8 Must-See Sculptures in Canada
We Canadians are immensely proud of the beautiful and diverse landscape of our country. And from small towns to major cities all across the nation, there are interesting and quirky sculptures and statues to be discovered.
Maman – Ottawa, Ontario
This giant spider made of bronze, stainless steel and marble stands at 30 feet tall outside of the main entrance of the National Gallery of Canada in the nation’s capital. Purchased by NGC in 2004, the enormous egg-carrying spider is the creation of Louise Bourgeois and was inspired by the French-American artist and sculptor’s own mother, a tapestry restorer, representing a nurturing and protective symbol of fertility and motherhood, shelter and the home. With its monumental and terrifying scale, however, Maman also betrays this maternal trust to incite a mixture of fear and curiosity.
Engagement – Vancouver, British Columbia
Designed by American conceptual artist and sculptor Dennis Oppenheim, the pop art sculpture of two “diamond” engagement rings, composed of translucent plexiglass boxes and aluminium, was installed in 2005 on Vancouver‘s Sunset Beach. A word of caution to men who are considering proposing to their future wives at the base of the sculpture: though it may be a romantic gesture, the ring on her finger is going to look awfully small in comparison to Oppenheim’s, which stands at nearly 30 feet tall.
Giant Squid – Glovers Harbour, Newfoundland
In 1878, fishermen near Glovers Harbour caught themselves a whopper. They landed a giant squid that was 16.7 metres long, and was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest squid in the world. In 2001, to mark the occasion and increase tourism to the tiny Newfoundland hamlet, a replica was commissioned and built near the site of the squid’s capture.
Device to Root Out Evil – Vancouver, B.C.
American artist and sculptor Dennis Oppenheim created this controversial sculpture, which was rejected by Stanford University, his alma mater, and subsequently purchased by the Vancouver Biennale in 2005, a B.C. organization whose mandate is to mount a major biannual outdoor art exhibition featuring the works of world-class artists. The upside-down church stirred up heavy controversy and was thus voted to be removed by the Vancouver Public Parks Committee. In 2008, the sculpture was loaned to Calgary’s Glenbow Museum in the city’s creative Ramsay Exchange neighbourhood, before returning back to Vancouver in 2014.
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Giant Mosquito – Komarno, Manitoba
About 70 kilometres north of Winnipeg, you’ll find the village of Komarno, which proudly distinguishes itself as the Mosquito Capital of the World. Just how proud is this village of its status of being home to an infinite number of the biting insects? Proud enough to display a 15-foot high mosquito replica in the middle of the town. If you ever find yourself in this part of the country, the giant insect will surely serve as a reminder to not to forget to bring your swatters and bug repellent.
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Guaranteed Pure Milk Bottle – Montreal, Quebec
This 13,000-pound, 10-metre tall landmark water tower located at 1025 Lucien L’Allier Street in Montreal was designed in 1930 by architects Hutchison, Wood & Miller as advertising for the Guaranteed Pure Milk Company. In a nod to eccentric urban art, the Art Deco structure was restored in 2009 after years of neglect, thanks to the efforts of volunteers, $100,000 in private donations, and support by Heritage Montreal to protect and repaint the milk bottle to stop it from deteriorating. Today, the structure serves as a constant reminder of the city’s long gone agrifood industry and traditional method of milk delivery.
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World’s Largest Lobster – Shediac, New Brunswick
Shediac is one of the most seafood-centric towns in the Maritimes, and so it’s no wonder the small Acadian town is known as the “Lobster Capital of the World.” The town has a lobster festival every year in early July, as well as offers lobster cruises where visitors learn about lobster trapping and how to properly prepare and eat the tasty crustacean. Shediac’s pièce de résistance? A 10-metre long, five-metre lobster monument that is the town’s most photographed attraction.
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Big Toonie – Campbellford, Ontario
As an homage to Brent Townsend, the designer of the Canadian toonie and a Campbellford native, the community constructed a fitting tribute—a 27-foot toonie monument. An internationally renowned wildlife artist, Townsend designed the infamous polar bear standing on an ice floe as he believed it is a strong symbol for Canada. Elsewhere in the province, you’ll also find other huge coins, such as Echo Bay’s “Big Loonie” and Sudbury’s “Big Nickel.”
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