Canada is by all accounts an enormous country with towering mountains and grand lakes. It also has its fair share of very large monuments, and not just of things Canada-related. Though there are giant moose, bears and geese a-plenty, there are also stranger large objects to discover, often relevant history of the town they live in.
If you have booked a Canadian getaway and are awaiting your flights to Canada, check out our guide and be prepared for some of the big statutes you will see on the road.
Giant fiddle- Sydney, Nova Scotia
This may seem like a strange monument, but as Cape Breton Island has the only Celtic community in Canada, it is a fitting tribute. As the world’s largest fiddle, it dominates the waterfront and is a reminder of the musicality that runs through the area. Nicole from the Port of Sydney spoke to us about its significance:
“Sydney Ports Corporation created the Big Ceilidh Fiddle to recognize the pre-eminence of fiddle music and the fiddlers past and present who have contributed so much to the musical heritage of Cape Breton Island. Fiddle music was first brought here by Scottish immigrants more than 200 years ago and has since been shaped by Acadian, Irish, Mi’kmaq and many other cultural influences of Cape Breton Island.
“Today, fiddle music flourishes all over the island and our musicians are known the world over for unique musical expression. The fiddle stands 57 feet high, is made from painted steel, weighs eight tons, and was fabricated over an eight-month period by Cyril Hearn, a Sydney artist and welder.”
The giant fiddle also plays music composed especially for it by a local musician, Kinnon Beaton.
Giant teepee- Medicine Hat, Alberta
Canada is renowned for its diverse and multicultural history and this monument expresses that. The Saamis Teepee is not only a symbol of the First Nations community, but it is also on a significant site. John Hammerson Peters, whose blog explores many aspects of Canadian culture told us about the history behind the Saamis Teepee:
“The teepee was originally built for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1988 Winter Olympics (in Calgary). Sometime after that, a wealthy Italian-Canadian businessman named Rick Filanti privately purchased it and, with the City’s permission, had it erected on top of an old Blackfoot buffalo jump. At the time of its erection in Medicine Hat, it was the world’s tallest teepee, although I’ve heard that several newer teepees in other countries have since eclipsed it.
“It’s situated in a pretty prominent location, and you can see it from many places around town. The area surrounding the Saamis Archaeological Site below it, at the base of the buffalo pound, is now known as ‘The Dog Park’, being the most popular off-leash dog park in town. It’s a beautiful little place bisected by Seven Persons Creek, another Medicine Hat feature with an interesting backstory. Aside from that, you rarely see locals at the teepee except on Canada Day, where they gather to watch the fireworks.
“Of course, the teepee (or ‘lodge’, as most historians call it) is a conical tent once used by the Plains Peoples. On the Canadian plains, it typically consisted of a lodgepole pine frame and a buffalo hide covering, and its exterior was sometimes decorated with paintings of animals and other motifs.
“Although Medicine Hat doesn’t have a major First Nations population today, likely due to the fact that there are no Indian reserves in proximity, the Saamis Teepee is a very relevant homage to the city’s past. Before the Mounties tamed the Canadian West in the 1870’s, the Medicine Hat area was a particularly dangerous place. It was a sort of no-mans land which served as a border between the territories of two rival Indian Confederacies: the Blackfoot to the west, and the Cree-Assiniboine to the east. War and raiding parties looking for trouble often spent time in the area, and skirmishes on the South Saskatchewan River and its tributaries there were pretty common. In fact, it’s likely that Medicine Hat got its name from an event which took place during one of these skirmishes.”
Mac the Moose- Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
As Canadian monuments go, a giant moose is what you would expect, and Mac is a particularly loved giant moose. Though no longer the world’s largest moose, he is still the biggest in North America. We spoke to Jacki at Moose Jaw Tourism about the town’s beloved monument:
“Mac was “born” in 1984, the brainchild of former tourism supporters from the city. His main job was to lure visitors into the city and his duties pretty much remain the same today. Mac was constructed by Saskatoon artist, Don Foulds using a steel frame, covered with metal mesh and completed with 4 coats of cement.
“Touted as the World’s Second Largest Moose, Mac stands 32 feet tall and weighs in at 10 tons – or in today’s terms is 10 meters tall, weighing 9,000 kilograms. A pretty big boy! A contest was held to name the moose and the winner was Mac, after late city alderman and moose booster, Les MacKenzie.
