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.
Canada’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.
One 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For centuries the Atlantic cod provided a way of life for Canadians. Jeff Lee of ToroLUG (dr_spock_888) has built a model of a small cod fishing trawler, which captures the essence of what sustained the people of Newfoundland, and much of Canada, for so much of its history. Even the water has a feel that calls out to Canada’s cool Atlantic coast.
Do not let the relatively modern exterior of the Pointe-à-Callière Museum in Montréal fool you – for inside is one of the greatest archaeological history museum’s in all of Canada. Not only renowned for it’s artifacts, the facade envelopes an interior of integrated historic buildings and landmarks. All of these elements combined is what drew Sébastien Bouthillette (Cbast, from Quebec’s QuéLUG) to bring this to life in LEGO bricks.
As Canada’s railways were constructed following Confederation in 1867, people riding those rails needed places to stay. Railway companies began constructing hotels at or near their train stations, using what is now referred to as a chateau-style or ‘chateauesque’ style of architecture. Jeff Van Winden (jeffvw) from WHaCKoLuG has put together a fabulous micro build of the Royal York Hotel, Toronto’s Grand Railway Hotel, and for a ‘microscale’ model, this building is anything but micro!