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Restaurant's Moose Head Shot Down by Buzzkill City Officials

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Taxidermy a no-go in downtown Joliette.

Jean-Philippe Marion outside Élan
Jean-Philippe Marion outside Élan
Jean-Philippe Marion

A new restaurant in Joliette, 50 km northeast of Montreal, has come under fire for a bold exterior design choice. Owner Jean-Philippe Marion bills Élan as a hunting and fishing themed brasserie. To make that emphatically clear, the entrepreneur recently drove 600 km round trip to purchase a $1,500 bull moose head from a dealer in Beaumont, Quebec. The animal was shot in the Laurentides Wildlife Reserve in 1990. The hunting trophy was subsequently mounted outside Élan, in Joliette's small business district. Not so fast, city officials warned Marion, in a letter that judged the moose head in bad taste.

"I was under the impression from the city's urban planning committee that it would be accepted," confessed Marion in a phone interview today. "I had submitted a plan and everything. But now it's caught up in bureaucracy. I have to remove the moose head, or else I'll be fined. Honestly, I find it strange that the personal tastes of eight people can dictate what looks good and what doesn't." Alain Beaudry, the mayor of Joliette, told Le Journal de Montréal today that the moose head "does not match the beauty of the city."

Marion has also been ordered to remove an image of a moose from his restaurant's window, because it apparently takes up more than 30% of the window's surface. Élan's owner will comply with all the directives, albeit in dramatic fashion. Marion announced to Eater today that the moose head trophy will be removed tomorrow, on opening night. All of Joliette, and beyond, has been invited to the dismantling ceremony, and a huge photo op is being planned. In the meantime, it looks like Marion will have an opportunity to appeal the city's decision in January.