Halifax feline Erik the Red keeps order on the boardwalk
Published Wednesday, August 7, 2013 1:47PM ADT
Like the Viking explorer that shares his name, Erik the Red is always looking for adventure on the Halifax Waterfront.
The furry feline who calls the Halifax Waterfront home is often mistaken for a stray cat but things aren’t always what they seem.
Erik took his place on the CSS Acadia 13 years ago and, since then, he has been a familiar face to visitors in downtown Halifax.
“Erik to me? Well, he’s a Halifax Waterfront icon,” says boardwalk employee Lee-Anne Milme.
“He’s refreshing. I get to see him every morning, he’ll come running over to me, you know, yelling at me every morning and then saying goodbye at the end of the night.”
Erik makes daily stops to visit merchants along the boardwalk and has made many friends over the years.
“He’s just a staple of the waterfront,” says boardwalk employee Catey Saunders. “He’s always around, always comes into the store. Everyone always asks questions about him. We have pictures up in the store.”
Aside from being a friendly face on the waterfront, Erik also has an important job aboard the CSS Acadia.
“Erik officially is the rodent control officer aboard CSS Acadia,” says Jason Climie, who works at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. “He actually takes that pretty seriously.”
Many people have picked up Erik over the years, thinking he was a stray, and some have successfully managed to take him home, but he has called the waterfront home since 2000.
“One of the unique things with Erik is he has free run not only over the whole ship, but over the entire waterfront, so he’s been seen often as far down as the Summit building as far as in the opposite direction near the ferry terminal,” says Climie.
Erik now wears a special tag which says “I live at 1675 Lower Water. I know my way home. Please put me down.” to ensure he doesn’t get mistaken for a stray and taken away from his home again.
Now, at the age of 16, Erik is slower than he used to be but he still gets the job done.
“He’s a little scruffy but he’s sweet and well taken care of, despite appearances,” says boardwalk employee Kristin MacKenzie. “But he’s old as the hills so of course he’s going to be a little ragged.”
While Erik’s cat-like reflexes may have lost a slight edge, Climie says the famous feline will likely stay on the prowl, doing the work he loves.
“He’s going to continue on not only being our rodent control officer, but I think a very special part of the boardwalk as well.”