Meet the west ender who has 19 taxidermied animals crammed into his 500-square-foot apartment

Meet the west ender who has 19 taxidermied animals crammed into his 500-square-foot apartment

Colin Hutzan, a 28-year-old tech support manager for FreshBooks, lives in a 500-square-foot apartment at College and Dufferin with his boyfriend, Brian, their Boston terrier, Richard—and 19 stuffed animal carcasses.


Hutzan’s fascination with taxidermy goes back to his childhood. As a kid in Sault Ste. Marie, he and his family were regulars at a restaurant that was stuffed wall-to-wall with wild animals. “I was in awe, even back then.”

A tiny white feeder mouse, which Hutzan turned into a brooch during a stint at OCAD, is on display in a black shadowbox. Hutzan calls him Charlie. Most of the other animals are nameless:


Hutzan’s taxdermied beasts are all vintage finds. “I would never participate in the hunting of an animal for trophy purposes,” he says. “These animals are vintage items, so I am able to disassociate from their deaths.” This pink flamingo, which Hutzan has named Rosario, passed away naturally at a zoo. Hutzan bought it for $1,200 at an oddity shop in Montreal:


The giant Bison head was an $800 Kijiji score. “It’s got the thickest fur I’ve ever seen on an animal,” Hutzan says:


Much smaller is a toucan with blue feet, a bright orange beak and a tiny bowler hat. “I’d like to think that it’s natural, but I have a feeling the taxidermist added splashes of paint,” says Hutzan:


The fluffy arctic fox, purchased from an antique dealer in Quebec for $1,000, is his most recent acquisition. “With this one I got to choose the pose and the mount,” he says. “I chose an open mouth, because none of the other animals are open-mouthed:”


None of his visitors have been turned off by his bevy of beasts. “The animals definitely induce different responses in people, and I find that really exciting,” he says. “Typically, once they get over the initial shock, people start to pick favourites.” These antelopes, purchased for about $1,300 for all three from an antique dealer in Vermont, may be Hutzan’s pick. “I rented a van and drove there and back in less than 24 hours with three massive antelope heads in the back. It was quite the adventure:”


Hutzan’s apartment has 14-foot ceilings, so most of the animals are hung way above eye level (and on top of Hutzan’s similarly formidable collection of shoes). Visitors are aware of them, but they’re not intrusive:


Three elephant feet that Hutzan sourced through a dealer in B.C. are among the pieces he’s stacked on high. “You rarely see elephant feet for sale,” Hutzan says. “These were a rare find”:


On the adjacent wall, a rare white peacock is perched on a gold leaf burl that Hutzan made himself. “I like unexpected juxtapositions in home decor,” Hutzan says. “The taxidermy is consistent with my style in that it’s thought-provoking and a bit controversial:”