This Big Apple rates an XXX

Toronto Sun
September 26, 2008
By Mike Strobel

Signs warn you not to feed the rabbits that hop out of the woods behind The Big Apple theme park.

The little buggers can bite. I hear whole tour buses have disappeared.

But, if you think those bunnies are dangerous, you should see the gift shop.

Whoa, baby. A feminist would scream and pass out in there. A bunnie would blush.

First, though, let me describe The Big Apple, in case you have only glimpsed it while careening by Colborne on the 401.

There's a petting zoo. Llamas, geese, goats and such.

Kiddies can try mini-putt, ride a mini-train, or gambol about the grass, keeping a wary eye for rogue rabbits.

Once you've smelled enough of the llamas, retreat to the main building.

It's behind The Big Apple itself, which is 10 metres of fibreglass, the Largest Apple Shaped Structure in the World.

As you step in, you'll think of your granny.

Imagine 250 pies baking at once, brimming with Northern Spy apples in every combo imaginable. Bumbleberry, banana, almond, cherry, caramel, no added sugar, crumble top ...

Mom's apple pie. Kids. Families. So far, so good.

Now, to the gift shop. The usual hats, toys, pens, plus a bushel of apples. And walls laden with T-shirts.

A few are embroidered with nice apples. Most are not.

One seems to advertise the llamas, geese and goats. Free Petting Zoo, it says. Then you notice an arrow points to the wearer's crotch.

'Splain that to the kiddies.

Another T says: "I got kicked out of Boy Scouts for eating a Brownie."

Digest that, now how 'bout: "What do you think, it's going to suck itself?"

Or, "Remember my name. You'll be SCREAMING it later."

Gloria Steinem and Judy Rebick will love one that says "I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth."

Another has a splatter design, with the words, "Millions of my potential children died on your daughter's face."

A layman might need a second to clue in to that one, but not Dr. John Simpson, 34, a family physician from Uxbridge.

"Whew, that's a bit jarring," he says.

"It's offensive. You don't expect it in a place like this. I mean, we just stopped for a diaper change and to let the kids see the animals."

The Simpsons are enroute to the christening of sons Rowan, 2, and Calum, 10 months.

Well, I can see a church-going family might be shocked. And the Simpsons are not alone.

"I'd expect to find these in a porn shop," says Avron Mintz, 72, of Toronto. With a twinkle, he adds: "Although my wife wouldn't understand the words."

This is the first summer The Big Apple has carried the terrible Ts, and there's a steady flow of complaints.

A National Post blogger sounded off last week. And our own Mark Bonokoski dropped by The Big Apple a few days ago, telling me: "You've gotta see it to believe it."

Here's the rub. Sales of the salacious shirts outpace complaints 100 to 1.

They're the hottest things in the shop, supervisor Michelle McCartan, 26, tells me.

But, sheesh, next door to a petting zoo?

At least the big seller shows a loveable moose. It is copulating with a log, and admitting, "Sometimes when I'm drunk, I make mistakes."

"Canadians do love their moose," says Ms McCartan.

I meet local interior designer Sandra Hartley, 48, and her son Kyle, 18.

Kyle already bought the T that says "Please tell your boobs to stop staring at me."

Says his mom: "Sure, some of them are perverted, but kids his age get a laugh and it doesn't bother me."

Maybe, Sandra, but even The Big Apple is having second thoughts and plans to stop ordering some of the most obscene models.

I guess the bunnies finally put their feet down.