Saskatchewan

'We were the first': Moose Jaw, Norway just battling for 2nd says Ontario home of the original largest moose

Dryden's Max the Moose was built in 1962, around two decades before Mac the Moose in Moose Jaw. Residents of the small town say they know theirs is the best and most lifelike.

'Max is so lifelike, we had a guy shoot him one time'

He's tall, dark and handsome, and he's the pride of Dryden, Ontario said resident Bill Laidlaw. (ontariosunsetcountry.ca)

The recent Norway-Moose Jaw rivalry has residents in Moose Jaw looking into options for super-sizing Mac the Moose including larger antlers, a hat or a taller platform.

But one small city in Ontario says whatever Moose Jaw does, it will never be first.
Joy Auren restarted the annual Max the Moosefest in Dryden, Ont. in 2017. (Submitted by Joy Auren)
56-year-old Maxmillion the Moose—Max for short—is a moose statue in Dryden, Ont.

Max the Moose was built in 1962, around two decades before Mac the Moose in Moose Jaw.

"Max the moose is like the most important thing in this town," Dryden resident Joy Auren said. "He's visible for everyone and it encourages people to stop by and fall in love with our town."

Auren is the organizer of the annual summer "Max the Moosefest" in Dryden.

"Max is a great time," Auren said. "Because we have so many moose in the area, it just stood to reason that we would honour one of our monuments in the wilderness."

Auren's husband Robert Burritt said Max the Moose looks exactly like a real moose.

"As a matter of fact, Max is so lifelike we had—I hope it's not a local guy but maybe—had a guy shoot him one time," Burritt said. "Now the guy might have had a little too much."

Auren said when the people in the area heard about Mac the Moose being built in Moose Jaw, they weren't worried.

"We were the first," she said. "It doesn't matter what you kids do, our Max the moose is the oldest moose."

"Our Max is number one," Auren said. "Moose Jaw and Norway go ahead, duke it out for second place you youngsters. First place is already taken."

Max the Moose celebrated his 56th birthday in 2018. (Submitted by Joy Auren)
Bill Laidlaw, longtime Dryden resident and self-described moose advocate, said the city of Dryden and Chamber of Commerce created Max the Moose along the highway to be a focal point for tourist information.
Bill Laidlaw has lived in the Dryden area for decades and is a self-described moose advocate for Max the Moose. (Submitted by Bill Laidlaw)

"There's a couple of picnic tables, couple of benches,  nice grass area and a tourist information bureau," he said. 

Laidlaw said Max the Moose is made from a metal frame with a mesh, then a concrete plaster that's painted.

"But I will take my hat off to the folks in Moose Jaw who created a nice ginormous moose to celebrate a moose where moose don't live," Laidlaw said.

"Go ahead. You know you've got the name, flaunt it," Laidlaw said. "We know we've got the real moose here."

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