Parc National des Grands-Jardins - Chalet

Canada’s Best Roadside Attractions

Posted September 10, 2018 in Inside Canada

John Lee
John Lee
Travel Writer

Canada’s quirkiest roadside attractions

The next time you’re driving in Canada, be sure to designate one of your passengers to keep an eye on the side of the road. If they’re lucky, they might spot a T-Rex, a humongous beaver, a coin far bigger than a house or a towering part-man-part-log that looks like it could scoop up and eat your car without even putting its axe down.

Roadside Canada is a hotbed of kitsch-tastic mascots loved by the communities they call home. If you’re driving anywhere here – especially in smaller towns – it’s just a matter of time before you stumble on one of these smile-triggering testaments to local spirit, tongue-in-cheek imagination and perhaps someone who had a little too much time on their hands.

Read on for our favourite Canadian roadside attractions and where to find them; then plan your trip accordingly. Don’t forget to pull over and snap some photos if you find one, especially if it’s one we haven’t heard about.

Mr. PG

Where: Prince George, British Columbia

Arguably more famous than his Prince George home, the stump-nosed log man looms large over Highway 16 West, saluting passing trucks. The 54-year-old forest-industry icon has twice road-tripped to Vancouver (on the back of a flatbed truck) and in recent years he’s been spruced up and relocated to more prominent spot across the street.

Fun Fact: Mr. PG has an eponymous song, penned by Manitoban Al Simmons.

World’s Largest Dinosaur

Where: Drumheller, Alberta

More than four times larger than your average real-life T-Rex, this sharp-toothed, 25-metre-tall behemoth weighs 65 tonnes and cost more than a $1 million to build back in the prehistoric days of 2001. Denoting Canada’s fossil and dinosaur capital, visitors can climb a set of 106 steps to reach its lofty head.

Fun Fact: 12 people can fit inside the T-Rex’s mouth – a great meal for any slavering ly hungry dino.

World’s Largest Dinosaur - Drumheller, AB

World’s Largest Lobster

Where: Shediac, New Brunswick

Sticking with ginormous critters (I’d pay to see a movie where this mascot battles Drumheller’s T-Rex), New Brunswick’s rich seafood heritage is celebrated with an 11-metre-long lobster stalking the seafaring town of Shediac. The world’s largest lobster (it’s unclear how much competition there is for this title), visitors can climb the pedestal stairs for an up-close selfie with the massive-clawed critter.

Fun Fact: Suggesting it might hold its own against an oversized T-Rex, this crustacean sculpture weighs a total of 90 tonnes.

World’s Largest Lobster - Shediac, NB

Big Nickel

Where: Sudbury, Ontario

Now more than 50 years old, Canada’s biggest coin isn’t exactly pocket change: the 12-sided replica of a 1951 nickel outside the Dynamic Earth science museum in Sudbury, Ontario is a whopping nine metres high. Fashioned from stainless steel panels, the humongous coin is meant to highlight the area’s historic nickel mining industry.

Fun Fact: This massive nickel ways more than 12,000 kilograms, so don’t try flipping it on your own.

Canada’s biggest coin - Sudbury Ontario

Big Fiddle

Where: Sydney, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Proving just how important foot-stomping fiddle music is to Nova Scotians, this gigantic stringed instrument (complete with 15-metre-long bow) towers over the forecourt of Sydney’s Marine Terminal – perhaps just waiting to be played by Mr. PG if he ever makes it out this way (or eaten by Drumheller’s T-Rex if he joins him).

Fun Fact: The fiddle is illuminated and also regales visitors with its own soundtrack medley of locally composed tunes.

Big Fiddle and Caribbean Princess Cruise ship - Sydney, Cape Breton Island, NS

Giant Beaver

Where: Beaverlodge, Alberta

There’s a full array of oversized bird, fish and even moose sculptures sprinkled like giant confetti across Canada. But it’s hard be more flag-wavingly iconic than this gargantuan Alberta beaver, handily provided with its own massive log to keep his huge teeth in tip-top shape. Almost six metres long, the hulking critter was built in 2004 to mark the town’s 75th birthday – we can’t wait to see what they’ll unveil for their centenary.

Fun Fact: This particular busy beaver was constructed from steel, foam and polyurethane.

Jumbo the Elephant

Where: St. Thomas, Ontario

Ontario is a hotbed of weird and wonderful roadside curios, from Muddy the Mudcat to Patricia the Tugboat to Bob the Beaver. But perhaps the most beloved is this big-tusked favourite in the town of St. Thomas, commemorating a famous PT Barnum circus elephant that tragically died here in 1885 after being struck by a train.

Fun Fact: Jumbo was also a giant of an elephant in real life, reportedly standing 3.23 metres at the shoulder.

Jumbo elephant statue- St. Thomas, Ontario

Have you spotted any cool and quirky roadside attractions in Canada? Share your memories, photos and videos via Facebook or Twitter or tag us on Instagram.


John Lee

John Lee is a full-time freelance writer whose work has appeared in more than 150 different print and online publications around the world, from Lonely Planet to the Los Angeles Times to the BBC.