An American's Guide to Canada: Roadside Attractions

This page has three sections: one from a trip my sweetie and I took from Ottawa to the west coast, one from a trip from Toronto to the east coast, and pictures that have been submitted by visitors. In early July, 1994, my Canadian sweetie and I packed up Rolf the Volkswagen Golf and drove for 17 of the next 19 days. We went to visit friends in Ottawa, and hit the road from there. We did the whole drive inside Canada, except for a brief trip down into Washington State. During the summer of 1997, we drove out to Nova Scotia, stopping in Quebec City, Moncton, Halifax, Cape Breton, Charlottetown, and Montreal on the way there and back. A few observations about Canada:

  1. It's really, really big.
  2. Ontario is huge. Ontario is at least two days' worth of driving on its own.
  3. Canada's terrain is varied and gorgeous. From Cape Breton Island to Prince Edward Island to the Canadian Shield (a very old mountain range that in its day was taller than the Rockies) to north of Superior to the Prairies to the Rockies to Vancouver Island and back again, it's just stunning.
  4. Canada seems to have this thing for putting very large...well, things into the middle of town. You'll see what I mean.
Either or both of us are in almost all of these. (And yeah, we missed the Wawa goose -- it was 3am when we got to Wawa and the picture didn't turn out very well. Sorry.)

For more pictures like this, try these sites:

From the trip west

  • A giant cow in Dymond Township, Ontario. (I was just about positive it's in Kirkland Lake, and others wrote to say it was New Liskeard, but it turns out that it's actually in Dymond.)
  • A great big polar bear in Cochrane, Ontario.
  • A flying saucer in Moonbeam, Ontario (honest). Moonbeam is just outside Kapuskasing.
  • A ginormous buffalo, in Earlton, Ontario (thanks to a visitor for telling me where it is). Although you can't tell from this picture, it's so anatomically correct that I started to blush.
  • Me communing with a sheep at Egli's Sheep Farm in Minnitaki, Ontario. "We have to stop there. It says 'Turn left at the big sheep.'"
  • A mutant hitchhiking bigfoot in Vermilion Bay, Ontario. Every now and then they change its clothes.
  • The 30-foot snowman in Beardmore, Ontario.
  • The Dryden moose, in Dryden, Ontario. 18 feet tall and much more realistic than the Moose Jaw moose (below).
  • Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, brought to you by the Coca-Cola Corporation.
  • A happy rock in Gladstone, Manitoba. Get it?
  • Lake Louise, in Banff National Park, Alberta. Stunningly beautiful. It really does look like this.
  • Dave and me at Lake Louise. This is one of my favorite pictures of us.
  • The Continental Divide; also the border between Alberta and British Columbia. The sign says, "Canadian Pacific Railway / The Great Divide / Altitude 5332 Ft / Alberta | British Columbia Boundary."
  • The spiral tunnels in Rogers Pass, BC. These train tunnels were built to ease the grade of the Rockies and help prevent runaway trains.
  • A great big salmon in Kamloops, BC.
  • Smokey the Bear, in Revelstoke, BC. He's so tall that Dave couldn't even reach his hand.
  • Dave and me in the Public Market in Seattle. (Okay, so it's not in Canada. It was the same trip.)
  • Us in a rainforest on Vancouver Island. I like this picture a lot.
  • A clearcut. What the rainforest looks like after MacMillan Bloedel and other forestry companies have been by. Think the picture's upsetting? It's worse seeing it for real. I felt like I'd been hit in the stomach. I joined the Western Canada Wilderness Committee when we got home. (A note about this comment, if it's made you want to send me hate mail.)
  • On the way home: Huskie the Muskie, in Kenora, Ontario. (I hadn't known until I met Huskie that a muskie is a fish.)

From the trip east

  • The World's Biggest Apple, in Colborne, Ontario. If you stop here, I highly recommend the apple crumble pie. Yum.
  • Le Bonhomme Carnaval. He's the mascot of the big winter festival held every year in Quebec City. The theory is that he's the long-lost brother of the Michelin Man and the Pillsbury Doughboy.
  • Dave, next to a potato, in Grand Falls (or Grand Sault, if you're French), New Brunswick.
  • Dave again, next to a different and more dapper potato, in Maugerville (pron. "Majorville"), New Brunswick. (Thanks to a visitor for the locations of the potatoes.)
  • The World's Largest Axe, in Nackawic, New Brunswick.
  • The Strawberry Man, along the road in New Brunswick. We got some nice strawberry jam here.
  • The life-size mastodon in Stewiacke, Nova Scotia. Stewiacke is notable for two reasons: it's exactly halfway between the North Pole and the Equator, and a beautifully preserved mastodon skeleton was found there.
  • The World's Largest Lobster Trap, in Cheticamp, Nova Scotia.

Contributed by visitors

  • Jo Morris sent in this picture of the Vegreville Easter egg, in Vegreville, Alberta. Her daughter (Emily!) is standing in front of it.
  • Brian Barker kindly sent a picture of the giant nickel in Sudbury, Ontario. In the picture beside Brian is his girlfriend Lorna.
  • Jennifer Smith sent in a picture of the tomato-shaped tourist information booth in Leamington, Ontario, the "Tomato Capital of Canada."
  • Chris DeWolf sent a shot of the Calgary Tower. He notes that it "might not fit your description as unusual, but is certainly a big thing in the middle of a city built for the helluvit."
  • Leisha sent a small picture of Mr. PG, the mascot for Prince George, British Columbia.
  • Martin Ince, maintainer of the World's Largest Roadside Attractions and the Gallery of Huge Beings sites, sent in a picture of a Beware of moose sign from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He notes, "Compare and contrast the Ontario Night Danger moose, which is kind of plowing forward, with the more sedentary Art-Deco Nova Scotia version."
Thanks, Jo, Brian, Jennifer, Chris, Leisha, and Martin!

--Emily Way (emily_@_americansguide.ca)
Last updated September 12, 2005.

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