People are rushing to get their photos in with the Howard the Nanoose Gnome while they still can, before the giant fixture for motorists on the mid-Island is moved away for good.

“He’s kind of our thing,” said motorist Anita Pitman.

“You know, we’re almost there guys, there’s the gnome, do the wave,” said Pitman.

The current owners of the gas station that Howard’s lived at for 20-years have told the family of the gnome’s late builder that he’s falling into disrepair and they want him gone.

So the Hale family put out a public appeal for interested adopters in early March and have been overwhelmed by people willing to take him on.

“We’ve had about 120 people from across North America,” said Chris Hale, whose father Ron Hale built the gnome in 1998.

“From Georgia, from Illinois, from Washington State, from New Brunswick.”

The family has decided to keep their late father’s work of joy on Vancouver Island though and have whittled down the applicants to a list of five:

  • The Fast Time Grand Prix Go Kart track in Coombs
  • The Log Cabin General Store at Parksville’s Rathtrevor Beach
  • Treasures RV Park and Curios that overlooks the Junction at Hwy 4 in Coombs
  • White River Resort in Sayward
  • Galey Farms in Saanich.
“All of them have a fair chance,” said Hale.

“We’re doing the due diligence now and the due diligence is the longevity, if they’ll look after it. If they have the resources to look after it.”

Peter Haseltine’s Log Cabin store made the cut and he says he would be overjoyed to get Howard.

“I’m nostalgic,” said Haseltine.

“That’s why I have the log cabin. I play with old cars. You know everything I do is about a time past.”

Chris Hale is certain that his Dad would be proud of what they’re doing for Howard.

“He’s smiling up top right now. He’s looking down at this and he’s just laughing,” said Hale.

A final decision on where Howard the World’s Tallest Gnome will go will be announced on Tuesday.

Skye Ryan