If you love all things quirky, you likely have a soft spot for Alberta. This province is a goldmine for unique little towns, mind-bending natural attractions, and weird things on giant scales that you can’t drive by without pulling over for a photo. There are so many whacky roadside attractions in this province that a comprehensive list could be the length of a phonebook. So, for the purpose of this article, we’ve decided to focus on some of the larger-than-life statues sprinkled around Alberta, many of which have earned titles as “world’s largest” in their respective categories. While that may sound like an impressive feat, we’re not confident that there was too much competition for those titles when it comes to these uber-niche, enormous structures. So, pull out your map and get ready to plan the weirdest and most entertaining tour of Alberta ever.
Bull and Bull Rider
Located in Peace Country at the Brownvale North Peace Agricultural Museum, you’ll come face to face with something you didn’t know you needed to see: Canada’s 1986 Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, riding a mechanical bull. Standing a whopping 15 feet high, the fibreglass bull and rider were built by the provincial government for the Alberta Pavilion showcased in Vancouver for Expo 86. The original cost of building this baby was $30,000, but the Museum became the lucky recipient when it was purchased at an auction for $4,000 and donated to them. While it looks like a 3D cartoon or some sort of claymation, it’s an iconic work that has been cherished for decades. It doesn’t really get more Albertan than that, so you should probably see it for yourself.
The Beaverlodge Beaver
Now, let’s head over to Beaverlodge, a town located on Highway 43, 43 km west of Grande Prairie. Here you will find the ever-iconic Beaverlodge Beaver. This marvel took 90 gallons of polyurethane, 13 gallons of paint, and 18 blocks of foam to make. Standing 10 feet high, 18 feet long, and 10 feet wide, it’s a little bit bigger than your average beaver. The log it sits atop is five feet high and 20 feet long, taking up some serious space and making it unmissable for passersby. The Beaver was hauled in in 2004 and has been sitting pretty ever since. The “Beaver Project” was introduced to lift town spirits and encourage tourism. When the cute little town celebrated its 75th anniversary, the big beaver was revealed and has since become a must-see in the region. Of course, it comes along with interpretive signage for beaver fans who want to learn more about history, habitat, behaviour, and the town of Beaverlodge itself.
World’s Largest Bee
Here we have one of the roadside attractions that has earned itself a “world’s largest” title. We’re heading over to a town called Falher, located 37 km north of Nampa on Highway 2 in the Municipal District of Smoky River. The town is small but buzzing with energy, community vibes, and lots of things to do and see. The town is actually designated as the “Honey Capital of Canada,” so obviously, a giant statue was the only appropriate way to celebrate. Here you can find the world’s largest bee statue. An impressive 20 feet in the air, it’s standing tall and proud right in the heart of downtown. Gaze up at the stunning structure in all its glory, created back in 1990 by local welder, Richard Ethier.
Over in Swan Hills, Alberta, you’ll find an eye-catching scene that’s been rated as one of the country’s top 50 roadside attractions. The massive copper and red statue is located next to the Tourism Information Center, and it’s a sight to behold. You’ll see a mother swan protecting her next of five eggs from a grizzly bear. With chest puffed and wings outstretched, this swan isn’t messing around. Meanwhile, the grizzly has its mouth open and paw raised, ready to put up a fight. The steel sculptures weigh around 2,000 pounds and took over 500 hours to make. Nearly 20,000 pieces of steel went into these animals, so you best take your time and really witness the beauty. They’re big, they’re majestic, and they’re another feather in Alberta’s cap when it comes to roadside attractions.
World’s Largest Perogy
And over to Glendon, Alberta. If you love perogies, you’ve probably already heard of this place. If you haven’t, you’re in for a real treat. Not only is Glendon esteemed as the Perogy Capital of the World, but it’s also home to the World’s Largest Perogy. Yes, those are two separate titles, both belonging to this Alebrtan village. The perogy statue is 25 feet tall, 12 feet wide, and weighs an astonishing 6,000 pounds. It’s made of fibreglass and steel, and situated on–you guessed it–Perogy Drive. Try to visit the big perogy during Glendon’s Perogy Festival so you can really get acquainted with the perogi-loving lifestyle.
World’s Largest Pysanka
In Vegreville, you’ll come across the World’s Largest Pysanka. What’s a Pysanka, you ask? It’s a Ukrainian Easter egg, decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk designs. It’s really beautiful and, in this case, really big. This egg is 25.7 feet long, 18 feet wide, and stands 31 feet high. Pretty darn big! It’s drawn a lot of attention since its introduction back in the ‘70s, even Queen Elizabeth, Prince Edward, and Prince Andrew came to Vegreville in 1978 to see it for themselves. A celebration of Vegreville’s rich Ukrainian culture, this big egg is a must-see on your next Albertan road trip.
World’s Largest Oil Lamp Replica
If you think you’ve got the world’s largest oil lamp replica, think again. You’ll find the real thing in Donalda, Alberta. The massive statue was officially opened in 2000 as a millennium project. It was designed to draw focus and pay trouble to Donalda’s “outstanding lamp collection.” This impressive oil lamp stands 42 feet high and 17 feet wide, made of steel and fibreglass. The lamp overlooks the Meeting Creek Coulee and actually lights up every single evening at dusk.
World’s Largest Softball
Last but absolutely not least, we’ve got the World’s Largest Softball in Chauvin, Alberta. Chauvin's roadside attraction is Suzie, the World's Largest Softball, and she’s beautiful. It all started back in 1970 when Chauvin hosted the Hune Jamboree Days, a three-day ball tournament that brought in sports fans from around the country. The population of the town would literally triple during the event. Suzie the softball was designed and painted to honour the event, and now she’s become the town’s mascot. She’s big, and she’s gorgeous, lipstick and all.
Britanny Burr is a freelance writer and a contributor to Great West Media. This story was written for the 2023/24 Cool Winter Guide advertising feature. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.