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

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Greater Victoria woman goes on gratitude mission to thank first responders

Jen Klein fainted while driving and crashed on Pat Bay Highway in 2019

Non-venomous ball python missing in Vic West

Snake was reported missing to Victoria police Tuesday morning

Multiple Victoria officers injured during violent incidents, including mental health calls over long weekend

Police deploy pepper spray, conducted energy weapon while arresting suspect

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

Most Read