The owner of the Mystery Diner chip truck and the statue known as “The Beast of Bala” has decided to sell his business and his beast.
Mike Chesney, known by most as Muskoka Mike, is offering his chip truck along with the land, which includes the sculpture, for $250,000. The statue’s formal name is Koilos and it was made by Michael Christian for the Burning Man festival in 2007. After Burning Man, Michael Christian loaned the statue to the Distillery District in Toronto until the lease came to an end in 2013. That’s when art enthusiast Andrew Cumming decided to buy the sculpture and bring it to Muskoka.
Cumming loved the statue but was concerned that its public location was allowing it to be damaged, so he rented a truck and brought the 900-kilogram steel statue, which is over four metres tall, to his property on Baxter Island. That’s how it got the nickname “The Beast of Baxter Island” from locals.
Until July 2018, the statue sat on Cumming’s waterfront property on Lake Muskoka. He decided to get rid of the statue because it brought regular boat traffic in front of his property, which he felt caused an “undue distraction” for his neighbours on the lake, according to a letter he wrote to the Mayor of Bracebridge. In the letter, Cumming offered the Koilos to the town of Bracebridge, but while they were considering the proposal, Chesney purchased the steel giant.
Since then, the statue has held its place outside the diner on the main street of Bala, garnering the new nicknames “The Bog Monster of Bala” and “The Beast of Bala.” Now, Chesney is travelling in Indonesia and has decided to sell his chip truck along with the controversial art piece to explore other opportunities.
Koilos has been in two countries and four different cities. Could it end up somewhere else next? (UPDATE: Read about Koilos and his move to Muskoka Lakes Farm & Winery here)