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

Patricia Celan, named Miss Charity seven years ago while a teen living in South Surrey, is now in postgraduate psychiatry training and was recently named Mrs. Canada International 2021. (Contributed photos)
Domestic-violence awareness a focus for former White Rock woman named Mrs. Canada International

Patricia Celan, in postgraduate psychiatry training, earned her first crown in 2013

The peninsula’s Community Christmas Day Dinner at White Rock Baptist Church – seen here in 2019 – has been cancelled for 2020, because of pandemic-inspired limitations on gatherings. (File photo)
Annual Community Christmas dinner ‘just not possible’ this year

Organizers vow that 40 years-plus Semiahmoo Peninsula tradition will return, post-COVID

Sources volunteers face off at the organization’s ‘Enchanted’ gala – one as a fairy and the other as her magic-mirror reflection – held in 2019. (Tiffany Kwong photo)
‘Rising infections’ prompts move to virtual Sources gala

Silent auction, raffle opens to public at 9 a.m. Oct. 30

This year’s annual Lighted Boat Parade has been cancelled. (File photo)
White Rock’s annual Lighted Boat Parade cancelled

COVID-19 cited as main reason for cancellation of popular winter tradition

Strawberry Hill Hall is being renovated and moved to another location on its existing corner lot in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey’s historic Strawberry Hill Hall being moved a few metres in $1.2M reno project

Childcare spaces coming to corner lot where hall has stood for 111 years

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on February 28. (Photo by: Cpl Joey Beaudin, 19 Wing Imaging, Comox)
Father and son found dead after weeklong search near Pemberton

The father and son had set out for a day of mushroom picking last Thursday

A full moon rises over Mt. Cheam on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Rare full moon, Daylight Saving makes for a uniquely spooky Halloween – despite COVID-19

We can’t host costume parties but this weekend is still one for the history books

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Photo courtesy of Correctional Service of Canada.
Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder escapes Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)
COVID-19 ‘disproportionately’ affecting Fraser Health: Henry

Health region has about 75 per cent of B.C.’s active cases

Most Read