'Big Bruce' named Ontario's greatest roadside attraction
What has two horns, two eyes, two bulging nostrils and four cloven feet? “Big Bruce,” of course, Ontario’s Greatest Roadside Attraction.
“He took on some heavy weights. You start taking on the Wawa Goose and the Sudbury Nickel, you know you’re in the big leagues,” says Arran-Elderslie Deputy Mayor, Mark Davis.
“Big Bruce” beat out 16 other competitors to recently be named Ontario’s Greatest Roadside Attraction. A feather in the cap for the big bull, that’s stood out front of Arran-Elderslie headquarters in Chesley since 1980.
“He’s the perfect attraction for us, and now all of Ontario knows,” says Arran-Elderslie Mayor, Steve Hammell.
“Big Bruce” was discovered by Mark Davis’ father, Harvey, in the mid 70’s, during a trip to Wisconsin. Davis wanted the local cattlemen’s association to buy the 15 foot tall fibreglass bull, as a promotional tool for the 1976 International Plowing Match, to take place near Walkerton. At first, they balked at the $3,000 asking price.
“I can remember one day at breakfast, after a meeting, Dad said to me, I don’t think they’re going to go for it, but I’m going to just buy it myself,” says the younger Davis.
The cattlemen’s association bent and bought “Big Bruce” and Harvey Davis pulled him around Ontario to promote the plowing match. When Davis passed in 1980, “Big Bruce” was put on permanent display here in Chesley, in honour of the man who brought him to the region.
“The family is super pleased, but it’s great for Bruce County, Arran-Elderslie and the region,” says Davis.
Locals are hoping a provincial spotlight, though fleeting, might bring a few more people to town, to check out Ontario’s Greatest Roadside Attraction.
“It’s very common to see families stop here and take pictures. We expect even more people to do that, this fall and into next summer,” says Mayor Hammell.