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Mr. PG has a heart

Hearts of PG creator Bailey Grose shows her heart in the foreground, with the help of Coun. Susan Scott, Coun. Brian Skakun, and Mayor Lyn Hall, while Mr. PG displays his new heart flag – with the help of City of Prince George staff. Bill Phillips photo

We all know Mr. PG has a big heart – and now he has a big heart flag. Mr. PG is flying a new heart flag to show his support and appreciation for Prince George residents who are practicing physical distancing and staying home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In the early days of the pandemic, Prince George resident Bailey Grose decided to put a heart in the window of her house as a way of increasing community connection during a period of Public Health Orders where residents must all practice physical distancing.

“I knew we would all be spending a lot more time at home and a lot more time apart at least physically, which can be hard –especially for children and parents with kids,” said Grose, herself a mother of two young children, in a news release. “I thought this could be a way that our community could get outside and do something fun without getting too close to one another. So we started a facebook group and a hashtag #heartsofpg, and encouraged everyone to ‘heart hunt’ by walking their neighbourhoods and seeing how many hearts they can see in the windows. I wasn’t expecting a world-wide response, but it has been really great to see!”

Indeed, members of the Hearts of PG facebook group have increased to more than 6000 in the past month and it has become something of a global phenomenon, with people posting photos of hearts from their own cities from as far afield as Italy and even Antarctica!

“There is no bigger symbol of Prince George than Mr. PG and there has been no better symbol of the spirit of our city during these uncertain times than the hearts of PG we now see in windows throughout the city,” said Mayor Lyn Hall. “On behalf of council, I would like to extend my heart-felt thanks to Bailey for her ingenuity, creativity, and sense of fun at a time when people desperately need it.”

Mr. PG is turning 60 on May 8. Although there had been plans for local events to mark his birthday, provincial health orders restricting the size of public gatherings have led to these events being cancelled. Instead, the city is working with various local organizations to present activities related to Mr. PG that residents can enjoy from home or while practicing physical distancing. For more information about Mr. PG and his 60 years as a symbol of Prince George, see www.princegeorge.ca/mrpg.

A city worker installs the #heartsofpg flag on Mr. PG. Bill Phillips photo

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