Vegreville Pysanky

Over ten years of waiting to see this marvellous contraption.

Many years ago I spent a summer in Alberta and a friend and I rented a car with the specific purpose of seeing a giant prolate spheroid. That, and the world’s largest corn maze in Lacombe. What a day!

We drove to within a few short kilometres before she insisted we turn around and head back because she had to see a boy. That girl was not good at making life choices. Ever since that day of disappointment, I’ve hoped to take part in the traditional holy pilgrimage that every Ukrainian in Canada must complete before they die. I made that up.

Travelling into the town of Vegreville (or should I say, V-EGG-reville), I could see the triangular patterns of gold, black and white emerging from the trees in the park and sparkling in the evening light. What an amazing, wondrous spectacle! There are many oversized novelty objects in Canada, particularly in Alberta (why?) but none so elegant. The entrancing patterns on such a large object balanced on a single point and rotating slowly in the wind made me feel good pretty good about Canada. Look what we made!


Some information about this feat of engineering, courtesy of the sign in the park:

Anodized aluminum

Number of Pieces
Star patterns: 524
Triangular pieces: 2,208
Visible facets: 3,512
Nuts and bolts: 6,978
Internal struts: 177

Aluminum skin: 2,000 lbs
Internal structure: 3,000 lbs
Base: 27,000 lbs

Length: 25.7 ft
Width: 18.3 ft
Highest point from ground: 31 ft

“Over 12,000 hours of design and fabrication were required to develop the structure” and as per the town of Vegreville’s website it’s also “an achievement of nine mathematical, architectural and engineering firsts.” For an egg.

It was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the RCMP but was also visited by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip and I just love to imagine what they thought when they were presented with it. Town of Vegreville: “Ta-daaaaaaah!”

The egg, now over 40 years old, is still in great shape and despite its girth manages to project a sense of grace. And it is clearly still well-loved in Vegreville, as demonstrated by the carefully knitted pysanky patterned “cozies” that some amusing stranger had attached to the park sign.

EGG. So much more important than a silly boy.