Ray Taheri’s close friendship with a man who made an indelible impression on him, and the Okanagan in general, has set him on a global adventure.
Taheri, a UBC Okanagan professor, is headed to eastern Europe on Wednesday, with a 70 -pound bronze bust that’s the likeness of his old friend Peter Nicu in tow. Atop Nicu’s head is a hat and a symbol that is synonymous with Kelowna and, for many, Nicu, himself — the Ogopogo.
Once he gets to Nicu’s old homeland in Romania, he will fulfill a deathbed promise he made to Nicu 10 years earlier.
He will install the statue at a children’s centre where he plans to develop an educational program aimed at fostering creativity and curiosity. It’s what Nicu — who in life gained the nickname “father of the Ogopogo” for his Ogopogo-themed creations — would have wanted, he thinks.