A bear hunt is afoot in Yellowknife, but locals don’t have to worry – no live bears are involved. Teddy bears and other stuffed critters have sprung up in windows across the city.
Residents have teamed up to create the “bear hunt” as a means of entertaining kids and families during the Covid-19 public health emergency, when new and fun activities are hard to come by.
Dawn Beaudoin Radix, who has been organizing the bear hunt through Facebook, said her four sons at home – who are “full of craziness and energy” – missed being involved in activities and seeing their friends. Her oldest son is 10 years old and her youngest turned two on Sunday.
“I just decided, hey, let’s see if maybe I can start this and this would give them a little bit of excitement, something to look forward to, a little something to get out of the house for an hour in the evening,” she said.
Participants are encouraged to place teddy bears in their street-facing windows from March 24 to 31. Families can walk or drive around town – while maintaining a healthy distance from others – to see how many they can spot.
Beaudoin Radix came up with the idea after seeing a similar event on social media in her hometown of Port Saunders, Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Instead of seeing all the doom and gloom and sadness and uncertainty and terror that’s happening right now, I’ve seen some happiness,” she said.
Bear hunts have been a growing global trend during the Covid-19 pandemic. While it’s unclear where they started, they appear to be inspired by Michael Rosen’s 1989 children’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, which is based on a popular children’s song of the same name.
In Yellowknife, the idea has taken off. Beaudoin Radix says more than 100 people have told her they are participating, including adults without kids.
“Here is the reason I started this. My beautiful wild boys,” says Dawn Beaudoin Radix, who submitted this photo.
“It’s been a huge positive response and it seems like people are actually having fun,” she said.
Beaudoin Radix said a few people had expressed concerns about the potential dangers of people being out in public. She hopes participants will remain with members of their household and follow public health precautions while looking for the bears.
In its public response to Covid-19, the territorial government has encouraged people to plan outdoor activities where they “can have fun without being close to others.”
Jena Jones is among those whose front window now has some fluffy friends. Her own child is grown up but she wanted to show solidarity when so many people are in isolation.
Jena Jones included her hero Wonder Woman in her window display. Photo submitted by Jena Jones.
“This is a beautiful, beautiful town – and anything for the kids, anything that’ll help bring a little bit of extra cheer to them,” she said.
“It’s good for us to come together as a community for the kids, because I don’t think they fully understand the significance of isolation.”
Jones’s window display includes not only a stuffed bear but also a stuffed rabbit for Easter, and even a Wonder Woman doll.
“Every little girl and boy need to look up to a hero and she’s my hero, so I thought I would share that,” she explained. “I think adding Wonder Woman puts a little bit of humour to it, you know, for adults. Adults need a superhero too.”
Beaudoin Radix says her family is finding lots of ways to keep busy during the public health emergency. She’s also considering organizing an Easter egg hunt next month, where people would put Easter displays in their windows.
“We’re just taking it day by day, trying to do as many creative and fun things as possible,” she said.