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

Just Posted

The candidates in the recent municipal by-election say while they’re disappointed with the voter turnout, most are intending to take another run at a seat in 2022. Black Press File Photo
Candidates lament low voter turnout in Campbell River municipal by-election

Many say they will still be putting their names forward again in the future, however

BC Rent Bank helps people stay out of homelessness. Black Press stock photo
BC Rent Bank pitched for Campbell River

Program provides loans to keep people housed

Comox Strathcona Waste Management is planning webinars for the public to see the preliminary designs for the new composting facility. Photo CSWM
Preliminary designs for CSWM composting facility released

CSWM wants feedback on designs, holding two webinars next week

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Campbell River automobile dealership reports positive COVID test result

Campbell River automobile dealership Steve Marshall Ford has announced a temporary closure… Continue reading

The Campbell River and District Coalition to End Homelessness will be working towards having people with lived experience of homelessness at the table with a new peer advisory group. Photo courtesy Zoom.
Campbell River Coalition to End Homelessness to include people with lived experience at the table

Coalition and Urban Indigenous Housing group starting peer advisory working group

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read