An initial brainchild of Harold Moffatt who believed Prince George needed a mascot, the first Mr. PG was constructed by Hans Roine to represent the thriving local forest industry.
On May 8, 1960, Mr. PG debuted to welcome delegates to a Rotary International conference at the Simon Fraser Inn. He became an instant star, prompting Bill Jones, then the City’s Public Works Superintendent, to come up with the idea to feature Mr. PG as a parade float. A 38-foot-tall Mr. PG made an appearance at the annual Elks Day Parade in 1961 and stole the show. He went on to appear in parades around the province, including the Grey Cup parade in Vancouver. The float used a garbage hoist to raise and lower Mr. PG in order to avoid overhead wires on the parade route. In a 1988 letter, Jones recalls some hilarity around the larger-than-life mascot: “We had a lot of weird experiences when we took Mr. PG to out-of-town parades (Kelowna, Vancouver, etc). Since I wanted him to hold a live spruce tree – roots and all – you can imagine the fun and games we went through to find and dig up a 10-foot evergreen tree in Vancouver, for example.”
Since then Mr. PG has embarked on various world travels and his image has donned everything from postcards and postage stamps to pins and socks. He now stands tall at the intersection of Highways 16 and 97, welcoming visitors to the community.
“To help Mr. PG celebrate his 60th birthday, the City is working with community organizations to present some fun activities that the whole community can enjoy from the comfort of their own home,” said Mayor Lyn Hall, in a news release. “One thing about Mr. PG is that he has this great ability to bring people together even while we’re physically distancing from each other. On behalf of Council, we want to wish Mr. PG a happy birthday and many more to come. Have fun celebrating with Mr. PG everyone.”
Here’s how you can be involved in helping Mr. PG celebrate his big day:
- Share your selfies with him on his official Instagram page @therealMrPG and use the hashtag #MrPG60 on other social media channels to be entered to win a special Mr. PG prize pack.
- Download the Mr. PG colouring page created by Erin Stagg – the Community Arts Council’s artist-in-residence – and share a picture of your colouring on social media.
- Use the new Mr. PG Facebook frame (found at www.princegeorge.ca/mrpg) on a Facebook photo or use a Mr. PG background during Zoom videoconferences.
- Purchase a limited-edition Mr. PG stuffie with a local, hand-knitted scarf from The Exploration Place by emailing email@example.com.
- Purchase an order from one of the Prince George Farmers Market Association food vendors and you might be one of the lucky few to receive a pint of spruce tip ice cream from the Frozen Paddle to mark Mr. PG’s birthday.
More information about all of these activities is available on the city website at www.princegeorge.ca/mrpg.
Mr. PG’s birthday activities are being presented through a collaboration involving Tourism Prince George, the Exploration Place, the Community Arts Council, the Prince George Farmers Market Association, and the City of Prince George.