The Beaver, Our National Animal

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Jason Alleman’s mechanized beaver, with a smaller beaver model built beside it. Instructions for both of these models can be found on his website,

The lowly beaver has strong roots to Canadian history, and over time, the world’s second-largest rodent has established itself firmly as the national animal, and one fo the most prominent symbols for Canada. How fitting that Jason Alleman of JK Brickworks and ParLUGment decided to pay tribute to Canada by building a mechanized version of the beaver, complete with chomping teeth and smacking tail.

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It’s Bud the Spud from the Bright Red Mud

20170630_190110_062.jpgCanada’s 150th anniversary has brought out a strong sense of patriotism across the country, but long before this recent surge of patriotism, Stompin’ Tom Connors was singing proudly of Canadian history, heritage and folklore. Though never famous beyond the Canadian border, Tom’s songs featured obscure legends and tidbits of Canadiana inspired by his journeys playing in bars and music halls across the country. Amongst his most famous of works are The Hockey Song, Sudbury Saturday Night and Bud the Spud. Graeme Dymond of ToroLUG (that is to say, I the author of this blog) built this based upon my childhood love of the song, which was the beginning of a love of the rest of Stompin’ Tom’s hits, and ultimately, to a love of Canadian history and regional folklore. Although the song leaves it somewhat ambiguous whether Bud the Spud is a human trucker, child-me always interpreted the lyric to mean that Bud was a human trucker or an actual, anthropomorphic potato – which perhaps was a little dark, seeing as he was also driving a truck full of other potatoes – and so I built the model to reflect that interpretation.

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The Avro Arrow

IMG_1365One of the most advanced airfract of its time, the Avro Arrow, built by A.V. Roe Canada/Avro Canada, was a delta-winged interceptor type aircraft built in the mid-1950s, and notoriously cancelled in 1959 before final production due to a variety of reasons. The ship has had an enduring legacy in Canadian history, and Doug Pengelly from ToroLUG has put together a series of several models of the plane, including some unconventional modifications of the LEGO bricks by Pengelly, who scorched several bricks in order to get his desired effect. Coupled with an airport built by Jason Martyn, the scene really comes to life and tells the story of Canada’s most legendary aircraft.

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The Mighty Moose

As of 2007, the island of Newfoundland is said to be home to more than 150000 moose – all of which are descended from four moose which were imported from New Brunswick in 1904!

The moose is one of few mammals known to populate every province and territory in Canada. It has become an iconic animal within Canada, and Nick Della Mora of ToroLUG shared his moose-love and put together this build in less than a few hours, as part of his regular streaming program on Twitch.

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The Unsinkable Ship

In February 1912, prior to the maiden voyage of the Titanic, one Toronto newspaper had two advertisements side by side – one for the White Star Line’s RMS Titanic, and right next to it was for the Cunard’s RMS Carpathia. The Carpathia was the ship that ended up rescuing more than 700 survivors from the Titanic’s wreckage.

Although it may seem an odd choice for a blog featuring items related to Canadian history and culture, the Titanic does indeed hold a spot in the nation’s history. Ben MacLeod, of Tyne Valley, Prince Edward Island, knew as much, and spent about 2000 hours over 3 years and used over 125000 LEGO pieces to put together this monstrous model of the ill-fated vessel. The final piece spans just shy of 3 meters in length, half a meter in width, and three quarters of a meter tall, with a remarkable level of intricacy and detail including engine rooms, turbines, dining halls, and guest cabins.

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The Height of Canadian Architecture

In 1995, when the Canada National Railway crown company privatized, the tower ownership was transferred to the Canada Lands Corporation, Although no longer owned by CN Railway, the name has stuck – though it no longer officially stands for “Canada National” as in the railway, and has radically transformed to “Canada’s National Tower”

One of the most prominent modern structure in Canada, the CN Tower is the tallest tower in the western hemisphere, and at over 553 meters, currently stands as the 9th largest structure in the world. Completed on June 26, 1976, the tower’s notoriety has grown over the years as it has established itself as a significant tourist landmark and icon of not just the city of Toronto, but for the entire nation. Chris Abrams of MBLUG in Manitoba has put together this whopper of a LEGO model, standing at over 2 meters tall – a size that only seems small in comparison to the real tower itself.

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Caloric Harmony

The origin of the name poutine is uncertain, but one supposed origin ties it to a definition stating that a poutine is  an “unappetizing mixture of various foods, usually leftovers.” Another origin states that, when a restaurant regular asked for curds on his fries, the owner replied “ça va te faire une maudite poutine!” (that will make a damned mess!)

There are many foods that define Canada, though few are as well known and iconic as the poutine. Depicted here in a traditional format of fries, topped with cheese curds and smothered in gravy, Robert Turner of ParLUGment has done a delicious job bringing this dish to life in LEGO bricks.

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The Breaking of the Sword

“It is an inspired expression in stone, chiselled by a skilful Canadian hand, of Canada’s salute to her fallen sons.”

— King Edward VIII referring to the memorial during his 1936 speech

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is one of only two Canadian National Historic sites located outside of Canada, and is situated at the most storied battlefield in Canadian military history. As such, it is a fitting subject for recognition as part of Canada’s history in LEGO. John Koob and Chris Gray of NALUG spent over 3000 hours to complete their model over a span of 5 years, incorporating over 150000 LEGO parts.

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The Great Response of Canada

“One sees at a glance the answer made by Canada when the world’s peace was broken and freedom threatened in the fateful years of the Great War.”
His Majesty King George VI on occasion of the dedication of the memorial on Sunday, May 21, 1939

Canada’s National War Memorial sits a few hundred meters from the center of Canada’s capital in Ottawa, and is a large, granite and bronze memorial arch. Bill Kernohan of ParLUGment has done a fantastic job of recreating one of Canada’s most important monuments, capturing the bronze-cast soldiers marching through the arch, with allegorical depictions of Peace and Freedom perched atop – values with which these soldiers blessed the world.

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The Canada Goose

Honk honk honk

Though not an official national symbol. the Canada Goose holds a unique place in Canadian history and identity as one of our most ubiquitous animals – and of course, it doesn’t hurt that it has the name Canada in the name. Noel Straatsma of Barrie, Ontario has managed to put together a pretty pair of life-sized models (with a nice little flag for a background) that took over 20 hours for him to design and build.

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