You may think you know a lot about Prince George’s beloved mascot, Mr. PG, but what you don’t know may surprise you.
Did you know that a metal version of Mr. PG was lost for years and was eventually found in a Scottish pub, or that the first plush Mr. PG was homemade and discovered years later in a garage sale?
The Exploration Place Museum and Science Centre is getting ready to launch an exhibit that will deep dive into all of the quirky and fun Mr. PG stories that have been accumulating over the years.
“This fall we are hosting the British Columbia Museum Association Awards and we really wanted to showcase Prince George when we have all of our museum delegates in the building,” explains Exploration Place Curator Alyssa Leier. “A big part of Prince George is Mr. PG of course and we really wanted to showcase him to our guests.”
She says once they decided to do the exhibit they had no shortage of Mr. PG artifacts to put on display.
One of the bigger pieces of the exhibit is the lost Mr. PG – the one that was eventually found in a Scottish pub.
“He was made out of metal and he was put on display for the Lion’s International Conference in Prince George in the 1960s,” says Leier. “He was made to travel around with different Lions Clubs in Canada and each location he was supposed to visit; he was supposed to get a badge to put on of the location.”
At some point along his travels, he was lost and no one knew where he went. Fast forward 17 years later, when a lady that had moved to Prince George from Scotland was reading her local newspaper from back home in Scotland and she sees a picture of Mr. PG.
He was sitting in a Scottish pub, smoking, wearing a kilt and dispensing beer and was known as the ‘Iron Jock.’
The lady immediately contacted the local Lions Club and told them she found the missing Mr. PG.
“They reached out to the pub and he found his way home on a lumber barge which was quite fitting,” says Leier.
The story of the missing Mr. PG was also featured on an episode of BC Was Awesome, which will also play on television as a part of the exhibit.
In the exhibit, visitors will be able to get a firsthand look at the various iterations of Mr. PG that have been created over the years.
“What we are putting on display is our metal Mr. PG here and we have five different plush versions and we have ten little wooden figurines,” says Leier. “But there have been countless iterations of Mr. PG and I’m sure we only have a select few of them.”
She says it’s clear that that the people of Prince George have a fascination with our city mascot.
“I think since the late 1950s since the idea of Mr. PG came about by Harold Moffat people have fallen in love with him,” says Leier. “Harold wanted a mascot for Prince George that represented the booming forestry industry that sort of started the city of Prince George. That’s what inspired Mr. PG and I think even though our economy isn’t solely based on forestry any more people still love him and he’s just become a beloved symbol of our city.”
The love people have had for Mr. PG is illustrated in the various iterations of Mr. PG that have been popping up since the 1950s.
“I hope people take away from the exhibit, the fun nature of Prince George and why we love our city mascot so much,” says Assistant Curator, Chad Hellenius noting he was surprised about how many different versions of Mr. PG that people have actually created themselves over the years.
He says his favourite version is the well-loved homemade plush version of Mr. PG that was found at a garage sale.
“I like to call him the gonzo Mr. PG,” says Hellenius, referring to the Mr. PG’s dropping nose.
You can check out all of the Mr. PG’s, as well as other artifacts and photos at the exhibit which will officially launch with a small opening on Friday, June 28.
The exhibit is also semi-permanent so you will have plenty of time to check it out.
“So anytime you’re in Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park we hope you come into the museum and come and check it out and learn a little bit about our beloved city icon Mr. PG,” adds Leier.
The Exploration Place is located 333 Becott Place in Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park.