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Made in Windsor: Those show-stealing giant beavers, Mounties, moose and hockey players

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  • RICHARD PIET
    Made in Windsor: Those show-stealing giant beavers, Mounties, moose and hockey players Staff at Dynamic Displays sworn to secrecy  By Sharon Hill, The
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2010
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      Made in Windsor: Those show-stealing giant beavers, Mounties, moose and hockey players Staff at Dynamic Displays 'sworn to secrecy' By Sharon Hill, The Windsor StarMarch 3, 2010  


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       Giant
      beavers were part of the "Made in Canada" segment during the closing
      ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British
      Columbia, on Sunday, February 28, 2010. More specifically, they were
      made in Windsor at Dynamic Displays on Crawford Avenue, along with
      giant inflatable moose, Mounties and hockey players.Photograph by: Jason Payne, Canwest News ServiceWINDSOR,
      Ont. -- The icons of the Olympic closing ceremonies — giant inflatable
      beavers, Mounties, flying moose and hockey players — were all made in
      Windsor.“It was exciting … the stuff you made is shown on
      television and the whole world is seeing it,” 74-year-old Maria Reuten
      said Tuesday from Dynamic Displays on Crawford Avenue.Reuten
      sewed all 12 hockey players, which were stuffed with foam and stood
      about 18 feet tall. She phoned her sister and brother in Holland to
      tell them to watch for her handiwork. The Windsor company,
      which has been in business since 1962, had to keep its Olympic
      production under wraps. “We were sworn to secrecy,” said owner Steve
      Thomson, who was in Vancouver Tuesday. “It was killing us.”The
      giant inflatable beaver is so popular it has its own Facebook fan page
      and Dynamic Displays is taking calls from prospective buyers.The
      Olympic props are being trucked back to Windsor this week and you could
      own one for about $5,000 or more for the larger moose.Thomson, 40, said they will be for sale. The
      company, started by his dad James, has clients worldwide and makes
      inflatables from tubular sky dancers that wiggle along roadsides and
      20-foot gorillas on lawns and rooftops to giant parade balloons
      including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Oscar the Grouch and Smurfs. The
      company’s inflatables have graced Thanksgiving Day parades in Detroit,
      Philadelphia and Chicago to name a few spots. Thomson said that for six
      Superbowls he’s created giant inflatable helmets the football players
      run through.Thomson said it was amazing to have so much of their work in the Olympics’ grand finale. There
      were 38 props: four flying moose, six beavers, a dozen hockey players
      and 16 Mounted police. Most were 18 feet high but the moose was 35 feet
      tall and 28 feet long. Thomson joked the only thing missing from the
      show that gave Canada a chance to poke fun at itself was the space
      shuttle arm and a Tim Hortons cup. (His company does have a giant Tim
      Hortons cup.)Back home in Windsor, Dynamic Displays employees
      Cesar Gomez and his son Isaiah said they were proud to be part of the
      Olympics. “Everybody in the world could see,” said Isaiah, 19. The closing ceremonies were watched by billions worldwide and more than 16 million viewers in Canada.Cesar commented on the crowd’s reaction. “When people see the inflatables, they go crazy,” Cesar said.Becky
      Thomson, 25, who is Steve’s niece and who helped her sister Deborah
      paint the inflatable beavers, said watching the closing ceremonies was
      surreal. Employees didn’t get to see how all the inflatables would work
      together in the finale until they watched it on television. She said
      she knew it would either be cool or really lame, but viewers got the
      joke. For Steve Thomson, who got to see the live crowd reaction but not the broadcast, it was “a whole lot of fun.”He
      said he got a call from the producer of the closing ceremonies more
      than a year ago. He bid for the project — he wouldn’t say how much the
      company received — and started four months of production in October. It
      came during the company’s busiest Thanksgiving parade period and as
      workers were preparing for the Quebec Winter Carnival, including making
      an inflatable Bonhomme. At its peak production the company has about 20
      employees.The producer sent pictures and the Windsor workers
      made prototypes. Windsor Welding did the frames inside the figures. The
      final balloons were handpainted. Just the sewing on one hockey player
      took four hours.Employees back home were surprised to see gold
      medals on the retro tabletop hockey players. Thomson, who arrived with
      his family in Vancouver Feb. 13, said they made medals when Canada’s
      men’s team qualified for the gold medal round. But it was a mad dash to
      get them on the statues after Canada won gold in overtime.© Copyright (c) The Windsor Star
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       PreviousNext  Mike Graston cartoon for Wednesday, March 3, 2010.Photograph by: Mike Graston, The Windsor Star 


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