An iconic character who stood at the entrance to Cochrane for more than half a century has taken up new residence.

Chimo was retired last year and replaced by a younger polar bear statue.

He was saved from the indignity of retirement in the local public works yard by – who else? – executive director Michael Honeth and his staff at the Polar Bear Habitat.

“Since our mission is to save polar bears,” Honeth outlines, “we thought hey, why not bring the old Chimo to the Habitat as well?”  Chimo now stands at the Habitat entrance.

If you stood out in the elements 24/7 for more than half a century you would be showing your age

Honeth says the Habitat is now raising awareness and funds to have restoration work done to Chimo.

“Even though he’s primarily made out of fiberglass and epoxy, the winters and summer changes really do take a toll,” he says.

Honeth acknowledges that the new Chimo is a topic of debate in Cochrane.

“It does seem to split the town a little bit between the supporters and the detractors, but now they have both, so they can choose which one they prefer.”

An awareness and fundraising campaign for restoration work on the original Chimo will start soon.