It seems that there is at least one person in every community that dreams one day to have some sort of special monument in their town. An attention getter. Most people think of these things as corny and embarrassing and a waste of money. In some ways they are all of that and more, however, I have come to appreciate what these things represent as well as their effectiveness.
Editor, David Yanciw conversing
with a dinosaur in Drumheller, Alberta
My mind was really changed when me and a friend of mine ( Samson Yee ) undertook a road trip from my city (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) to Edmonton, Alberta. Well we decided to take a little detour in search of the world's largest Pyrogy (Ukrainian dumpling) in Glendon, Alberta. I had seen a newspaper article about it and another good friend also mentioned it. I had to see, with my own eyes, how they can make something like this look realistic (it was on a giant fork). It actually did look really good but what was more amazing was we, like many others, have gone a great deal out of our way to see it. Glendon is out of the way for anybody. We stopped in at the gift shop and bought a plastic spoon with a decal and a miniature pyrogy on it and I realized what the monument really meant. It was a way for a small out-of-the-way town to draw people to it. While there, they might get gas or a meal or a plastic spoon or maybe see that this is a neat little town. Whether, they have actually recouped their investment in erecting it I do not know. What I do know is that this town created a reason for being. In my work I have had many opportunities to work with and analyze small prairie communities and I am amazed at the differences in attitude you come across. In some places, everyone there has given up on the town surviving and in other places the town will never disappear because the residents just won't let it.
Sometime, when you are in the neighbourhood of a Big Thing, stop by, take a look, buy something and help the town survive.
A special thank you has to go out to Dan Duran who was an announcer from the Dini Petty Show (Canadian Talk Show) who attempted to unite Canada with a celebration of Big Things. This also might be his term.