Move over, crop circles. It’s winter and there’s a new mysterious ground art in town and its name is … giant snow bears! And, just as some intricate crop circles defy explanation, so does this frozen art from the Great White North. Observers at the site and those viewing the picture online around the world want to know the same thing … how did the bear get its navel when there are no footprints or paths around it?
“Sometime overnight Tuesday, someone — or some people — made a giant snow bear on the Lachine Canal, near Beaudoin Street in the Montreal neighbourhood of Saint-Henri. It's a delightful bear, carefully conceived and expertly executed. The bear's outline was stamped out right next to a footbridge crossing the canal in southwest Montreal — a prime location for picture-taking. But how did its mysterious makers do the belly button?”
It’s midweek the dead of the Canadian winter, so that could be why this story, which started with a Facebook post, was quickly jumped on by award-winning journalist (silver medal winner of the Atlantic Journalism Award in enterprise print reporting) Kate McKenna writing for CBC Montreal. The giant snow bear (see photos here) -- 4 meters (13 feet) across the belly, which is coincidentally at the center of the mystery – was found on the morning of January 30th in the snow covering the frozen Lachine Canal (Canal de Lachine) in the southwestern part of the Island of Montreal. Being an award-winning journalist, Kate immediately went for the intrigue.
“It's hard to tell from the picture, but the bear is giant. There are easily two metres between the bear's sides and the belly button. That's not an easy jump. So how did they make the belly button?”
Kate listed some of the many theories proposed about the belly button mystery and there are reasons why they wouldn’t float … if the canal wasn’t frozen.
The artist jumped. Tough to do on ice without leaving a telltale butt imprint where he or she fell.
The artist threw snowballs. This is Canada, not New York City. Even the Yankees’ best pitcher couldn’t toss four snowballs to make such a perfect pattern.
A hockey stick. Yes, this is Montreal. That’s a possibility, although the perfection of the navel might be impossible holding a heavy stick at the very tip.
A drone. The go-to cause of all mysteries these days, that’s another possibility, although the snow around the navel doesn’t show marks from propeller wind or any accidental touchdowns.
The artist drew the bear around prints or marks that were already there. This one makes the most sense – except it still doesn’t explain how the marks got there originally. Also, McKenna checked the weather report and it snowed until 5 am – little time to make an outline around a random imprint and make sure the body of the bear is the same depth as the belly button.
Aliens. By process of elimination and the fact that the prints seem too small to be a Sasquatch.
Being an award-winning journalist and facing another slow news day, McKenna returned to the mysterious bear belly button story today with an update. No one has solved the mystery, but “a clue has surfaced.” CBC Montreal received a photo from neighbourhood resident Hamish Lloyd Lambert — taken around 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, he said — that shows two people making the bear … without any tools. There goes the hockey stick theory. She also points out that the temperature at 10 pm was – 20 C (-4 F) which is believed to be too cold for drone batteries to operate. Could these two people have brought out a rope with a weight or boot in the middle, strung it over the bear’s belly and dropped it to make the navel? Now we’re thinking like crop circle debunkers, but there’s still no proof.
Being an award-winning journalist and facing another slow news day, McKenna will probably be back at the bear site today testing new theories, right? Sadly, her last report says the bear is gone (updated photos here), perhaps covered by new snowfall. She also posted a warning from local officials to future bear making people or aliens that “Walking on the canal is not allowed.”
Did that ever stop crop circle makers?