter thing,” Dean said.

READ ALSO: B.C. designer John Fluevog creates shoes in honour of Dr. Bonnie Henry

READ ALSO: Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

More rain in the forecast for Cariboo region

A risk of a thunderstorm for Tuesday afternoon

Cariboo vegetable farmer swamped by Fraser River flooding

Brianna van de Wijngaard was picking vegetables three feet below the water

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Cariboo, North Thompson region

Prince George, Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House all under watch

International Safe Travels designation program approved for Gold Rush Trail, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast

World Travel and Tourism Council approves, businesses and communities can apply

Do you think recreation facilities in 100 Mile should reopen?

The weekly web poll for the 100 Mile Free Press

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Budget officer pegs cost of basic income as calls for it grow due to COVID-19

Planned federal spending to date on pandemic-related aid now tops about $174 billion

Most Read