The original “Grizlee” statue being placed in its current location in 1999. (Facebook photo)

White Rock’s ‘Grizlee’ sculpture to be replaced

Popular statue was installed 20 years ago in memory of Lee Slavin

The family responsible for the memorial grizzly bear sculpture on White Rock’s East Beach – which over the years has turned into a popular landmark – has announced a plan to replace it.

More than $8,000 has been raised to replace “Grizlee,” a stone sculpture that stands about five feet tall and weighs approximately 2,000 pounds.

Located at the foot of Finlay Street, off Marine Drive and on the south side of the railway tracks, the statue was donated to the City of White Rock by Frank Slavin in memory of his son, Lee Slavin, in August, 1999.

Lee died in a car crash in South Surrey in early 1998.

Frank, who has been a stonemason for 60 years, told Peace Arch News the statue, and its replacement, is a tender subject.

The reason for replacing the statue, he said, is because it sustained damage over 20 years of weathering on White Rock’s waterfront.

“The nose is damaged so bad. I could fix it with cheaper materials, but it’s not the thing to do,” Frank said, adding that he’s proud of the statue.

Frank said he doesn’t have a timeline for the replacement.

“We have time on this, it’s not like it’s going to go in tomorrow.”

On the fundraising Facebook page, Lee’s brother Cory wrote that the bear is meant to look across the water at Point Roberts, “where we camped for most of our summers growing up.”

“As beautiful as it is, sadly, Grizlee has taken a lot of abuse over the years. I go on Sunday nights to visit, and often see kids climbing all over it. Always upset me, but my Dad would remind me it’s there for people to enjoy. You cant stop it,” Cory wrote.

“The nose has been knocked off, fixed, knocked off again.”

The memorial has become something of a meeting place on White Rock’s beach. It even has its location pinned on Google Maps, with several positive reviews.

“I walk from the west side and greeting this bear statue is a great goal before I head back to the west side,” Nina Halliday wrote as a review of the statue.

To contact Cory, or learn about the fundraiser project, visit https://tinyurl.com/yxhao4a4

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“Grizlee,” a statue on White Rock’s East Beach in memory of Lee Slavin, is to be replaced. (Aaron Hinks photo)

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