As RV owners, we try to get out on the road every chance we get and we’re hoping this year to pack up the family for the summer and, along with the kids and the dog, travel coast (well almost) to coast across Canada on a quest to seek out some big Canada Roadside Attractions.
As we really only want to drive the route one way, it might make more sense, both financially and timewise, to rent an RV for this trip and fly back and we’ll definitely be investigating that option.
We always get the kids involved in our travel planning – after all, happy kids make for a happy trip and ours are no exception. After visiting the World’s Largest Dinosaur in Drumheller, Alberta, they’ve developed a fascination with ‘world’s largest, or at least Canada’s largest roadside attractions, and are keen to include as many roadside points of interest as we can fit in. Of course, the photo of them with these giant statues is mandatory!
So, we’ve begun the research. Exactly where can we find these quirky roadside attractions across Canada while still not deviating considerably from our proposed travel route? Here’s some of the big and weird offerings we’re considering so far …
World's Largest Perogy | World's Largest Pysanka | World's Largest Kubasa - Photos:Travel Alberta
Many of Alberta’s giant landmarks have been influenced by the province’s Ukrainian roots. Close to Edmonton, you’ll find the World’s largest Pysanka (Ukrainian Easter Egg) in Vegreville, a giant Kubasa sausage in Mundare, and the world’s largest perogy in Glendon. Keeping to the topic of food, and still in the general vicinity, Vilna Alberta boasts Canada’s largest mushroom statue.
Alberta seems to have truly embraced the big and weird with more of these Alberta landmarks than in other provinces and here you’ll also find the largest beaver, golf tee, honeybee, mallard duck, chuckwagon and chess set! Travelling through Medicine Hat you can’t fail to see the world’s largest teepee alongside the Trans-Canada Highway, one of the more iconic tourist attractions in that city.
World's Largest Beaver | World's Largest Teepee | World's Largest Honey Bee - Photos: Travel Alberta
As it looks like our route might take us towards Saskatoon from Edmonton, it’s not too much of a detour to take in the largest Tomahawk in Cut Knife Saskatchewan and check out the game of Bunnock in Macklin. The game consists of throwing ‘bunnock’ bones at the opposition’s row of bones and the town hosts the world Bunnock tournament every long weekend in August. It’s quite fitting therefore that their giant statue is a Bunnock.
At some point we’re going to have to head south as the northern Trans Canada route (the Yellowhead Highway) joins its southern counterpart near Portage la Prairie (home to the world’s tallest coke can!). The youngest daughter though has her sights set on the world’s largest paper clip in Kipling, so we’ll aim to join Highway 1 around Regina.
World's Largest Bunnock | World's Largest Paper Clip | World's Tallest Coke Can
I have a sneaky feeling that I’ll have had my fill of the big and weird by this time but, as long as the kids are having fun on their RV road trip, the quest will continue!
Coincidentally, our travel plans include meeting up with friends north of Winnipeg at Winnipeg Beach so we don’t see any way we can avoid stopping nearby in the self-proclaimed mosquito capital of Canada for a photo opportunity with the Big Mosquito. Komarno takes its name from the Ukrainian word for mosquito with the area being home to some of the largest mosquitos in North America. Interestingly, this statue does have another function. It’s a weathervane that revolves on its base. That makes it a little more unique than many Manitoba roadside attractions.
The Wawa Goose - Photo: Northern Ontario Tourism | The Big Nickel, Sudbury
It seems that small towns in particular have the same fascination as my kids have with really big statues. Our travels will take us around Lake Superior where there’ll most likely be a compulsory stop in Wawa at the Big Goose. Two more ‘big’ attractions will greet us in the Sault Ste Marie area in the form of a giant baseball, and a giant loonie nearby in Echo Bay. While this Loon Dollar Monument is visit-worthy, it’s no match for the giant nickel in the grounds of Dynamic Earth in Sudbury. These are just a handful of Ontario points of interest close to where we’re planning to drive.
Quebec appears to have a smattering of the ‘big’ across the province and some not so big. Notable though while in the Montreal area are a giant milk bottle and a huge orange which is also a fast-food restaurant called Gibeau Orange Julep selling hot dogs, hamburgers, poutine, chicken wings and other tasty fare - in itself worth a stop.
Gibeau Orange Julep | Big Milk Bottle | Large Cow Observation Deck
Our trek through New Brunswick will have us marveling at the world’s highest tides in the Bay of Fundy but, while we’re there, we’ll pay a visit to Shediac where there’s a Big Lobster, a nod to the town’s fishing industry and its reputation as the Lobster Capital of the World. Shediac hosts a lobster festival every July but it’s likely our arrival will be after it’s over.
It would appear that Newfoundland also has its share of the big and weird including a giant squid, but our travels won’t take us that far on this RV vacation. Instead, we’ll see how many Nova Scotia roadside attractions we can identify to wind up our cross-Canada road trip. Exploring Cape Breton Island has long been on our travel bucket list and Nova Scotia’s most well-known ‘big’ object just happens to be there in Sydney. Standing more than 18 metres tall and located on the Sydney waterfront, the World’s Largest Fiddle is a tribute to folk music and traditions of the province’s Celtic roots. Large Muskoka chairs also feature frequently with at least five Nova Scotia towns rivalling each other for the title of biggest in the province.
The Big Lobster | The World's Tallest Fiddle
You’ll have probably noticed that British Columbia hasn’t had a mention. While we’re not planning on including roadside attractions in British Columbia in this itinerary, it’s worth mentioning that there’s also a lot of big stuff in BC. If you’re travelling in that province, check out the big truck in Sparwood, the tin soldier in New Westminster and the world’s largest gold pan in Quesnel. A favourite of ours though is the Giant Paddle near Golden.
The Big Gold Pan | Big Titan Truck
If you don’t own an RV or prefer to hire a motorhome for a one-way trip, it’s worth searching for RV Rentals and Motorhome Hire in Canada to see which companies might offer one-way RV rentals. Many may also offer special deals one on-way motorhome hire if they need vehicles moved between locations. Peak travel months are, of course, July and August and pricing will be at premium rates but if you have the flexibility to travel either side of these peak times, there’s bound to be good offers around. Generally speaking, the earlier you book, the better the pricing.
It remains to be seen just how many of these Canada roadside attractions will end up being visited by, us but there’s certainly a lot to choose from. What we do know is that doing this trip by RV will give us the freedom to modify our travel plans at short notice and add or delete to the proposed itinerary as we go. Roll on summer!