The tallest gnome in the world stands right here in Vancouver Island’s Nanoose Bay, but you might not be able to find it there for much longer.
Standing over 25’ tall (7.91 metres), the giant gnome, Howard, can be spotted near a Chevron gas station along the Island Highway.
After standing in the same spot for 21 years, Howard has fallen into disrepair and needs to be relocated to a new home, or else be torn down by the petrol company.
A member of the family
Before the property was a gas station, the land near Parksville was a family-run amusement park.
“I grew up at my family’s ‘Fun Park’, a go-kart track and amusement park all slammed into one awesome package,” said Bridget Matewish, granddaughter of Ron Hale, the man who built Howard in a Facebook post.
“[The park] was owned by my grandfather, Ron Hale, and when it was time for him to retire my father Bruce Hale took over. In 1998, shortly after my grandfather retired, he built the gnome and our park gained a new mascot… Howard, the World’s Tallest Gnome.”
“Since then he has become a landmark, a Guinness World Record holder, and my family’s legacy.”
Hale built Howard in the family’s garage, using scraps that were laying around the property. Over a decade later, in 2009, it was recognized by the Guinness World Records.
When the family eventually sold the property the gas station agreed to keep the gnome in its place.
A new home
While the Chevron originally agreed to let Howard remain, Matewish says that the gnome has started to “disintegrate”, and that the gas station told her they must tear it down for “legal reasons”.
That’s when Matewish turned to social media to help find the gnome a new home.
“We want to find him a new home, somewhere people can still visit him, take photos with him and for Bruce and Ron Hale to live on through him,” she said.
“We don’t want to see him torn down and thrown out.”
Matewish hopes that news of Howard will spread and that someone will offer to give him a new home, ideally in another Oceanside-area tourism spot.
Anyone who is interested in adopting the gnome or know of a place where he could go is asked to message his Facebook page, Howard the World’s Tallest Gnome.