Manitoba

Black bear breaks into cabin, stuffs itself with Thanksgiving desserts

There's a black bear roaming Manitoba's Victoria Beach area with a penchant for brownies. Oh, and cupcakes. Oh, and imperial dream cookies.

'It was standing on his hind legs and he had eaten everything except for the pumpkin pies'

A screen grab from a video Jon Hunter took shows the black bear inside the veranda of Lori Paige's family cottage in Victoria Beach. (Jon Hunter/Facebook)

There's a black bear roaming Manitoba's Victoria Beach area with a penchant for brownies. Oh, and cupcakes. Oh, and imperial dream cookies.

Perhaps pumpkin pie, too, though we might never know.

A couple of Manitoba families were celebrating their annual Thanksgiving meal at the lake resort town on Saturday night when the uninvited guest found their supply of desserts.

About 20 diners were in one cabin while the desserts were stored in the neighbouring one's screened-in veranda, where there was room and they could stay cool — and vulnerable.

When Lori Paige and her mom went to get the treats, they came face-to-face with the 400- to 500-pound bruin and its sweet tooth.

A black bear broke into a cabin and ate all of the desserts set aside for Thanksgiving dinner. 0:12

"As we walked up the deck … my mother grabbed the handle of the door and she was just about to open it when she said 'Oh my God, there's a bear,' " Paige said.

"And I looked and the bear was inches from her face. The screen door was in between the bear and her, and the bear was looking out directly at her."

Rather than turn on them, the bear continued to devour as many treats as it could before it was time to dash.

"It was standing on his hind legs and he had eaten everything except for the pumpkin pies. We're guessing that he just didn't get to those yet because he was eventually scared off," Paige said.

He wasn't the only one. 

"I said to my mom, 'Don't talk, just walk backwards.' So we slowly backed up and then ran back across the yard to the neighbour's," Paige said, adding that when they were standing at the veranda door, the only sound she remembers hearing was her own breathing.

Her mom was a little shook up and it took a couple of minutes to get her composure back.

The bear was surprisingly quiet and efficient at its brownie burglary.

After hearing the news, Paige's dad went to the cabin but entered through the back door. Once inside, he grabbed a broom and banged on the window separating the cottage and veranda.

The bear was still chowing down. After all, there was a lot to go through — multiple trays of desserts to feed 20 people. 

Eventually, however, the noise was enough to make the bear waddle away and clamber out through the screen it tore away to get in, shimmy down the "very large planter" it used to boost himself up to the screen, then totter away, Paige said.

She was impressed with how nimble the bear was — it had to push aside a barbecue that was stored inside the veranda, in front of the screen it clawed through.

The bear ripped through a screen then pushed aside a barbecue to get into the veranda. (Submitted by Lori Paige)

Before the bear bolted, a few of the diners went over to record the scene from a safe distance on the deck, catching it casually feasting at the dessert table.

Its meal was made up of 24 cupcakes, countless cookies and brownies and the Saran wrap that covered them all.

Fortunately, the pumpkin pies were not touched and were still in their containers, so the families enjoyed some dessert — to go with plenty of conversation about what just happened.

"It definitely put a different twist on our Thanksgiving this year," Paige said, and they will make adjustments for next year.

"We've learned our lesson. We're not going to leave anything in that screened-in area — any food — anymore."

The police were called about the incident and were well aware of a meddlesome bear in the area. They'd been searching for it after getting numerous reports over the past couple of weeks about it sniffing around cabins.

The bear didn't seem to be hard to locate for Paige and her neighbours.

"He was back the next night," she said.

That time he just wandered around the yard before ambling away. He didn't attempt to get in again.

About the Author

Darren Bernhardt

Reporter/Editor

Darren Bernhardt spent the first dozen years of his journalism career in newspapers, first at the Regina Leader-Post then the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. He has been with CBC Manitoba since 2009 and specializes in offbeat and local history stories and features. Story idea? Email: darren.bernhardt@cbc.ca

With files from Erin Brohman

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