Maybe you’ve already been to Niagara Falls or up to the top of the CN Tower. But have you made a pit stop near a giant goose? Or snapped a selfie next to a giant wheel of cheese?
Those are just a couple of the roadside attractions on offer in towns and cities across Ontario, which have devised unusual and eye-catching ways of setting their communities apart.
If you’re looking for summertime fun close to home, you can hit the road and check out these local legends. If you’re looking for summertime fun even closer to home, you can check in with TVO.org over the next two months — each week, we’ll be bringing you profiles of the weirdest, wackiest, and largest objects gracing Ontario’s roadways.
At the end of August, you’ll get the chance to pick your favourites when we open up the voting brackets. So travel Ontario with us, and get ready for a showdown.
If you head west off Highway 10, just north of Orangeville, you’ll see a cylindrical tower of grey, white, and red rising in the distance. As you get closer, you’ll notice, emerging from the top, four metallic heads recognizable to anyone who spends their summer in the tee box.
Yes, it’s a golf bag, but not just any golf bag: located at the Lynbrook Family Golf Centre, on the south side of Side Road 10 in Amaranth, it’s the world’s largest. The title may not be official — it doesn’t make the running with the Guinness World Records, because it’s not made of authentic golf-bag material — but at nearly nine metres tall and more than four metres wide, the repurposed grain silo is undeniably big.
The idea for it came to Lynbrook owners Kim and Daryl Bailey while they were on a trip to Disney World roughly 25 years ago. They had just purchased vacant farmland with the intent of opening a golf course — and had to figure out what to do with the leftover silo. At the theme park, they saw a larger-than-life Goofy carrying a golf bag that was roughly three metres tall. “As soon as we saw that, we were like, ‘That’s what we’re going to do,’” Kim says.
When they got home, they set to work constructing the wooden side panels. A local upholstery company agreed to take on the strap — 10 metres of golf-bag vinyl. The clubs poking out of the top were meant to be to scale but wound up too small. That was a good thing, as it turns out. “In all fairness, if you put an actual one in the right ratio,” Kim says, “it would have been dangerous to have it up there, because they’re huge.”
The most difficult task was painting. The couple rented a scissor-lift, gathered some family, friends, paint cans, and rollers, and waited for a windless day. “It was pretty scary just based on the height and the machine that we were using,” Kim says. “There's no real easy way of doing it.”
In the years since, the bag has become a popular roadside attraction: families will drop by, have lunch, and take photos. Others are more adventurous: the Baileys say they’ve twice had to board up the entrance to prevent people from trying to get a closer look. “It’s for safety,” Kim says.
Not all would-be visitors can be deterred by wooden barriers. Throughout the year, the former silo plays host to sparrows, robins, and other local wildlife.
The project, like a golf swing, is a perpetual work in progress. It needs repainting every five years or so; its last touch-up in 2016. “It’s just figuring out how to do it without getting hurt,” Kim says. “But if we haven't come up with a better way than the last way, it might be a bit longer before it gets painted.”
The previous instalment: Campbellford's Giant Toonie.
Next up: The Beardmore snowman.
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