“Mac remains one of the most photographed roadside attractions in Canada. More than 120,000 people are estimated to visit annually. You can find Mac the Moose at Tourism Moose Jaw located on the corner of Thatcher Drive E and Highway #1.”
Unfortunately, Mac has been the victim of some vandalism, suffering the indignity of being painted blue and even losing his jaw. Since such assaults upon his person, he has been moved and fenced, but can still be visited and oversees the town.
Giant Lobster – Shediac, New Brunswick
Shediac is the lobster capital of the world, and thus their enormous inhabitant makes sense.
The town also holds a lobster festival every year presided over by a 35 ft. lobster. This large crustacean is 35 ft (11m) long and 16 ft (5m) wide. At 16 ft (5m) tall, it towers over visitors and weighs an enormous 90 tonnes. Talking to Marc Savoie of the town of Shediac, he filled us in on this statue’s history:
“As Shediac is world-renowned for its lobster fishing, processing plants, live lobster tanks and famous Lobster Festival, the Shediac Rotary Club decided in 1989 to create a monument that would promote one of the area’s main resource: lobster.
“An artist was consulted and asked to examine the possibility of creating a sculpture that would depict a lobster. After drawing various designs that reflected the precise real-life measurements of a typical lobster, the artist then proceeded to erect a “papier mâché” replica of the monument. The same process was used to create the fisherman, proportionate to a human being measuring 6 feet tall. Mr Winston Bronnum, originally from Penobsquis, N.B., was a very conscious artist. It was mandatory for him to reproduce this wonderful shellfish without changing a single thing.
“The Giant Lobster is one of New Brunswick’s best-known landmarks and most photographed attractions—300,000 visitors flock to Shediac annually and most everyone makes a pit stop at Rotary Park to check out the World’s Largest Lobster. The sculpture has appeared in national TV advertising and hit television shows.”
Largest Axe – Nackawic, New Brunswick
This rather daunting giant axe is wedged in the landscape surrounding the capital of Canada’s foresting industry in the town of Nackawic. The axe was created as a representation of the towns logging history and its continued importance in the forestry industry. The Town Office of Nackawic spoke to us further about the giant axe:
“Seven tonnes of stainless steel, embedded in a 10-metre diameter concrete stump, and rising 15 meters above the shores of the Saint John River, the World’s Largest Axe is indisputably the most visible indication of Nackawic’s status as Forestry Capital of Canada ‘91.
“The axe was a concept of the Forestry Capital committee to be a permanent reminder of Nackawic’s special status during 1991 and, as the bronze plaque on the axe states, “symbolizes the importance of the forest industry, past, present and future to the town of Nackawic and the province of New Brunswick.”
“Designed, built and erected by B.I.D. Limited of Woodstock, New Brunswick, the axe was undertaken as a challenge by the firm, which specializes in metal design and construction. Its size, particularly the seven-meter width, presented special traffic problems, leading R.C.M.P. and department of transportation officials to require that the move from Woodstock to Nackawic should take place very early on a Sunday morning.
“While tongue in cheek calculations suggest that a 140 tonne giant of a logger could swing the axe, B.I.D. Ltd. chose to use a modern crane to lift the massive tool into place. The huge “stump” in which it is embedded serves as a small stage as well, and in the head of the axe is a time capsule, freezing for future generations the events of Forestry Capital ‘91.”
Largest Dinosaur- Drumheller, Alberta
This giant dino took three years of planning and a combined effort from various companies in the area. At 86 ft (25 metres) tall. It takes 106 stairs to climb to the top and is 4.5 times bigger than a real T- Rex. The world’s largest dinosaur is female and is 151 ft. long and weighs 65 tonnes. Up to 12 people can fit in her mouth at one time and she cost a whopping $1,065,000 to build.
The WLD Fund (World’s Largest Dinosaur) is dedicated to enhancing the community from the proceeds of their enormous attraction and in nearly 16 years, they have managed to help many local projects.
We spoke to Keisha from the attraction who told us more about the WLD:
“We are a non-profit organization so our proceeds go into what we call our Legacy Fund. The World’s Largest Dinosaur (WLD) Legacy Fund was established in reinvest revenues generated by the WLD attraction and gift shop back into our community to enhance and enrich community economic development initiatives in the Drumheller region. Each month 15% of admission revenues and 15% of gift shop sales are directed to the WLD Legacy Fund.
“This fund goes right back into our community by helping small businesses with repairs or updates they may need to stay running. We continue to reinvest a large portion of the WLD revenues back each and every year!”