First there was Elephant Rock. Now, there appears to be Hippo Rock.
Following the rock formation’s demise in western P.E.I.’s Norway in 1999 due to the forces of nature, there now appears to be an heir apparent not too far away in Kildare on the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
One Islander was out on her Sea-doo recently and snapped pictures of a natural phenomenon that looks remarkably similar to Elephant Rock.
“There was one emerging,’’ said Anne Arsenault, general manager of Tignish Initiatives Corp., referring to the fact that Elephant Rock passing the mantle. “I saw it on Facebook, and some people are saying it looks more like a hippo than it does an elephant.’’
Back in its day, Elephant Rock was a big tourist attraction, drawing more than 5,300 people to the site in Norway per week. The natural formation resembling a giant pachyderm was ruined when wind and pounding ocean surf snapped off the truck over the Christmas holidays in 1998.
In the short term, the loss as a tourist attraction was serious.
“It looked so much like an elephant,’’ Jo-Anne Wallace, general manager of the Western Development Corporation, told The Guardian in 1999. “People would come two or three times every summer to look at it.’’
Arsenault said the new Elephant Rock, the one she said resembles a hippo, seems to be mostly a mystery so far. It doesn’t appear to be visible from any roadway.
“I’m going to have to find out where it is and get down and have a look at it,’’ Arsenault said. “My guess is it’s been there for a while, and I think the thing is it’s difficult to see unless you go on private property.’’
Betty Clements, who works at Jacques Cartier Provincial Park in Kildare, said it’s news to them.
“Never heard a word about this,’’ Clements said. “Never heard tell of it, and that would be something people would talk about.’’
Clements said even though they’re located right on the shore, no one — not staff or campers — has mentioned any sort of Elephant Rock-like creation. She said even though they’ve had a great season so far, this would be great for business.
“We could always take more business. You never turn anybody away.’’
Arsenault said groups have been hesitant to promote it.
“I just remember there was a little bit of discussion last year . . . a little bit of hesitation for us to promote it because we didn’t want to be responsible for having hordes of people show up on somebody’s private property.’’