This past week, a local journalist turned me on to Winnipeg Waldo. An anonymous street artist is plastering the city with little Waldos; stripped shirt, toque, spectacles and all. All of a sudden my inner gumshoe jumped for joy at the thrill of the chase and memories of countless hours pouring over the pages of those treasured hardcover books came flooding back.
The images, many of which are barely larger than your hand are popping up all over Winnipeg to the delight of street art seekers and scavenger hunters. As Jessica’s story explains, the guerrilla art campaign started on a lark and was just supposed to be a fun thing to pass the time during the summer. But Winnipeg Waldo has taken on a larger than life persona as more and more people join in on the search.
The artist has even started a contest where you can win your own Waldo, when you find, tag and post #WinnipegWaldo #WaldoGiveaway to Instagram. The kicker though, is that even if you win, you’ll still have to track down your prize. Afterall, said the artist “It’s called Where’s Waldo, not Here’s Waldo“.
If you’re interested in heading out on the hunt, here are a few gimmes: walk around River Avenue and Osborne Street; there’s a zombie Waldo near Shaw Park and a naked Waldo at The Forks.
Below I’ve rounded up some little known facts about the bespectacled British world traveler in case your childhood interest has been rekindled like mine.
Originally appearing in 1987, there are seven books in Martin Handford’s original series. A 30th anniversary edition was published this year with a new scene. Waldo gets smaller and more difficult to find in the books as the years go by. He’s about 80% (!) smaller in the last book from 2009 than in the original. (The artist’s first notable work is album art for The Vapors – they band who did that song Turning Japanese.)
A man of many names: Waldo is the North American name for the character, but he’s known as Wally, Willy, Valli and Charlie among others in different countries.
Truly a world-wide pop-culture icon, more than 55 million Waldo books have been sold worldwide, are available in more than 38 countries and have been translated into more than 30 languages. Where’s Waldo has also been spotted in gaming, selling more than 4.6 million apps for iPhone and iPad. He’s even got his own Facebook page and of course, Waldo and Wilma or Wenda are popular cosplay costumes.
The Irish are nuts for Waldo. In 2011, a crowd of 3,872 people gathered in Dublin, all dressed as Waldo — setting the world record for the largest group of people dressed as the famous character.
A major motion picture is in the works courtesy of Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg. Release Date? Who knows.
A data scientist from Michigan actually designed an algorithm to find Waldo!