Howard, the world’s tallest gnome, could soon call Saanich his new home.
Galey Farms could find out Tuesday whether it will have beaten out four other possible locations for the iconic eight-metre gnome, who has been looking for a new home since earlier this month.
Howard has stood tall along the Island Highway near Nanoose Bay since 1998, but Bridget Matewish — the grand-daughter of Howard’s builder Ron Hale — announced earlier this month that the new owners of Howard’s land would tear him down if he does not move by April 30, a difficult feat for any structure made out of innate material.
Galey Farms learned earlier this week that it had made the short-list after 100 groups submitted bids.
For Rob Galey, Howard’s arrival would be a form of personal home-coming. When he was racing motorcycles indoors during the winter months of 2003, 2004, and 2005 near Nanoose Bay, Howard would greet him.
Professionally, Howard would also fit in perfectly with all the other fantastical creatures that chill and thrill visitors to the farm’s collection of haunted abodes and magical realms.
Galey said Matewish personally visited the farm earlier this week to tell him that his farm had made the short-list, telling him that she remembered the farm from her time as a student at Camosun College.
“‘This place is magical,’ she said,” said Galey.
Galey, for his part, hopes to preserve the magic of Howard. Should his farm secure the winning bid, he plans to pick up Howard with his own equipment. Howard will then undergo an inspection and renovations that promise to breathe new life into him through the additions of animatronics in time for the annual pumpkin festival.
“I would like to make him wave,” he said. “A waving gnome is better than a standing gnome.”
According to Galey, Matewish’ family has given the idea their blessing. They just want Howard to have a happy home and a long life, he said.