Planning a day trip, a scavenger hunt or road rally? Why not add "Selfie with Sara" to your list.
Who's Sara? Well, I'm talking about Sara the statue, the camel statue of Glenboro, Manitoba. She's their giant mascot, their roadside landmark and their signature art piece. You'll find her less than 45 minutes south east of Brandon on Highway 2.
Roadside attractions are a town's key to getting on the map, it seems. They are everywhere!
Giant statutes or mascots began to pop up on American highways in the late 1930s. Typically built or placed by hotels and restaurants they existed to get a driver's attention with the expectation that they would stop and spend their money.
Over the years, statues got bigger and more eclectic. Anything to be the biggest or most talked about. By the 1960s they were such a common sight on the American landscape, they were as much a symbol of family road trips as the station wagon.
Canada wasn't to be left out and signature art pieces were commissioned by forward thinking towns and municipalities.
In Gimli, Manitoba the Viking statue was a product of Centennial celebrations in 1967. Designed by Gissur Eliasson, and constructed at a cost of $15,000 it was meant to recognize and honour the Icelandic heritage and settlers of the region. It was constructed by George Barone (Barone Sculptures Inc) who also notably built the white horse at Headingly and Tommy the Turtle (1974) in Boissevain.
I can't imagine all the thousands or even hundreds of thousands of photos taken with these statues every year. I know I have both Viking and Tommy the Turtle photos in my childhood album.
If you'd like to learn more or plan your own Manitoba statue road trip, start your planning at Roadsideattractions.ca