Today is moving day for Mr. P.G.
The 52-year-old, eight-metre high icon, a beloved symbol of the city's forest-based economy, is being moved to a Nicholson Street paint shop for repairs.
Starting bright and early this morning, workers from Farr Installations will be lifting the wide-mouth grinning mascot off its base and onto a trailer.
"This is a big unknown project for everyone and we won't know until we get in there whether it comes down quick and easy or if it will take a couple of days," said Aidan Kelly, executive director of Tourism Prince George. "Safety is number one and you have to have a properly engineered base so he's not going to come down."
Mr. P.G. will be out of commission for the next month while he's undergoing a facelift at Prism Powder Coating and Custom Paint. All-North Engineering will be building a base to support him on city-owned land in a prominent spot near the Prince George Playhouse parking lot off Highway 16 West behind a large city-owned flower bed.
"He will be more visible in that location," said Prince George mayor Shari Green. "When you arrive into the city from the south or from the west, you'll be able to see him. In the past, when you arrived from the south [the view of Mr. P.G. was hidden by trees] and by the time you got to the intersection you maybe had already passed him."
Kelly won't know until the engineering work is complete how much the move will cost but did say taxpayers won't be stuck with the bill. Private donations of cash, in-kind labour and Tourism P.G's surplus fund will cover it.
Mr. P.G. has been on display since 1960 at several locations in the city, and has twice been taken on road trips to Vancouver -- for the 1961 Pacific National Exhibition and for the Grey Cup parade in 1963. Unlike the original Mr. P.G., which was entirely made of wood, the more modern version is made of a steel septic tank, painted to resemble a tree trunk.
Since 1983 he's stood at the southwest corner of the Highway 16/Highway 97 intersection on land now owned by the Treasure Cove casino. When Tourism Prince George closed its visitor centre at that site last year, Mr. P.G. was left as an orphan and the decision was made to move him across the street.
"He's got a lot of history behind him and everyone can identify with his symbol for Prince George, representing the wood industry," said Green. "He's getting some fresh paint and we're looking forward to seeing him more visible. It will be a welcome makeover."