Canada’s 25 Biggest Tourist Attractions (Literally!)
Canada is a big country, so it’s no surprise that we like our tourist attractions sized extra large. Here’s a travelogue of photo-friendly big things that are dotted across our home and native land.
Big Nickel, Sudbury, Ont.
Hey, big spender! Hopefully you have deep pockets because the Big Nickel in Greater Sudbury is the world’s largest coin. Built in 1964 by Ted Szliva, this five-cent coin celebrates the region’s status as a world leader in the mining industry. Weighing in at almost 12,000 kilograms, the Big Nickel is 64 million times larger than the humble Canadian coin that inspired it. Visitors can marvel at the world’s largest piece of spare change year round at Science North’s Dynamic Earth attraction.
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World’s Largest Dinosaur, Drumheller, Alta.
Drumheller is world famous for its rich deposits of dinosaur bones and fossils. Stood in the heart of Alberta’s Badlands, the town bills itself as the dinosaur capital of the world. To celebrate its prehistoric notoriety, Drumheller has welcomed the world’s largest dinosaur into its midst. Not content to be the same height as a real Tyrannosaurus Rex, Drumheller’s starlet is four and a half times the size of the real deal. For $3, visitors can climb high into her mouth for an unparalleled view of the Badlands.
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World’s Largest Hockey Stick, Duncan, B.C.
A slap shot sent flying from this hockey stick would be a goalie’s worst nightmare. Inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2008 and the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012, the city of Duncan nets a winner with this monstrous hockey stick. Crafted from rugged Douglas Fir and reinforced with steel, this game-changer has a reach of 62 metres and tips the scales at 28,000 kilograms. Originally created for Vancouver’s Expo ’86 celebrations, the world’s largest hockey stick (and puck) now resides outside the Island Savings Centre—a rink that locals now affectionately call ‘The Stick.’ You can’t get more Canadian than that.
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The Big Apple, Colborne, Ont.
Sorry, New York City, but it looks like you have some fruity competition. Colborne, Ontario’s Big Apple is said to be the world’s largest apple-shaped structure. It’s so huge that this red beauty could hold 653,800 real apples. Opened in 1987, the Big Apple attracts fruit lovers from around the globe. Visitors are encouraged to scramble to the top of the core—10 metres up—to take in sweeping panoramic views. Hungry after your climb? The Big Apple sells a tasty menu of its famed homemade apple pies, breads, cookies, muffins as well as candy apples. Be sure to bring a huge appetite. The Big Apple’s oven can bake 450 pies at a time!
World’s Largest Canada Goose, Wawa, Ont.
True or false: the Canada Goose is an official symbol of Canada. Surprise—the answer is false! Our country’s most famous waterfowl isn’t a certified emblem of Canada. While the beaver and maple tree enjoy such cultural status, the iconic Canada Goose does not. Despite it’s lack of an official honour, the Canada Goose is lovingly feted in Wawa, Ontario. The world’s largest Canada Goose first came to nest here beside the Trans-Canada Highway in 1960. Rather fittingly, Wawa means “Wild Goose” or “Land of the Big Goose” in Ojibway. Visitors flocking to see Wawa’s much photographed big bird will find her standing guard outside the township’s Tourist Information Centre.
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Giant Beaver, Beaverlodge, Alta.
Canada and the humble beaver have a long, illustrious relationship. The trade of beaver pelts put Canada on the explorer’s map in the 1600s. Since that time, the beaver has been featured on stamps, coins and the shield of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Granted status in 1975 as an official emblem of Canada, it’s hardly surprising that a giant beaver statue gazes over one of the country’s most charming communities. In July 2004, the northwestern Alberta town of Beaverlodge unveiled a three-metre high beaver to mark its 75th anniversary. A favourite of tourists, the giant beaver is a bona fide Canadian icon.
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World’s Largest Axe, Nackawic, N.B.
