6 Roadside Attractions in Sunset Country to Visit on Your Next Trip

From inspiring to quirky, Sunset Country has a wide array of roadside attractions that are definitely worth a quick pitstop.

There are so many great things about Northwestern Ontario to see and experience. From dynamic scenery to mountainous rocks and rolling hills, crystal clear waters, and miles of lush green forests as far as the eye can see, there are a variety of reasons why people call Sunset Country their home away from home. Some of the best, most beautiful and diverse creations of nature are located for all to see within a few feet of the Trans Canada Highway. But if you're paying close attention, you'll notice something just a little different from your usual evergreens and igneous rock formations.

If you're a frequent visitor of the area, odds are you've driven down the expansive, single lane, number 1 highway in order to reach your destination. One of the things that most notable about Sunset Country is the variety of human made monuments; each having their own distinctive features and representing their respective towns. Most of these figures are located right on the edge of your commuting path and have become something of a waypoint for frequent travellers.

The next time your travelling through the area, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for these incredible and sometimes eccentric works that add to the uniqueness of Sunset Country.


Vermillion Bay, Ontario

Moved to Vermillion Bay in 1982 this 20 foot tall, 3 tonne statue offers a hardy grind and a friendly thumbs up to everyone travelling along Highway 17. Much like 'Bigfoot' from tales of folk lore, not much information is known about this boisterous monolith. Owner Liz and Max Lang of Vermilion Bay say that the Bigfoot was built completely by hand by a local many several decades ago. The name of the man is unknown and his whereabouts is an even greater mystery. Nonetheless, this ode to the great North American Bigfoot stands ever proudly, and occasionally dresses up for different occasions, sometimes baring Canadian Flags or winter apparel, for the entertainment of passers-by.

Vermilion Bay Sasquatch
Bigfoot in Vermillion Bay, Ontario


Max the Moose

Dryden, Ontario

Completed in the summer of 1962, Max the moose is the brain child of former Chamber of Commerce President Elwin Palmer. Max stands proudly amongst the trees and  flowers just outside the Tourism Information Centre in Dryden. He measures 18 feet tall from his hoof to the tip of his antler and is a popular resting spot for both tourists and locals. Fabricated from mesh, steel and concrete, Max is easily able to face the harsh Canadian winters and continues to stand as the official mascot for Dryden some 50 years after his construction.

Dryden Max the Moose
Max the Moose in Dryden, Ontario

Super Hero Statues

Vermilion Bay, Ontario

Located just outside the Trading Post Motel in Ignace, not a lot of information is known about the origin of the outlandish statues. They can be seen directly out of the passenger-side window while travelling West on the Trans Canada highway, and include many well known heroes from franchises such as Marvel and DC comics. Among some of my favourites are Wolverine and Spiderman and never fail to put a smile on my face whenever I pass through Ignace.

Ignace Superhero
Red Power Ranger Statue in Ignace, Ontario

Husky the Muskie

Kenora, Ontario

Located in McLeod Park on Highway 17, this impressive depiction of the classic North American Muskelunge can be seen from any point in Kenora's downtown Harbourfront. Standing 40 feet tall, Husky the Muskie was originally constructed in 1967 as part of potential Centennial project by Deluxe Signs & Displays and directed officially by the Kenora Chamber of Commerce. The Muskie that we know today was rebuild in 1995 after receiving national recognition for it's impressive size and location along the Trans Canada Highway.

Kenora Husky the Muskie
Husky the Muskie in Kenora, Ontario

Norlund Chapel

Emo, Ontario

The Norlund Chapel in Emo is recognized as one of the smallest operational churches in the world. Built by two local men in 1973, the tiny church's interior measures only 8 feet across by 10 feet tall. Despite it's small stature, Norlund still manages to functions as a house of respite which is open to the public and can accommodate 8 visitors at a time. The church's steeple was salvaged from a fire in 1971 and is complete with a 6 foot tall, solid iron cross that was build by a local blacksmith in 1935.

Emo Norlund Chapel
Norlund Chapel in Emo, Ontario

Building History: World's Largest Paddle

Atikokan, Ontario

Though not yet built, Ontario canoeist Mike Ranta has unveiled plans to construct the world's largest paddle. In late October 2014, Ranta returned home to Atikokan after setting a world record for the longest solo canoeing excursion. The venture lasted 7 month, and the distance covered by Ranta was a massive 7500 kilometre; shattering the previous world record of 3500 kilometres. Ranta had just finished putting together a mock-up, 80-inch paddle in the beginning of 2015 and plans to build a much larger, 80 foot tall paddle in Atikokan. If constructed, the massive oar will stand as timeless relic and will act as a reminder to people of all nations about the greatness and determination of Northerners and Northwestern communities.

Attractions in Atikokan, Ontario

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About Travis Heath

Travis Heath is a graduate of the Film Production Program in Thunder Bay. He worked as a Writing Intern providing content for Ontario's Sunset Country in Kenora.

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