Mermaid best choice

Although we’re decades behind the times, it appears Fort Frances finally is serious about erecting some type of statue along our waterfront as a tourist attraction.
Of course, a giant bass is an early favourite, given Rainy Lake’s reputation for having a world-class bass fishery and the fact the annual Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship in now the major event here each July.
A much better choice, though, is a mermaid. After all, Kenora, Baudette, and Lake Kabetogama already feature big fish as their “mascots” so one is here passé. And other towns have animals, like Dryden (moose) and Wawa (Canada goose), while Ranier has dibs on a voyageur.
But offering the chance to pose beside or beneath a mermaid, well, that’s sure to pique a lot of interest—among anglers and other visitors alike. Especially since not everyone can get to Copenhagen.
The mermaid was front and centre locally this year as the Rainy Lake landmark marked her 70th anniversary, which, thanks to the local arts community, generated a fair bit of interest beyond our town borders.
Just imagine what a giant statue could do.
A statue is long overdue here, and town council is right to seek public financial support for building one. After all, local residents previously have stepped forward to help fund such important projects as the Townshend Theatre, Ice for Kids Arena, the Lions Millennium Park, and hospital renovations, among so many others.
But let’s also make one thing clear. While it’s imperative to get another tourist attraction here, let’s make sure we maintain it. Frankly, our track record is terrible—from the now long gone first “big chair” at Pither’s Point to Fort St. Pierre and the Lookout Tower.
The mermaid would be great, but as an attraction to get tourists to stop here and a marketing tool to promote the area, not another eventual eyesore that’s become far too common around here these days.

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