Quirky Attractions in the Kootenays
Unique, historic, and cultural gems to visit.
British Columbia is bursting with big. Towering trees, mountains, and endless ocean prove the point, but there are also a lot of oversized roadside attractions to discover. Spice up your next road trip with these big photo ops.
The GM Terex 33-19 was the largest, highest capacity haul truck in the world for 25 years, and the only one of its kind ever built.
Find it here: Parked beside Highway 3 along the Crowsnest Highway.
While you’re there: Go fishing on the Elk River, hike the Matevic Draw for a bird’s eye view of Sparwood, or take a drive out to Grave Lake.
40 times bigger than life-sized, the hockey stick is 62.48 m (205 ft) long, and weighs 28.12 tonnes (62,000 lbs).
Find it here: It was originally on display at Expo 86 in Vancouver. Now you’ll find it at the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan.
The giant peach is also a snack shack. Give the peach screamer a try.
Find it here: In Rotary Park, on the south shore of Okanagan Lake.
Burls are natural formations that develop when extra cells grow on a tree. The world’s largest burl was carved off a tall sitka spruce tree and is estimated to be 30 tonnes (66,000 lbs).
Find it here: On the northeast side of Vancouver Island, next to downtown Port McNeill.
While you’re there: Port McNeill is an unspoiled wilderness. Go for a hike in the rainforest—Marble River Trail for an easy hike, Cape Scott Trail for more of a challenge—or rent a kayak and paddle to the Broughton Archipelago, BC’s largest marine park.
The largest tin soldier in the world stands 10 meters (32 feet) high, and the heart contains a time capsule to be opened in 2025.
Find it here: Outside the River Market, just off Quayside Drive.
While you’re there: Check out the shops in the River Market and then go for a walk along the Fraser River boardwalk.
Canada’s largest fly rod is 18.3 m (60 feet) long and weighs about 360 kg (800 lbs).
Find it here: Along Highway 16 as you drive into town.
While you’re there: Go fishing. Houston is known for steelhead fishing, but there are also plenty of spring and coho salmon, and trout.
These sparrows, by artist Myfanwy Maclead, were inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film The Birds.
Find it here: They have flown away at the moment for maintenance, but are expected back in September of 2018 to their home along False Creek at the site of the 2010 Olympic Village.
While you’re there: Take a walk along False Creek, or stop in at Craft Beer Market in the historic Salt Building.
This statue depicts the legendary Ogopogo of Okanagan Lake. Try to catch a photo of the real thing in the lake, or snap your picture with the statue.
Find it here: The statue is in City Park on Okanagan Lake.
While you’re there: Check out the area’s award winning wineries.
Smokey Bear was part of a wildfire prevention program that started in 1944. The real life Smokey Bear was an orphaned black bear cub rescued from a wildfire.
Find it here: Five km (3 mi) west of Revelstoke at the base of Boulder Mountain (just off the Trans-Canada Highway).
While you’re there: In winter try the many snowmobile trails, or in summer ride the Pipe Mountain Coaster at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
The Giant Penny is 2.5 m (8 ft) high and honours the Penny Power campaign of 1995, where Salmo residents collected pennies and donated them to the Government of Canada to reduce the national debt.
Find it here: On Highway 6 in Salmo.
While you’re there: Catch a glimpse of a herd of bighorn sheep at Kootenay Pass (just outside Salmo).
These cross-country skis are 12 metres (40 feet) tall and are complete with poles.
Find it here: At the South Cariboo Visitor Centre located along the 100 Mile Marsh.
While you’re there: Stop for a picnic and some bird watching. In winter, explore 150 km (93 mi) of groomed cross-country ski trails.
Follow the Gold Rush Trail and you’ll find a huge gold pan, shovel, and nugget in Quesnel.
Find it here: Along Highway 97.
This oversized tomahawk is inscribed with Lac La Hache (meaning Hatchet Lake).
Find it here: At the south end of the lake on Highway 97.
While you’re there: Go fishing, or take a stroll around the lake.
The largest paddle in the world is over 18 metres (60 feet) long and was made from one huge western red cedar log.
Find it here: Between Golden and Parson on Highway 95.
While you’re there: Rent a canoe and explore the Columbia River and surrounding wetlands.
These 1940s ocean-going freighters were placed in the harbour to shelter log rafts from waves. With the mill gone, they are now just nautical ghosts.
Find it here: Just off the Sunshine Coast Highway, north of downtown.
While you’re there: Go for a kayak in Desolation Sound Marine Park.
The world’s largest standing garden gnome was created by artist Ron Hale out of junk and scrap metal and stands 7.91 metres (25 feet) tall.
Find it here: On Vancouver Island on the East Island Highway.
While you’re there: Golf with an ocean view at Fairwinds Golf and Country Club.
Artist and writer Kenny Glasgow created the Great Hog of Freedom for his Philosophy Park. The largest of three motorcycles on display is 7.5 metres (24 feet) long and three times larger than the original. Be sure to wander and explore Kenny’s other outdoor metal sculptures.
Find it here: Off Highway 12 from Lytton.
While you’re there: Go rafting in one of Canada’s best river rafting locations(the Fraser and Thompson rivers meet in Lytton).
The Squamish Axe Man (Sam) promotes the Squamish Days Festival in August.
Find it here: Off Highway 99 in Squamish at the Squamish Adventure Centre.
While you’re there: Take a ride up the Sea to Sky Gondola for breathtaking views of Howe Sound.
Road trippers have been on the hunt for pictures with the giant Muffler Men since they started appearing in North America in the 1960s (they can be recognized by their one hand up and one hand down position). This one stands next to a sawmill and looks like a logger.
Find it here: At mile 62 of the Alaska Highway.
While you’re there: Go bird watching at Charlie Lake.
Mr. Prince George stands 8 metres (27 feet) tall and was recognized on a Canada Post stamp in 2009.
Find it here: In Prince George at the junction of Highway 97 and Highway 16.
While you’re there: Check out the vintage rail collection at the Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum.
Know before you go. Be sure to check the following resources to plan for the latest conditions:
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