The Okanagan’s newest celebrity has arrived, and at 35 feet tall and 12,000 pounds, she's a force to be reckoned with.
A long-awaited colossal T-Rex statue, commissioned by a private landowner from metalwork artist Kevin Stone, was installed Tuesday evening In Penticton, above the KVR Trail below Munson Mountain.
The statue, lovingly nicknamed "Alice" by her creator Stone, took more than two years to design and build, made of mirror-polished metal and featuring intricate details. It was originally estimated to be 17,000 pounds but Stone said Wednesday that it ended up being around 12,000 pounds, and 50 feet long.
Stone, who is based in the Lower Mainland, had to chop Alice up into pieces and strap her to truck beds for the final journey on the highways Tuesday to her new home.
"It started off a very stressful day," Stone said with a laugh.
"The first piece was the biggest and hardest piece to move, the hips and legs, and the shipping bays had to be flipped over backwards so it could go on the truck and be low enough to go under underpasses. A very awkward piece too, for the crane to be able to safely flip it over and not lose control or have any damage or anything. So that took a couple of hours longer than we expected to load out in the morning."
They arrived in Penticton around 3 p.m., and took a further five hours assembling the giant art piece on its concrete pad overlooking Okanagan Lake.
The statue was commissioned by Frank Schilling, a Canadian internet investor, who told Castanet at the outset that he has always loved dinosaurs, and wanted to place the statue in a prominent place on his private property so that others in the city could enjoy it.
As for the nickname Alice, Stone said that came from him, and Schilling decided to go with it.
"When I was a kid, I used to watch Land of the Lost, an early 70s show that had this family getting lost back in time. And one of the big mean, T-Rexes that was in that series was called Alice and I've always remembered that name," Stone said.
"So Frank reached out to me and he said, 'You know, that's a her not a him,' And I'm like, 'Okay, Frank. It's a her.' And then Alice just stuck ever since."
Stone has headed home to the Lower Mainland now, but said the outpouring of interest and excitement from the community has been incredible.
"Thank you for all the really nice comments and everything and the support that [the community has] given for this piece to come to Penticton. So it's really great," Stone said.
"And it's fantastic for [my wife] Michelle and I to have a large piece here in Penticton."
Currently, Alice is visible from the KVR Trail below Munson Mountain, and from the lake. There is no public access to the private property on which Alice is housed at this time.