A concrete elephant statue, standing on a platform overlooking a hill, blocked by a black fence. Trees are in the background.
Jumbo statue in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. Photo taken by Ted Drake.

The Jumbo the Elephant that stands just above Talbot Street in St. Thomas Ontario was built in 1985 marking the 100th anniversary of Jumbo’s death. The elephant is known as one of the most famous elephants in the world, as it stood as the main event of P.T Barnum’s “Greatest Show on Earth”, along with having its name “Jumbo” being canonized into the English dictionary.

Jumbo was born in Sudan but was taken to Paris to join Jardin des Plantes until he was then transferred to the London Zoo in England. Jumbo lived in London for 18 years, where he gave rides to over 1 million children in the city. Once he was purchased by P.T Barnum, Jumbo was shipped across the Atlantic and became the main event of the Barnum & Bailey Circus in North America.

It was September 15th, 1885 that the Barnum & Bailey Circus was pitched for a one-night performance in St. Thomas Ontario. As Jumbo was being led out across the tracks after the show had concluded, he was struck and killed by a freight train going at a high speed.

The statue was made to remember Jumbo as he was the largest elephant in the world at the time of his death. He spent his entire life in captivity, where he was the main attraction for audiences often consisting of young children. The statue was built by Canadian sculptor Winston Bronnom and can be found at 65 Talbot St, St. Thomas Ontario, Canada.



Unwin, Peter. “Freak Show: Jumbo in the New World: He Was an Elephant so Famous His Name Was a Synonym for Big. When He Was Felled by a Locomotive in St. Thomas, Ontario, His Death Truly Resounded.” The Beaver 83, no. 4 (2003): 34–.

One response to “Jumbo the Elephant”

  1. eviemat Avatar

    I have to say, the title of this blog post is what drew me in. Unfortunately, upon reading your blog, the information and the events were not nearly as fun as I expected. Very sad and unfortunate life and ending for Jumbo the Elephant. Humans have and continue to exploit animals as if we are somehow better or higher beings than they are. I remember reading or hearing somewhere that elephants giving rides to people, especially so many, is incredibly strenuous on their backs, what a difficult life Jumbo had. As a dog owner who absolutely spoils their French Bulldog, I am appalled whenever I think about how some people are able to treat animals so horrendously. Clearly your blog post was very thought-provoking, well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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