Sackville — For years New Brunswick was known, according to its licence plate, as the “Picture Province.” In 2009, the Liberal government changed all that with the popular and sorely missed “Be… In This Place” plate design. Two years later, the plates were gone and could have become another fond New Brunswick memory, like the Bricklyn, Richard Hatfield and prosperity. But a small, dedicated group of collectors is keeping the memory alive.
The plates, very few of which are still in circulation, are a rarity. Not only did the fractured phrase “Be… In This Place” introduce schoolchildren to the improper use of an ellipsis, but it single-handedly embodied the spirit of the province, according to Mount Allison philosophy professor Dr. Deiter Montbatten.
“It left the citizens of the province asking themselves, ‘What shall I be in this place, and in which place shall I be?'” Montbatten stated. “On a purely contemplative level, those words unleash a cognitive hurricane in the enlightened mind.”
Tommy Dorsett, of Memramcook, is a licence plate collector and big fan of the ’09 to ’11 edition. He boasts a collection of more than 150 plates that adorn the walls of his home, camp and office. “My buddies and I used to go to the scrapyard and pry the plates off old wrecks,” he said. “We’d take a Sharpie to them, replace them dots with a word or two, and nail ’em to the walls of the camp. It was a drinking game for us, to see who could come up with the funniest one. We’d bust a gut laughin’.”
Some of Dorsett’s favourites include: “Be leav In This Place,” “Be right f&*%ing out of er In This Place” and what he calls his personal best, “Be a disenfranchised, overeducated, unemployed 20-something with a mortgage, 2 kids and a 3-legged dog that needs another vet appointment In This Place.”
When contacted by The Manatee, a spokesman for the provincial government would neither confirm nor deny that the plates will be reintroduced in 2016.