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Canada's Gigantic

Jon Burrows

Another oddly-shaped book protruding from the shelf at the library the other day was Canada's Gigantic (Summerhill), a collection of photographs by Henri Robideau, a Gianthropologist photographer who searches out Giant Things in the Canadian landscape. It started in 1973 when he photographed Vancouver's giant hand and loaf of bread installed by Neon Products, a lighting company that used three-dimensional billboards to stay in business during wartime blackouts. Since then Robideau has traveled throughout Canada and photographed every Giant Thing he could find; from the manure shovel in Eckville, AB to the Homme et Chien Chaud in Sabrevois, PQ to the 2.4 metre killer ant in Bonshaw, PEI. Peter Day wrote the text for the book, and his introduction traces giant fascination from the Colossus of Rhodes, said to be thirty metres high before it toppled in 224 B.C., through Michelangelo's sculpture of David to the work of American Pop artist Claes Oldenburg who installed three giant straw hats in a city park in Salinas, CA and a giant ice-pick in Kassel, West Germany. Robideau has a theory that whereas in the United States, Giant Things are used to sell—for example, an ice-cream stand shaped like a giant cone—Canadians build Giant Things in a show of civic pride: a turtle in Turtleford, Saskatchewan; a magnet at Magnetic Hill in New Brunswick, and of course, a moose in Moose Jaw. Which leads Robideau to wonder what Dildo, NF might erect some day. No doubt he'll be there to photograph it.

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The 19th Annual Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest

The writing contest whose name is almost as long as the entries! Deadline is May 20, 2024.

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The writing contest whose name is almost as long as the entries! Deadline is May 20, 2024.