Howard the Gnome will soon be at his new home at Galey Farms in Saanich.
“Gnome-body” on #Saanich Council opposed to height variance to allow @GaleyFarms to bring #HowardtheGnome to @Saanich. This variance (16”) is an indication to me that we support farmers in our municipality. Agri-tourism is an economic necessity in this day and age. #WelcomeGnome
— Colin Plant (@ColinPlant2018) September 10, 2019
In a unanimous vote at Monday night’s meeting, Saanich council approved Rob Galey’s development variance permit to bring the world’s tallest gnome to his farm.
Galey was happy to hear the news. “Howard is one of my best friends,” he explained. “He’ll be here at Galey Farms forever.”
The two have been buddies since 2002 when Galey’s indoor racing team practised at the arena across the street from Howard’s old home. Howard was built in 1998 and spent many years waving to gas station customers in Nanoose Bay.
Galey purchased the 26-foot-tall gnome in the spring for one dollar but had to keep him in an undisclosed location as he is 16 inches above Saanich’s legal height limit and council approval was required before he could take up his post in the pumpkin patch near the railroad at Galey Farms.
Galey and his staff have been giving the large gnome a make-over so that he’ll be ready for photos this fall. He’s been given blue eyes, lips, eyelashes and a mechanic arm so he can wave at those who pass by. Galey promises Howard will look friendly, not scary, and that a fun voice is in the works.
The Agricultural Land Commission did not give permission for Howard to be on the farm permanently, so he will be a temporary structure and will only stand guard in the fall. For the rest of the year, he will snooze in storage.
Eventually, Howard will have some company as Galey plans to build a “Gnome-man’s Land” full of mechanical gnomes and other creatures. Until then, Howard will work alone and wave to the folks on the train.
Howard will make his debut on Oct. 5, just in time for Pumpkin Fest and for the 20th anniversary of the Galey Farms corn maze and market.