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'Iconic' geese to be memorialized with poems, songs after crosswalk accident

From CTV - August 11, 2017

HALIFAX -- Two well-loved geese who were run down by a motorist will be memorialized Saturday by local residents who see them as far more than just a couple noisy birds.

The geese were among nine known for using a crosswalk to get to their home on Sullivan's Pond in downtown Dartmouth, a fiercely independent enclave across the harbour from Halifax's core.

Three were hit by a motorist heading downtown at Wednesday's afternoon rush hour, with one surviving, police said.

Katy Jean, a poet, artist and part-time restaurant server whose home overlooks the pond, said Friday she was expecting -- and got -- skeptical reactions to the idea of a memorial, to be held Saturday evening.

But she said the geese are "almost part of the architecture of the area" and prominent in local art and memorabilia.

A video of them slowly waddling across a zebra crossing, oblivious to waiting cars, has been featured on American TV host Ellen DeGeneres' "ellentube" web site.

Jean said the famously grumpy birds serve almost as a Grimms' Fairy Tale for local children.

"You will see people walk about five feet around their radius, but we still feed them and they are harmless," Jean -- known for her Dartmouth Haiku Twitter poems -- said in an interview.

"I have never actually witnessed the mythology of a goose biting someone, although my parents lived on the pond 30-some years ago and one almost bit my brother's toe when he was an infant. But they definitely are Oscar the Grouch and people do appreciate them."

"They are immortalized in murals and paintings all around Dartmouth, they are a huge icon of Dartmouth."

The deaths at first prompted an outpouring of anger, after reports that the driver had hit the birds intentionally. One person posted an online petition demanding the driver face motor vehicle charges, garnering about 1,260 signatures by Friday afternoon.

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