Nova Scotia·Photos

Garden gnome becomes Toronto-Nova Scotia road trip photo icon

A fun prank turned into a geographical epic when a garden gnome hit the road to visit with the man who inspired his creator.

Woman finds garden gnome, dubbed Tonester the Gnomester, bears astounding resemblance to her uncle

A Kentville man has spent the summer following the adventures of his new alter ego, a hand-painted garden gnome that could be his twin, on a 1,900 kilometre road trip.

And the fun has only just begun for Tony Barkhouse and his ceramic pal.

The escapades started when his niece, Kelly Bullock, was repainting a garden gnome she bought four years ago.

"The first thing I noticed was a Facebook post by Kelly Bullock, who is our niece and lives in Toronto. She made this and one of our family friends had commented at the time 'Oh my gosh, this looks just like Tony Barkhouse' and we all had a great laugh about it," said Barkhouse.

Bullock decided to enjoy herself and took some artistic licence.

"Tony actually is a biker so I painted the gnome's vest to look just like Tony's biker vest complete with his broach. I glued a little chain on it that looks like chain that Tony wears," said Bullock.

"It's just hilarious and because we've been bringing him around to places, seeing people double-take when they realize that this gnome is a tiny clone of him, it's absolutely hilarious."

When Kelly Bullock and her father hit the road to visit Barkhouse's family in Nova Scotia last month, they decided to post pictures of "Tonester the Gnomester" along the way.

'They get their picture taken with him'

Tonester made appearances at Hopewell Rocks, posed with Anne of Green Gables and even coyly posed in a hotel room shower in Fredericton. The gnome has his own Facebook page which features his travel photo album.

And now that Tonester has arrived in Nova Scotia, the antics haven't stopped.

Barkhouse is proud to show off the little garden escapee. They have been to the drive-in, church and sightseeing in Mahone Bay.

"At first [people] probably think I'm a little strange but when I go up to them and explain who this little guy is, they get their picture taken with him and they think it's one of the funniest things that they've ever seen," said Barkhouse.

There are no plans to put Tonester on the shelf any time soon. Barkhouse says this is just the beginning for his ceramic buddy.

"I'm also a local musician in the Annapolis Valley so I've got some gigs coming up and I'm planning to take him on a couple of gigs with me and I found a little small rockin' guitar, so he's probably going to jam with us," he said.


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