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Elmer the Safety Elephant was created to educate children about road safety. At first, he looked like an ordinary jungle elephant, but Elmer’s simple lessons taught through song and reinforced with a unique flag program, proved to be an extraordinary success. When he first appeared in Toronto in 1947, the incidence of traffic accidents involving children dropped by 44%.
Noted animator and character creator, Charles Thorson designed the Elmer shown here in 1948. Thorson’s ultra cute, anthropomorphic design was so child-friendly that, in time, Elmer became a beloved character nation wide. Today, an updated version of Elmer the Safety Elephant teaches the same valuable lessons (plus one new one) that he first taught sixty years ago.