Imagine the lumberjack who misplaced this axe! Wedged in the earth of the riverside town of Nackawic, the world’s largest axe is an imposing symbol of New Brunswick’s forest industry. Chosen as the Forestry Capital of Canada in 1991, Nackawic’s gargantuan woodchopper powerfully drives this point home. Rising 15 metres above the shores of the Saint John River, the world’s largest axe is one of Canada’s most unique large-scale tourist attractions.
Giant Moose, Moose Jaw, Sask.
Mac the Moose takes his job as Moose Jaw’s most famous tourism ambassador seriously. Standing watch since 1984, Mac is 10 metres tall and weighs in at a whopping 9,000 kilograms. Visitors searching for the city’s tourism HQ just have to keep their eyes peeled for big Mac. He’s the large friendly fella hanging out nearby. Moose Jaw is renowned for its generous hospitality and intriguing galleries, museums and attractions. Let Mac the Moose lead your way to everything Moose Jaw has to offer.
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World’s Largest Fiddle
Many Canadians enjoy music, but Nova Scotia folk go to extremes when it comes to their favourite ear candy. On the forecourt of the Sydney Marine Terminal overlooking the harbour stands the world’s largest fiddle. Traditional Celtic fiddle music is in the blood of Cape Bretoners. During the 18th century, thousands of Scottish immigrants escaped the turmoil of the Highland Clearances and traveled to Nova Scotia for a more peaceful existence. Packed for the journey—their love of traditional fiddle music. Today, Nova Scotia’s Celtic musical roots are deeply entrenched in its culture and as a result, music is one of the province’s biggest exports. Nova Scotia musicians Ashley MacIsaac, Natalie MacMaster and the Rankin Family have taken their brand of Celtic music around the globe to international acclaim.
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Manitoba’s Humongous Easel, Altona, Man.
Did you know that famed artist Vincent van Gogh has a unique connection to Manitoba? Reaching for the clouds high above Altona’s Millenium Park is one of the world’s largest tributes to the Dutch painter. Leaning atop one of the world’s largest easels is a 23 metre high reproduction of a van Gogh sunflower painting. Local artist Cameron Cross lovingly created this uncanny copy of the floral masterpiece in 1998. The ambitious project took two and a half years, 17 gallons of paint and 24 sheets of plywood to complete. Why Altona? The town is renowned as the sunflower capital of Canada.
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Now That’s A Lot of Calamari
In 1878, a 22-ton giant squid beached near Glove’s Harbour, N.L. Its body was six metres long; the longest tentacle was more than 10 metres long; and its eye is said to be the largest eye ever recorded. “It must have been quite a sight,” says Tony Scott Collins of Labrador, N.L., who took this photo of the replica that stands near the discovery.
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How Big is the Letter Carrier?
Leo MacDonald of Stratford, P.E.I., snapped this photo of his wife, Marilyn, during a tour of the western end of the island last summer. “Yes,” says Leo, “Marilyn really is standing beneath the mailbox, which is located just outside of Tignish.”
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A Massive Moose
“This friendly giant stands guard over Silver Sands Beach, in nearby Cow Bay, a popular destination for surfers,” says Bob Upham of Dartmouth, N.S. Designed by Winston Bronnun, the moose was built in 1959 and is made of concrete.
The staff at Munro’s Furnishings hopes this giant rocking horse makes it into the Guinness Book of World Records some day! Jill Munro of Munro’s Furnishings in Innisfil, Ont., sent along this photo of a huge wooden rocking horse built by the craftsmen at her family’s store. It took almost a month to construct and measures an impressive 23 feet in length, is nine-feet wide and stands 20-feet high. The horse was assembled over a three-day weekend in October 2009 during a block party sponsored by Munro’s.
The event featured an artisan festival and was also a fundraiser for breast cancer. As well as furniture made of pine, maple and oak, Munro’s has been building rocking horses for years, so when they decided to build a “giant something” to draw attention to the store, a rocking horse seemed like a natural choice. “Our staff thinks it should make it into the Guinness Book of World Records, and we’re hoping our rocking horse will become a landmark in Innisfil, as well,” says Jill.
