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Monday, April 6, 2015

An Easter Egg In Alberta

About an hour by car east of Edmonton, not far from the Trans Canada Highway, lies the city of Vegreville.
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It could be just an average city on the prairie, if it hadn’t been for the Ukrainian PYSANKA (Easter Egg). Even after 40 years of its existence it still attracts visitors to stop by for taking pictures.
We, of course, have been visiting the egg a couple of times earlier, though the last time was about 10 years ago.
But what better reason would there be to take another trip to the PYSANKA on Easter Sunday?
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Even though the temperature barely reached over 0C (32F), we took the 1hr. ride east of Edmonton.
With the snow gone, the prairie looked brown and forlorn, the small farms hadn’t yet generated any form of activity. Everything seemed still to be in the aftershock of winter.
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Just on the eastern outskirts of Vegreville is the ELKS Park, adorned with the gleaming Ukrainian Pysanka, the Easter Egg. It was erected to commemorate and honour the Ukrainian culture and was officially opened at the centennial of the existence of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1975.
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The considerable task of engineering was mastered by Professor Resch, a computer scientist of the University of Utah. The Pysanka is really an immense jigsaw puzzle containing 524 star patterns, 2,208 equilateral triangles, 3,512 visible facets, 6,978 nuts and bolts, and 177 internal struts.
The egg weighs in at a total of 5000 pounds with the metal skin itself being 2000 pounds heavy.

In 1978 the memorial even received a royal visit of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Pysanka in Vegreville is a world-renown tourist attraction.
The surrounding park offers a few benches which, in warmer weather, would be tempting to sit down taking in the scenery with the calm fish pond.
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However, as it was rather cold we did not go for any extended stay on the bench.
Under our previous visit 10 years ago they had a wooden alligator drifting around in the pond, which always sparked discussions around the authenticity of the creature.

Vegreville is presenting itself as the typical western town with a certain amount of growth (due to oil industry) and a historic town core with Main Street being the only area worth a visit.
Especially remarkable are three wall murals depicting the town.
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