Video produced by Aux Trois Couvents, a place of cultural discoveries, 2019
Interviewee: Gaston Cloutier
Gaston Cloutier reminisces about Alvin Baker’s bear.
[Gaston Cloutier] Mr. Baker, I’m not sure why—in fact, I still wonder to this day—wanted to have a bear as a mascot. Some people brought a little bear cub here, and he raised it, feeding it with a milk bottle. It became like a pet cat in a way, and that’s how he raised it.
And of course, it grew bigger. And it became an attraction. So, people from around here, when they talk about Baker’s bear… I remember my mother used to say to us kids, “If you don’t behave yourselves, I’m going to take you to see Baker’s bear.” But the bear had been dead for years by then, so that didn’t scare us.
But it was quite an attraction. People would have their picture taken beside the bear. They and Mr. Baker… ladies would feed the bear chocolates from chocolate boxes. It was famous for miles around. It was a great attraction. It was fantastic! People used to say, “There’s a man here with a bear! And he treats it like his pet dog!”
He would take photos with the tourists, and the tourists would have the bear sit on their laps. Oh, it was a real attraction alright!