Port McNeill Burl. Photo: Kim Walker
By Kevin Krikke
Most visitors to BC assume that the biggest attractions are located in and around our largest city, Vancouver, or perhaps our provincial capital, Victoria. In one sense, they would be right, but in the literal sense, they are totally wrong. It’s not Vancouver that has the world’s largest fly rod (all 60 feet and 800 lbs of it) – the town of Houston does.
And last time I checked, Victoria didn’t lay claim to having the world’s largest set of cross country skis (39 feet and 1200 lbs) – these are on display in 100 Mile House. If you really want to see the biggest and most unique attractions BC has to offer, be ready to travel off the beaten tourist path and to experience some of our province’s more unique destinations.
If digging into BC’s gold rush history is your thing, you may want to visit the world’s largest Gold Pan (1400 kg and 5.5 m diameter) in Quesnel, where you can stay in the Billy Barker Casino Hotel before heading east along Highway 25 to reach Barkerville, home of one of our province’s largest gold finds during the heady days of the 19th century gold rush.
Perhaps you’re looking for something that represents BC’s aboriginal history? How about the world’s tallest Totem Pole (173 feet), which can be found in Alert Bay, a small village located on Cormorant Island (off the coast of northeastern Vancouver Island). Or if natural history piques your interest, the world’s tallest yellow cedar tree (over 200 feet tall), located north of Campbell River on Vancouver Island, will leave you gazing upward in awestruck wonder.
Not that you’d ever think about cutting down either of these wooden wonders, but if you did, you’d want to swing by Lillooet to grab the world’s largest chainsaw, which you could easily transport in the back of what was, until recently, the world’s biggest truck (66 feet long, 23 feet high and 260 TONS!), found in the town of Sparwood in BC’s southeast corner. The “Titan” truck actually lost its’ “world’s largest” title in 1998, but it’s still a massive sight to see!
You say outdoor sports are more your thing? Other than stops in Houston and 100 Mile House to snap your picture of the previously mentioned fly rod and cross country skis, you should add the town of Golden to your list. It recently became home to the world’s largest canoe paddle (60.9 feet long, 9.2 feet high, and 5300 lbs), located at the Columbia Wetlands Adventure facility.
Or perhaps you’re a fan of that winter sport that Canadians are perhaps best known for around the world. Then a trip to Duncan on Vancouver Island is definitely in order. Here you can behold the world’s largest Hockey Stick and Puck, which was originally built for Vancouver’s Expo ’86 World’s Fair and then moved to Duncan’s Cowichan Community Centre. They say today’s NHLers are bigger and stronger than ever, but it’s safe to say there’s not a player powerful enough to play with this gear, made from steel-reinforced Douglas Fir beams (205 feet long and 61,000 lbs!).
Maybe you’re just on the hunt to visit the world’s largest random objects, the kind of thing you can slip into dinner party conversations to prevent those awkward moments of silence. Kimberley, a town in BC’s Kootenay Rockies that is also known as “the Bavarian city of the Rockies”, also possesses the world’s largest Standing Cuckoo Clock – Happy Hans the gnome comes out and yodels every hour, or for a small donation.
And then there’s Port McNeill, in the northeastern part of Vancouver Island, a place where one can find not just the world’s largest (almost 20 feet in diameter and 30 tons), but also the second largest Burl (22 tons). What in the world is a burl, you ask? Well, it’s basically a tree-wart or tumor. Now there’s something worth sharing at your next social event!
So if you like the idea of visiting things that are larger-than-life, head to BC’s smaller, harder to find locations. You just might find yourself having some of the world’s biggest adventures in the process.
Note: The “world’s largest/tallest” claims of these attractions may not necessarily be true or they may just be outdated, therefore readers who are dedicated to visiting things that are truly the world’s biggest should do their own research to be as objective as possible.
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Published: October 31, 2018
Kevin Krikke is a classroom teacher by trade, but he more recently works from home as part of the online education world. He enjoys the flexibility of his “day” job, which is allowing him to pursue his passion for freelance writing. He enjoys traveling with his family and is slowly but surely visiting different regions of this large, diverse and beautiful province. He is hoping to do a cross-Canada family road trip in the next year or two; if you have any tips to offer him, he can be contacted at [email protected]