by Gayle Johnson
Cabrea, the Dunrea town mascot, has a rather interesting history that not many people know.
When a man named Dollard Mailhot and his family moved to Dunrea, he was wowed by the number of geese that flew over the town in the spring and the fall. Although he had of course seen geese in flight before, the tremendous number of geese was awe inspiring.
Dollard Mailhot features prominently in the story of Cabrea.
Back in the day, Dollard, the owner/operator of the Dunrea Hotel, was also an antique collector and according to his daughter Carol Mailhot Boulet, it was his love of antiques that sparked the start of the Dunrea Antiques and Collectables Flea Market Committee with four other like minded fellows. This committee was responsible for the original annual Dunrea Flea Market which was held in Dunrea for many years before it was moved.
Dollard had the idea that the great town of Dunrea needed a town mascot and it was decided that this should be the town’s Y2K project. Everyone was behind the project which, with approval, was funded completely by the income from annual Flea Markets.
The choice of the mascot being a snow goose was a simple one to make. Although many geese flew on that migration path, the most plentiful bird of all was the Snow Goose.
With approval and funding in place, research began regarding the cost, materials and artists capable of making the mascot a reality.
The project was awarded to Ralph Berg from Cabri, Saskatchewan who did a magnificent job replicating a much larger form of a snow goose.
Dollard realized you couldn’t just plunk Cabrea down facing one way year round, that just seemed wrong. Very much an innovator, Dollard designed and built a stand for Cabrea that allowed the mascot to be turned from facing north in the spring to facing south in the fall.
It was an ingenious idea that even the mascot seemed to enjoy!
With the giant Snow Goose mascot in place, it was time to pick a name. After a contest was held, the moniker chosen was a melding of names from both where the mascot came from (Cabri) and where it made its home (Dunrea) thus was born the name Cabrea!
If you are out for a drive, take the time to visit Cabrea in Dunrea.
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