Pull the Udder One
Miss Claybelt is a five-metre-tall fibreglass cow that stands in New Liskeard, Ont., at the junction of Highway 11 and Highway 11B, north of town. Sue Desjardins of London, Ont., sent along this photo of her daughter, Cyndy, getting ready for milking. Sue and her husband, Fern, are originally from New Liskeard.
“My wife, Nicole, and I love taking Sunday drives and road trips,” says David Diamond of Bathurst, N.B. “While touring in the Yukon, we came upon this giant mosquito in a field next to the Caribou Crossing Trading Post and Yukon Wildlife Museum. I wouldn’t be so quick as to call it a friendly giant, because they really like to stick it to you! I’m just glad I’m not at the receiving end of this one!”
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“My friend Sophie and I were on vacation and heard about a place in Clinton, B.C., where there are more than 100 objects made of scrap metal,” says David Pinhey of Surrey, B.C. “This motorcycle is made of spare car and truck parts,” says David, who snapped Sophie and her dog, Misia, with the oversized motorbike.
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What a Tool!
“My wife, Linda, asked me to build ’something big’ for our tool museum,” writes Herb Higgin-Bottom of Enderby, B.C. “I said yes—that was my first mistake! A little more than a year later, we had an 18-foot-high, 11-foot-wide, 1,458-pound steel lawn mower. We get so many smiles and laughs, it was well worth the effort.”
A Stitch in Time
“This photo was taken by my father, Dave Kemp,” writes Shannon Turner of Richmond, B.C. “It’s a monument to the fishermen lost at sea off the west coast. Located in the nearby fishing village of Steveston, this giant needle is modelled on the type used to repair damaged nets.
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Eunice Campion of Coronation, Alta., sent along this photo snapped by her friend Tony Selzer. This huge crown measures six-metres high and five-metres wide. Made of polished aluminum and containing over 3,000 purple lights, ”It’s a welcoming beacon shining out on the dusty prairie,” writes Eunice.
Kyle McDonald of British Columbia bartered his way from a single red paperclip to a house in a series of 14 online trades over the course of a year. Loretta, who worked for the town of Kipling, had to find a way to build the world’s largest paper clip to fulfill the trade contract. They held a contest for companies to submit their designs.
Ardel Steel from Regina was awarded the feat of building the World’s Largest Red Paper Clip. Made of solid steel, measuring 15-feet-two-inches tall and three-feet-two-inches wide, and weighing 3,043 pounds, it stands in beautiful Bell Park and appeared in the 2007 Guinness World Records book. The town now holds a yearly Paper Clip Festival and July 12 is Paper Clip Trade Day. The house Kyle traded for—donated back to the town—is now a restaurant with a photo display of Kyle’s trading adventures from start to finish.
Elsie Fast of Saskatoon poses with this “Bison Antiquus” in her hometown of St. Louis, Sask. According to Elsie’s brother, Larry Hodgson, this life-size fibreglass replica (based on 9,120-year-old bones found just a couple of kilometres easy of St. Louis) was the last creation of artist Ralph Berg of Cabri, Sask.
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Not So Itsy-Bitsy
Tracy Lajeunesse of Kenora, Ont., sent in this photo of her niece and nephew, Jordan (right) and Jamie, taken during a family visit. The bug-eyed spider is an attention-grabber for Godbout Auto Services, a local towing company.
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Dorchester, N.B., is close to the Shepody mudflats where thousands of sandpipers gather each year to feed before flying south for winter. Normally weighing about 30 grams, the bird can double its weight in days! It would take a lot longer than that for this 4-1/2-metre sculpture, created by Monty MacMillan of Oromocto, N.B., to double its weight! Max MacNichols of Dorchester sent along the photo.
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The Saamis (Blackfoot for medicine) tepee stands 20 storeys high and weights nearly 1,000 tons. Located close to the Trans-Canada Highway as it passes through Medicine Hat, Alta., this steel structure is lit up at night and was originally built for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. Riann Kriel of Medicine Hat snapped this photo and sent it along to us.
Next, check out these quirky roadside attractions across Canada!