Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington, Alberta, CANADA
“Mommy? Are they alive?”
“What do you think?”
I don’t know what I love more about this Mom – the fact that she’s so sarcastic with her kid, or the fact that she took him to see a bunch of dead gophers. Either way, Mother of the Year can’t be far behind.
The World Famous Gopher Hole Museum & Gift Shop (that’s the official name) in Torrington, Alberta is certainly not for everyone, but for those armed with 2 bucks, a curious nature, and a willingness to make a detour on Highway 27 along the Calgary-Edmonton corridor, it’s a pretty unique way to kill an hour or so.
Facing a closing school, a dying economy, and the exodus of both jobs and people, the town elders got together and decided to do what all town elders do to keep their town alive – they killed and stuffed gophers.
They secured a government grant in 1996 and now have been drawing in about 6000 tourists every summer since. (The museum is only officially open from June 1st to September 30th, but if you email or call ahead, someone will come down and open the doors for you.)
They’ll even let you try on the mask of the town mascot — Clem T. GoFur – if you ask nicely. The lady at the front desk, Bunty (I’m not making this up) said I could even go outside with it and take some photos if I wanted. Considering the fate that awaits most gophers in this town, I thought I’d pass.
Designed to mimic a gopher hole, the bulk of the dioramas are themed around local establishments or events. The titles below are what the museum has named each display. Smart ass comments are purely my own.
Once you step inside the doors of the Gopher Hole Museum, here’s what you’ll find…
(As a reward if you make it to the end – you can enter a CONTEST to win some cool (or creepy depending on your leanings) Gopher Hole Museum SWAG.)
1. Moonlight Romance
Sometimes you just crave a little privacy to plant a big fat kiss on your lover’s cold dead lips. Love the poodle skirt. And the fact that they’re playing footsies.
2. Torrington Community Hall
How does that old saying go? Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue? Somehow I don’t think they had lack-of-oxygen blue in mind for that.
3. Blacksmith Shop
“If this is a blacksmith’s shop, why am I so cold?”
4. Torrington Treasury Branch
“Go ahead. Try your best.”
5. Torrington Beauty Salon
Ummm…shouldn’t that be mortician?
6. Covered Wagon
Bet they never had anything this cool at the Calgary Stampede this year.
7. Farming with Horses
“Buttercup, did you just break wind? It smells like something died in here. Oh wait…”
8. The Old Fishing Hole
I like to call this one “Sleeping with the Fishes.”
9. Parade Day
Death of a Clown.
10. Lioness Fashion Show
Fur is murder.
11. Torrington Arena
Death on the Ice was a book I had to read in school when I was a kid. I’m pretty sure it didn’t involve gophers. Or curling…
….or gopher hockey or gopher figure skating either.
12. Pizza ‘N’ More Eh
At least chivalry isn’t dead.
13. Rich Hay Farming
From the Cliff Clavin useless trivia file, did you know that too much alfalfa can have the same effects as the female hormone estrogen. Not that this little guy has too worry. (Source: WedMD)
14. Torrington Fertilizer Plant
I believe that’s the same shovel they would have used for his grave.
15. Torrington Fire Department
Since cats are natural predators of gophers, I wonder if these fireman just leave them stuck in trees?
“Sorry lady, nothing we can do here.”
“But, but…my kitty?!?”
“Your kitty ate my Nana.”
16. Yard Sale
“How much for that corpse behind the picnic table?”
17. Hunting Season
Finally, for once, the hunted has become the hunter.
18. Village Campground
Male gopher: “Gee I hope the ants don’t ruin our picnic.”
Female gopher: “I’d be more worried about the maggots dear.”
19. Lutheran Trinity Church
“Let us pray for the souls who have gone before us. And us too I guess.”
20. Silver Willows Seniors Club
I think they both have been dealt a shitty hand.
21. Barrie’s and Bernie’s Diner
“Me too dear. Me too.”
22. Torrington Welcomes Tourists
You know, the one we cremated last spring.
The only gay gopher in the village.
24. Old Sod House
Why yes, that IS a pig in shit.
25. Torrington Go 4 Fuel and Parts
(I’m at a loss for this one. Anyone?)
26. Torrington Post Office
Hang on now, didn’t George’s fiancée on Seinfeld die from licking cheap envelopes?
Better not take any chances dear.
27. Torrington Mobile Home Park
See, there are those worse off than people who live in Trailer Parks.
28. Grain Elevators
Oh grain elevator humour — it just doesn’t get any better than this. (Seriously, it doesn’t.)
29. Torrington Play Park
“Over my dead body! Oh…okay.”
30. Torrington Viscount School
31. Indian Village
Dances With Gophers.
32. Old Log House
The resemblance to Laura Ingalls is uncanny.
33. Old Tyme Music Jamboree
They used to be like 10 times better, but I heard a rival band poached their drummer.
34. Albert GoFur
The 2010 Olympic Committee contacted the Gopher Hole Museum to create a custom diorama to be displayed at the games in Vancouver. This is Albert GoFur, on his way to a very special Olympics. I believe he placed third in the luge.
35. Torrington Hotel
“You know Johnny, my shift’s about to end, and they do rent rooms by the hour here…just sayin’.”
36. Prehistoric Times
Everyone knows that prehistoric gophers had horns. At least they got the dead part right.
The Mounties always get their man. Errr…mole. Errr…gopher. Oh whatever.
38. Serenity Garden
A Gopher’s Prayer
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know that none of it matters because I’m fucking dead.
39. Snow Scene
“What’s that Mom? I better come in before I catch my death of cold? Ummm…I think you better sit down.
You’re not gonna like what I have to say next…”
“What do you mean you don’t have any books on taxidermy?”
41. Johns Air Cooled Marine Engines Service
The diorama that outed John as a Jew.
42. Old Train Station
Yeah, any time now. It’s only been 18 years…
43. Village Office
When PETA protested the opening of the Gopher Hole Museum in 1996, the museum sent them a postcard with a two-word message:
44. Gopher Olympics
Who am I kidding? They’re all WINNERS!!!
If you’d like to be a winner too and get your greedy paws on a decidedly awesome prize, then enter the Rafflecopter Contest below.
I may not have buckets of cash or fancy iPads to give away, but I do have something I’m pretty certain none of your friends have – a World Famous Gopher Hole Museum 2013 Calendar featuring images to ooh and ahh and all around impress your posse.
Hang this baby in your cubicle to separate yourself from the herd. Give it to that special someone this Christmas to let them know what a truly twisted person they’re sleeping with. Or just safeguard it in cellophane, because one day it will most certainly be a collector’s item.
The choice is yours.
Contest ends at Midnight EST on July 31st, 2012. The contest is open WORLDWIDE. I will contact the lucky eccentric on August 1st, 2012 to get your mailing address.
For those that REALLY just NEED to have this calendar, you can come back every day to comment on and tweet about this post to get extra entries.
(If you’re the type of person who really gets a kick out of stuffed gophers in little doll dresses, I hope you’ll come even if you don’t win.)
(If you don’t see the Rafflecopter widget below, click on that wee little link that says “a Rafflecopter giveaway” to be taken to the contest.)
The World Famous Gopher Hole Museum & Gift Shop, Corner of 2nd Avenue and 1st Street, Torrington, Alberta Canada (follow the plywood gopher cut-outs)
Hours of operation: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm from June 1st to September 30th
Admission: Adults – $2.00, Under 14 – $0.50
Phone: 1 (403) 631-3931, Email: [email protected]