Harvey The Rabbit and Sears Department Store

January 7, 2018 at 9:47 pm (Personal essays) (, , , , )

Harvey The Rabbit and Sears Department Store

Tomorrow the last of Sears Canada’s 130 remaining stores will close.

Among the Sears stores closing will be the Sears at North Hill Mall in Calgary.

I have many fond memories of that particular Sears store and North Hill Mall in general.

Because as a kid, whenever my family came down from Edmonton to Calgary to visit my grandparents, that was the closest mall to where my grandparents lived.

So my sister and I would often walk there.

In those days, North Hill Mall seemed a fantastic place.

When I moved to Calgary in 2016, I did visit North Hill Mall- once.

Now it seemed to resemble a federal penitentiary more than a shopping mall and so I haven’t been back since.

My most vivid memory of the Sears store at North Hill Mall in Calgary was buying a plush animal there when I was a kid.

The plush animal that I bought there was a 3-foot tall purple bunny rabbit with big pink floppy ears and a big pink floppy tail.

I called the rabbit Harvey after the rabbit in an old 1950 comedy movie with Jimmy Stewart.

Harvey is a rabbit that is seen by a wealthy drunk named Elwood P. Dowd (Jimmy Stewart).

Most of Dowd’s relatives and friends think the 6 ft. tall giant rabbit that Dowd sees and talks to is imaginary and seek to have him committed to an insane asylum.

By the end of the movie, it becomes apparent that Harvey is real but only a few people are able to see him.

So when I bought Harvey, the store clerk at Sears did not have a big enough shopping bag to put him in.

She managed to fit most of him into the bag but as my sister remarked at the time, “His bum is sticking up in the air with his big pink fluffy tail sticking out.”

This could pose a problem.

Because to get back to my grandparents, we’d have to walk along 16th Ave N which just also happens to be the Trans-Canada Highway (Canada’s national coast to coast highway).

And the thought occurred to me that it might be somewhat embarrassing to walk along Calgary’s stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway holding a shopping bag with a purple bunny rabbit’s bum with a big pink fluffy tail sticking up in the air.

So I asked my sister if she would carry it for me.

She naturally said no.

I then said I’d give her 5 bucks if she’d do it.

She wanted to see the money first so I gave it to her.

Of course a quarter of the way home back to our grandparents with cars slowing down along the Trans-Canada so drivers and passengers could stare at a big purple bunny rabbit bum with a big pink fluffy tail sticking out of a shopping bag, my sister offered to give the 5 bucks back if I’d take the shopping bag from her.

I refused.

When we got back to our grandparents, my sister spent the entire day complaining about having to carry a shopping bag along the Trans-Canada Highway with a big purple bunny rabbit’s bum with a big pink floppy tail sticking out of it.

Who’d have thought that the closing of a big department store would have brought back such amazing memories? πŸ˜‰

-A personal essay
written by Christopher
Sunday January 7th


  1. Christine Valentor said,

    Cute story! I was always a fan of the movie Harvey (and rabbits in general.) Very sad about the closing of Sears. Here in Chicago, when the Sears Tower was bought by Willis and hence became the Willis Tower, it was sad for us too. To this day I cannot get used to calling it ‘Willis’. It somehow seems just wrong πŸ™‚

    • Dracul Van Helsing said,

      I agree. The passing of Sears stores is definitely the end of an era.

      • Christine Valentor said,

        One of those things you thought would never close.

      • Dracul Van Helsing said,


        I’ve seen so many major department stores in Canada close in my life time- Woodward’s, Eaton’s, Woolco, Woolworth’s, Kresge’s, Kmart- I thought Sears would be the one that would last.

        But it was not to be.

      • Christine Valentor said,

        We still have Kmart in the US. Woolworth’s closed decades ago. Times are definitely changing.

      • Dracul Van Helsing said,

        Yes they are.

  2. George F. said,

    I acted in the play Harvey back in the day. So far back in the day…I don’t remember which character I played…but it was fun…and I wonder if the mall is different, or you simply remember the mall through the eyes of a child your perception was quite different, quite magical…and quite wondrous because that’s the way children see things…

    • Dracul Van Helsing said,

      Yes, children often see things in a wondrous magical fashion.

      Still I don’t remember barbed wire fences around it (or barbed wire fences around any other shopping mall then or now).

      And I don’t remember an entire 3 block stretch of sidewalk being closed off and pedestrians would have to use a single pedway to get to and fro across the other side of the road.

      Of course it seems to me the area around it is now somewhat of a dump and all sorts of shady criminal looking characters walking around.

      I suspect that even if Sears Canada stores in general hadn’t closed, that North Hill Mall Sears store probably would have.

      I don’t think they get much business.

      And there were very few other stores in the mall open when I went in 2016.

      And I suspect with the shopping mall’s flagship store Sears gone, the rest of the mall itself will probably close soon.

      If they can clear the neighbourhood out of its riff raff, they could probably turn the mall into condos.

      So you acted in the play Harvey eh?

      I once saw Harvey live on stage at a theatre in Edmonton many years ago.

  3. doesitevenmatter3 said,

    Aw, sweet! Good memories! A purple bunny bum is THE best color of bunny bum! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€
    It is sad that so many stores are closing. The stores of our childhoods. 😦
    Time marches on and online sales are hurting those stores, it seems.

    • Dracul Van Helsing said,

      I agree, Carolyn.

      A purple bunny bum is the best colour of bunny bum. πŸ˜‚

      Yes, it is sad how the stores of our childhood are closing. 😦

      Looks like at the present time, on-line sales are having a devastating effect on the shopping malls.

  4. Adnama72.wordpress.com said,

    Apologies. I have a phobia of Rabbits.

  5. Adnama72.wordpress.com said,

    They creep me out.

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