A Look at the "World's Largest" Phenomenom in Canada

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Yesterday, I went to lunch with a couple of friends after an interesting morning learning about World War II history in the Stavanger region.  Our conversation started by debriefing the morning and our thoughts on all that we had heard which eventually led to talking about the Holocaust Museum in Houston and then to civil rights in the US and then into me chronicling my family's summer road trips through the US which bear many resemblances to National Lampoon's family vacations.  After laughing over our experiences at Mount Rushmore & Old Faithful, we got talking about random, large monuments.

You see, every time we drive from Edmonton to my hometown in Saskatchewan, we inevitably pass by the World's Largest Bunnock.  (What's a bunnock you ask?  It's a game of bones similar to bowling invented by Russian soldiers while passing time in Northern Siberia.)  Joe finds it hilarious and personally, I think he looks forward to this little highlight on our trips to Canada.  The American friend knew all about this "World's Largest..." phenomenon and talked about a giant cactus in a town she visited as a child but our Scottish friend was perplexed.  I told her about the giant gopher in Eston, Saskatchewan and the giant teepee in Medicine Hat, Alberta and there's a giant baseball bat in downtown Edmonton and a giant dinosaur in Drumheller when it dawned on me - damn, we have a lot of large & obscure objects.

Later that evening while attempting to find a photo of said bunnock to send to my friends, I came across a website detailing similar attractions in every province in Canada.  Saskatchewan alone is home to the world's largest tomahawk, the world's largest turtle, and the world's largest oil can.  Joe's hometown in Northern British Columbia is home to the world's largest gold pan and I couldn't help but be intrigued by the world's largest burl in Port MacNeil.

I'm curious - how did these things come about?  Did someone in Macklin, Saskatchewan show up at a town hall meeting with a dream of constructing the world's largest bunnock and due to the immense popularity of the game, the town emphatically agreed?  Is there a certain world's largest attraction that sparked the wildfire that would become communities constructing their claim to fame in a mass furry to outdo neighbouring towns?  Is this what started the construction of the Burj Khalifa as the world's tallest building?

My hometown isn't home to the largest anything however it makes the list for the Canada goose monument along the highway where as Edmonton claims the world's largest Western boot as well as a supersized baseball bat, Stanley Cup, a wire dove, milk bottle & an oil derrick (among others.)  Grande Prairie, our last Canadian home, has a giant sundial yet I don't think I've seen anything similar in Stavanger.

Tell me - do any of your homes have a similar claim to fame?

(In case you are wondering, the Scottish friend is still perplexed.  I told her that castles & whisky can only get you so far.)


  1. Haha I had never thought about this before, but it's definitely a North American thing!

  2. I immediately had to think of a Corner Gas episodes where the town wants to build the World's largest 'Hoe' and the officials don't notice that hoe doesn't just sound like garden tool. I never really noticed this phenonemon when I lived in Alberta, but I might just have been in the wrong place. These kind of things definitely don't exist in Germany, though! ;)

    1. Oh Corner Gas - my Dad loved that show!

      These things are all over Alberta - check out the link above. I'm actually amazed at how many I had never seen. I think I might start seeking them out now ;)

  3. I have to ask...speaking of "the world's largest", isn't Edmonton home to one of the world's largest indoor malls and water parks? My family made a three-week road trip from Salt Lake to Edmonton when I was a kid, and the mall was the high point of the trip for me! I'd love to know if it's still there (this was at least 20 years ago. I remember listening to President Bill Clinton on the news :)). Such fun memories!

    1. It certainly is still there - waterpark and all - however it's no longer the world's largest mall and only holds the title of North America's largest. Awhile back there was talk of an expansion to reclaim the title but it hasn't happened yet.

  4. Australia has the same - big pineapple, big koala, you name it! Weird thing I have to say, we definitely do not have such things in Germany :)

  5. Dear Friend,

    I believe you missed highlighting the best that Alberta has to offer as far as biggest somethings. The world's largest beaver, residing (with dignity) in Beaverlodge! A symbol of the hard working Canadian spirit, the reason our fair country was settled (mostly) and our national animal. It doesn't get much better than that. And, to think, I used to live just down the street from the Beave (as we called it).


    p.s. Australia has many biggest somethings as well.

  6. that is hilarious! so strange! I need to take a Canadian roadtrip and experience things like that!!

  7. Haha, very strange, but interesting. I'm not sure how these come about either.

  8. That's so fun! We don't really have anything like that here. Well, I'm currently in Berlin so we are surrounded by (unpleasant) history...

  9. I have always dreamed of driving across Canada, stopping at every "World's largest" monument along the way. It would be so fun to make it into a photography project, either coming up with a fitting costume to accompany the monument or a pose or something like that. An idea for the future, I guess.


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