The City of Fernie council discussed purchasing the rights to the Griz symbol during the June 22 council meeting.
Coun. Jon Levesque highlighted that the Griz symbol, an iconic symbol in Fernie, is currently owned.
Owner and operator of the Ski Base, Zuzana Simpson currently has the rights to the Griz symbol.
During the council meeting, Fernie Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Patty Vadnais stated that during the Griz Days celebration, she has to request that the symbol be used in The Free Press Griz Days supplement.
“The branding of our town is, in part, related to the Griz, but I was told somebody owns that,” Levesque said. “We’ve kind of put ourselves in the corner. How do we get past this obstacle?”
As the co-owner of the Gear Hub, Levesque expressed interest in having the symbol incorporated onto shirts and other memorabilia.
“The Griz has really become an icon of the City of Fernie,” he said.
Coun. Joe Warshawsky suggested rebranding Fernie and incorporating another iconic symbol like the Ghostrider into the annual celebration.
Mayor Mary Giuliano, however, did not approve of suddenly changing the name of an annual celebration that has been a part of the community for nearly 40 years.
“Fernie is known for Griz Days,” she said, adding that she could not see them suddenly changing the celebration name to Ghostrider Days. “It would kill a whole lot of things, I couldn’t see that happening.”
Coun. Phil Iddon suggested approaching Simpson and requesting the rights to the symbol.
“The Griz is not a City of Fernie brand,” he explained. “We, as a group, should approach [them] and try to make that one of the Fernie symbols and, in doing so, acquire it so that it is more widely available.”
Coun. Dan McSkimming reiterated Iddon’s remarks, stating, “I think we’re dealing with people that are very reasonable [and] who love Fernie. It’s worth having a conversation.”
The city unanimously agreed to send a written request to the owner of the Griz symbol in addition to approaching her in person.