My Secret Obsession With “The World’s Biggest …”

Do you have one of those secret (or not-so-secret) travel obsessions?  A sort of guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?

For me it’s stopping off at “The World’s Biggest …”!

No matter what it is.  No matter how cheesy it is.  I MUST STOP TO SEE IT!

This past weekend this obsession came to me when the World’s Biggest Rubber Duck came to Toronto for Canada Day weekend!

World’s Biggest Rubber Duck

The World’s Biggest Rubber Duck swam it’s way into the Toronto Harbourfront this past weekend, though not without a little controversy.

Why a duck?  It cost how much??  These were some of the most popular among the questioning party-poopers around the city and province.  Every great idea has it’s naysayers …

Judging by the crowds of smiling faces (of all ages!) I’d say the duck was an overwhelming success.  I’ve never seen so many people gathered in this area of the Toronto waterfront for any event, but they all came for the duck.  Then they stayed for the amazing fireworks display off the CN Tower. [UPDATE – All previous records were smashed for the attendance for the Waterfront Festival, and local businesses had their busiest long weekend ever]

This duck is a replica of a sculpture designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman.  It comes in at 6-storeys tall, is 78 feet wide, 89 feet long, and weighs over 13 tonnes (30,000 lbs).  And it’s a social media phenomenon!

CN Tower

Speaking of the CN Tower … For 34 years this structure held the record for World’s Largest Free-Standing Structure and World’s Largest Building.  It’s reign came to an end in 2010 with the completion of the Burj Khalifa and Canton Tower.

At 553.3m (1815.3 ft) tall, the CN Tower remains the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere.

The interior of the CN Tower is home to the World’s Tallest Metal Staircase at 1776 steps.  The stairs are closed to the public except for twice annually when they’re used for charity stair-climb events.  I personally completed the climb at one of these events in 2000, and it was an amazing experience!

The Big Lobster

As you start out along The Great Ocean Road from the Adelaide end you’ll find The Big Lobster, affectionately known locally as “Larry the Lobster”.

Larry is 17m tall, 15.2m long and is 13.7m wide, with an approximate weight of 4 tonnes.  He’s made of steel and fibreglass, and was designed to to attract attention to the restaurant and visitor centre.

The Big Rocking Horse

Located in the Adelaide Hills, The Big Rocking Horse is only 40 minutes from the city; a perfect pit-stop on the way to tour of the Barossa Valley wine region.

The Big Rocking Horse stands over 18m tall and weighs 25 tonnes.  It’s part of a larger complex that includes a wooden toy factory, wildlife park and café.  The main viewing platform on the horse’s back can be reached by steps, but you’ll need to climb a series of steel ladders to enjoy the great views from the top of the head.

The Big Apple

A short drive east of Toronto will take you right past The Big Apple.  Everyone in the area knows it, and it’s a popular spot to stop during road trips.

Inside the complex you can watch apple pies and apple bread baked right in front of you … then take some home.  Outdoor activities include table tennis, shuffleboard, bocce ball, 18-hole mini putt, and a train ride for kids.  But the main attraction is climbing inside the 35 ft tall “Mr. Applehead”, the world’s biggest apple-shaped structure.

The Big Nickel

As you travel into Northern Ontario, you’ll find The Big Nickel just off the main highway in Sudbury.

Opened to the public in 1964, the 9m (30 ft) tall replica of a 1951 Canadian nickel (5 cent coin) is located at the grounds of the Dynamic Earth science museum.

The 1951 design was chosen to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the isolation of nickel as a metal, to be a lasting tribute to the men and women who mined and processed the minerals in the Sudbury Basin.

Video Display at AT&T Stadium

Earlier this year I attended an event at the incredible AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.  The centerpiece of this building is a 55 x 22 m (180 x 72 ft) center-hung Mitsubishi video display board that was the largest high-definition television screen in the world at the time of installation.

Each board stretches from one 20-yard line to the other 20-yard line with 11,393 square feet of screen area, and weighs 1.2 million pounds.

Special highlight was that I  managed to make an appearance on the massive screen dancing with a few of my friends!

Grand Canyon West Skywalk

A quick 120 mile (190 km) drive from Las Vegas will take you to Grand Canyon West, the lesser known sibling to the popular North and South Rims.

In 2007 the Hualapei Nation opened Skywalk at Eagle Point.  The Skywalk is a glass-floored, horseshoe shaped walkway 4000 ft above the canyon floor!  The height of the vertical drop directly under the Skywalk is between 150m (500 ft) to 240m (800 ft).  At 21m (70 ft) is was the longest cantilever bridge in the world until it was surpassed in 2015.

I ventured out onto the glass a couple of years after it opened and loved it!  The views are incredible, and the experience is definitely one-of-a-kind.

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Resources

Here is a list of the resources mentioned in this post:

World’s Biggest Rubber Duck – a replica of a sculpture designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman.  It comes in at 6-storeys tall, is 78 feet wide, 89 feet long, and weighs over 13 tonnes (30,000 lbs)

CN Tower – At 553.3m (1815.3 ft) tall, the CN Tower remains the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere

The Big Lobster – “Larry” is 17m tall, 15.2m long and is 13.7m wide, with an approximate weight of 4 tonnes.  He’s made of steel and fibreglass, and was designed to to attract attention to the restaurant and visitor centre

The Big Rocking Horse – Standing over 18m tall and weighing 25 tonnes, it’s part of a larger complex that includes a wooden toy factory, wildlife park and café

The Big Apple – Climb the stairs of the 35 ft high structure to the top observation deck for great views of the area, and even Lake Ontario

The Big Nickel – The 9m (30 ft) tall replica of a 1951 Canadian nickel (5 cent coin) is located at the grounds of the Dynamic Earth science museum

Video Display at AT&T Stadium – At 180 by 72 feet (55 by 22 m), the boards stretch from one 20-yard line to the other 20-yard line with 11,393 square feet of screen area

Skywalk at Eagle Point – A glass-floored, horseshoe shaped walkway 4000 ft above the canyon floor