Well-known island greeter Johnny Barnes is now extending his welcoming gaze at a Canadian school, with the Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute in Ontario installing a statue of the iconic Bermudian in order to incorporate Mr. Barnes’ “welcoming spirit.”
Mr. Barnes is well-known in Bermuda, spending each morning welcoming people driving into the island’s capital of Hamilton with a wave and cries of “I love you,” brightening the day of everyone who passes.
The statue was originally commissioned by the Keenan family of Toronto, Ontario, who had gotten to know Mr. Barnes and his extraordinary story during frequent travels to Bermuda.
After connecting strongly with both the icon and his admirable effort to spread happiness to everyone on the island, the family had the statue placed on their personal property.
Following the recent passing of Mr. Pat Keenan, his wife Barb donated the statue to the school in the hope of allowing the story of Mr. Barnes’ unique legacy to continue to be told in Canada.
The school’s reaction has been a positive one, with the Institute’s principal saying that Johnny Barnes “represents diversity,” and the statue has since become a popular spot for both conversation and selfies.