It has been 93 years since a bear was spotted on P.E.I., but that is not stopping a lot of Islanders from organizing a hunt.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic, P.E.I.’s chief public health officer has said children from different households should not interact in person until further notice.
The P.E.I. Bear Hunt, organized through a Facebook group of the same name, is being built by Islanders looking to help provide an easy activity for parents to undertake while adhering to the ongoing requirement that they socially distance themselves.
The idea is that participants put stuffed animals in their windowsills, mailboxes or someplace else that is visible from the road. Parents then take their children for a drive and they count how many they can spot along their journey.
The Facebook group was only created on Sunday and in fewer than 24 hours had hundreds of posts from homeowners showing off their furry contributions.
The woman who created the group, Kim Baglole of Southwest Lot 16, said she is overwhelmed by how positive the response has been.
“I just love it. It’s just so positive, right when everybody needs some positivity. Everybody is scared … so this just provides a distraction. COVID-19 is still going to be there when their bear hunt is over, but at least (families) got to occupy the kids for a little while,” she said.
Baglole, who is originally from Newfoundland and Labrador, found the idea for the bear hunt on a Gander-based Facebook Group. That community really seemed to be getting behind the idea, so she decided to create a group for P.E.I.
However, she admits she had to get creative to participate herself. She did not actually have any stuffed animals in the house, so she took a bee Halloween costume she had for her shih-tzu and stuffed it so it would look like a bear.
“My bumble-bear is hanging in my window,” she laughed.
The bear hunt activity is originally from a 1989 children’s book and song called “We’re Going On a Bear Hunt,” by author Michael Rosen and illustrator Helen Oxenbury.
On Monday morning Baglole asked for feedback from those who had gone for a hunt and got a flurry of positive responses.
“We really enjoyed driving around this morning and trying to spot teddy bears in the windows of our community! It was a nice break from our current reality. The kids were excited and truly enjoyed it,” noted Lindsay Dawson.
Venessa Arsenault added, “We spent an hour and a half this morning hunting for bears and it was the most excitement my four-year-old had all week! My daughter found so many bears it tuckered her out.”
Baglole and her husband planned on taking a drive Monday afternoon as well and go on a hunt of their own.
Everyone needs a little levity during these trying times, she said.