When the Cow Bay Moose first appeared in 1959 along the beach in Cow Bay, Nova Scotia, construction worker turned folk artist Winston Bronnum was 30 years old. He had long been a self-taught carver and sculptor, but what started as a hobby making tabletop animals soon became a mission to make a bigger impression.
Over the course of the next 30-odd years he did just that, designing and sculpting full-scale or larger than life concrete animals as landmarks and roadside attractions—all starting with the big guy at the beach. When the moose made his debut he was part of a collection of several Bronnum beach animals, the rest of which are long gone.
This sole survivor has weathered more than a few storms, and 57 years later he’s got a new lease on life thanks to the generous spirit and talent of Nova Scotia mural artist Lynda McConnell. She donated her time and resources to give him a realistic paint job to replace the strange orangey-coral color he had faded into. In addition to McConnell, the Cow Bay Moose has a steady fan base known as “Friends of the Moose” (feel free to call them “Mooseketeers”), who, since the 1990s, have been raising money to help keep up his maintenance.
Bronnum is known for creating a number of other giant concrete creatures, including “Jumbo the Elephant” in Ontario, and in New Brunswick, “Blowhard the broken-down racehorse”, the Maugerville potato, and the Shediac lobster. His crowning achievement was his studio and fantasy animal kingdom called “Animaland”, which he opened to the public (for a fee of course—he was nothing if not entrepreneurial) as an animal-themed playground. And if you were lucky, you could catch a glimpse of the master of wire and concrete at work.
Animaland is closed now, but the Cow Bay Moose, with his snappy new paint job, isn’t going anywhere.