Big Bruce named Ontario’s favourite roadside attraction

·2 min read

CHESLEY – Big Bruce is a giant Hereford steer that resides in the heart of Bruce County’s famous cattle country.

A statement on the Bruce County Beef Farmers website describes the statue.

Constructed in 1976, Big Bruce stands proudly in the heart of cattle country at the northern edge of Chelsey. Big Bruce is a symbol of Ontario’s best beef, raised by incredible people that have a passion for their land, their community and their animals.

Towering at height of 15 feet, he was the brain-child of Harvey L. Davis, a local beef farmer and politician. At the time, Davis was reeve of Elderslie Township and warden of Bruce County. Big Bruce once lived on a golden trailer and was purchased to represent the Bruce County Cattleman’s Association at events all over Ontario. During his “mobile” days he visited fall fairs, attended Christmas parades and plowing matches. He was a huge attraction at the 1976 Bruce County Plowing Match.

He moved to Chesley in 1980 and stands in a place of honour outside the Elderslie Township building. Many a tourist has stopped for a selfie beside Big Bruce.

This past year, Big Bruce received a paint job to keep him looking his best – and a good thing, too.

Now that icon of Bruce County beef has a new claim to fame.

TVO has been highlighting Ontario’s roadside attractions, and asked viewers to pick their favourite. And it was … Big Bruce!

The handsome Hereford beat out Kenora’s Husky the Muskie and 13 other contenders including Sudbury’s Big Nickel, Colborne’s Big Apple and the Wawa goose for top honours.

According to TVO, Big Bruce “is everything you want in a roadside attraction: he’s big, he’s attractive, he’s roadside, and he tells you something about the area and the people who live there.”

The win is a fitting tribute to Mark Davis, deputy mayor of Arran-Elderslie and son of the late Harvey Davis, his family, and the people of Bruce County.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times

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