The war is over and the dust has settled, and Mac the Moose has emerged the victor of the 2019 Moose War — and now he boasts a plaque celebrating all those who helped him along the way.
Tourism Moose Jaw executive director Jacki L’Heureux-Mason unveiled a commemorative plaque on Sept. 18 to celebrate the Moose Truce with Norway, after the friendly comparison of statues put Mac in the international spotlight.
The plaque, which declares Mac the Moose to be the world’s tallest moose, lists all of the large donors who contributed financially to the reconstruction of Mac’s antlers, including Moosehead Breweries and Moose Jaw Co-op.
It also lists the individuals who made up Team Mac, the committee that spearheaded the antler project and provided services and expertise to help Mac step into his new era of fame.
“People were lining up, we actually had to turn people down who wanted to help,” said L’Heureux-Mason. “It was great from the very beginning, no question about that.”
A number of individuals and businesses donated their time and service to Mac’s new image, with the total cost of the project coming in at under $11,000 to complete.
“To put that in perspective, when we did the replacement of Mac’s jaw, it was well over $20,000, so it’s incredible,” said L’Heureux-Mason.
L’Heureux-Mason is still in awe of the instant notoriety the Moose War brought to both Mac the Moose and the city, but she feels it was an incredible opportunity that the city grasped very well.
“At the height of it, I was entertaining eight to ten interviews a day, from as far away as Mexico, and it was a really interesting experience to learn how to handle this kind of marketing,” said L’Heureux-Mason. “And it really opened the door for us [at Tourism] to have a more synergistic relationship in the city, which I think was a long time coming.’
The international fame, which produced an estimated marketing value of over $7 million for the city, has also changed the way people in the community feel about Mac, said L’Heureux-Mason.
“I think what’s happened there is, we metaphorically had him shed his youth antlers, right there laying beside him and everything, and he’s now come into his own,” said L’Heureux-Mason. “He definitely looks like a grown-up moose and I think it represents the image that we're trying to portray with the city, with the notorious theme. It’s a little edgy, it's a little classier, and that’s what I think he represents now for us, to anybody who comes and has seen him before.”
Mac’s makeover recently concluded with a new coat of paint to match his new antlers, which prompted Tourism to host a photo contest in search of a new image of the Moose Jaw celebrity to use on postcards and other merchandise.
About 200 photos were submitted, said L’Heureux-Mason, which were viewed anonymously by a panel of judges before they chose the best three submissions.
Two images of Mac were chosen as winners, taken by Sandra Frey, and a third image of the Snowbird Tutor jet by Burkely Reiman was also selected.
All three photos will be featured on a new set of postcards available at the Tourism Moose Jaw office, and Frey's photos will be the official image of Mac the Moose for the foreseeable future.
And so, with the official conclusion of the Moose War, Mac the Moose is now free to bask in the light of his victory with his new antlers and updated image.