The World’s Largest Attractions Tour
“World’s Largest” seems to be a recurring theme in Kalyna Country. With gigantic attractions, each a short drive from one another, it’s no wonder that Canada’s largest ecomuseum is such a popular destination for sight seeing. Each of these attractions were uniquely created to represent some aspect of the surrounding area and they all have their own interesting histories.
Vegreville has always been recognized for its large Ukrainian population. Some of the first settlers in the area were Ukrainian, building homesteads west of the town site in 1898. However, the world’s largest Pysanka (Ukrainian Easter Egg), located at the Elks/Kinsmen Park, was not primarily constructed to represent the Ukrainian heritage. It was built in Honor of the RCMP Centennial to symbolize the peace and security that they had provided to the community. The unique and complicated geometry of the egg shape made for a highly complex project and although the Egg is not recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records, it did capture Queen Elizabeth’s attention when she visited the Town of Vegreville in 1978. The Pysanka is also one of the premier attractions along the Yellowhead Highway.
The Village of Vilna is a quaint little town known for the excellent mushroom picking in the area. What better way to promote this than with massive mushrooms. In 1993, the Vilna Lions Club took it upon themselves to construct three, 20 foot high mushrooms just two blocks off of Main Street. The mushrooms are of the trichloma uspale variety, which are used as a traditional ingredient in the region’s ethnic dishes. The mushrooms also represent the abundance of mushrooms found in the area which attract hoards of mushroom pickers. Vilna is definitely the mushroom lover’s paradise in Kalyna Country.
Driving through Kalyna Country, one is guaranteed to see lakes and ponds littered with ducks and other water fowl. But what you might not expect to see is a gigantic Mallard duck flying overhead. With a 25 foot wingspan, Andrew’s Mallard Duck is the largest in the world. Andrew is located directly west of Whitford Lake, a popular breeding ground for the Mallard duck, as well as, numerous other species of water fowl. On April 29, 1992, the Village of Andrew received a tourism grant from the Alberta Government. The Lions Club then used this money to build a landmark that represented the town’s association with Whitford Lake and the abundant water fowl that gather there. The duck consists of 3500 pounds of building material and is located in the Lions Club Park.
Stawnichy’s Meat Processing, located on Main Street, Mundare, is one of the most popular garlic sausage producers in Kalyna Country. Because of this, Mundare has been deemed as the sausage capital of Alberta. A new monument for the town was recently constructed, representing what the town is known best for; its sausage. The Sausage stands at 42 feet high, 14 feet wide, and weighs in at about 6 tonnes. The monument was erected on April 27, 2001 and is located near the town’s water tower. It is the only one of it’s kind and is the largest in the world.
Kalyna Country is also home to a variety of attractions that are either the largest in North America or the only one of their kind. North America’s Largest Oil Derrick is located in the Town of Redwater and can be seen from miles and miles away. The 168 foot derrick was moved to its current location by Heiland Exploration in July of 1948 and first struck oil on August 30, 1948. The derrick stands today as a reminder of an era that brought inexplicable wealth to Alberta. Elk Point’s Peter Fidler Historical Monument is larger than life and stands on the northern approach to Elk Point along the west side of Highway 41. This wooden statue honors the explorer and map maker, Peter Fidler, who hiked overland from Fort George to the upper reaches of the South Saskatchewan River.
Other roadside attractions in and around Kalyna Country include the RCMP Memorial Statue on the Victoria Trail near Waskatenau; St. Paul is home to the world’s first UFO Landing Pad – an extraordinary attraction; north of St. Paul in Glendon is the world’s largest Perogy; Dewberry has one of the largest Chuckwagon on display and Bud Miller All Seasons Park in Lloydminster is home to the world’s largest Sundial.
All of these unique attractions add a great deal to the communities in the area. The history and symbolism behind each monument can only be truly appreciated when you see it for yourself. Besides, you’ll have to see them to believe them!
Create your own driving tour or try this complete loop of all these attractions:
Start with the Sausage in Mundare off Hwy 16; head north on Sec. Hwy 855 to see Andrew’s Mallard Duck; then drive east on Hwy 45 till you reach Sec. Hwy 831, turn north to the Victoria Trail (just across the river), then travel east to see the RCMP Memorial Statue; continue onward to Sec. Hwy 855, head north through Smoky Lake and go east on Hwy28 to Vilna to see the Mushrooms; drive east on Hwy 28A to the turn off to Glendon to see the Perogy; now return to Hwy 28A, go west to Sec. Hwy 881 and then go south to St. Paul to see the UFO Landing Pad; drive east on Hwy 28 to the turnoff to Hwy 41, south to Elk Point to see Peter Fidler; afterwards drive southeast on Sec. Hwy 646 to Dewberry to see the Chuckwagon; continue south towards Hwy 16, head east to Lloydminster to see the Sundial and return west on Hwy 16 to Vegreville to see the Pysanka.