CBC Digital Archives

Leamington's top tomato

A giant hockey stick. A big nickel. An historic covered bridge. A history-changing oil well. People pass by these attractions all the time on their travels throughout Canada. Sometimes, tourists trek for days to just to catch a glimpse. Some attractions are monumental, others merely quirky. They are all the stuff of local legend. CBC Digital Archives goes province to province to admire the big things in our big country.

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Finding a way to commemorate the town's heritage was a simple proposition for the people of Leamington, Ont. in 1961. The self-proclaimed "tomato capital of Canada" built a tomato-shaped information booth. In 1986, as we see in this CBC-TV clip, the booth's 25th birthday is celebrated with balloons, song, and a toast with a can of tomato juice from the local Heinz plant. As one man states, this is no ordinary tomato juice: it's Leamington champagne.
• The Tomato Information Booth is 4.3 metres (14 feet) high and 6.1 metres (20 feet) wide. It's made from a wooden form covered by metal lathing, cement, plaster, fibreglass and resin.

• It took three weeks to build the booth. The red colouring was added to the fibreglass during construction and the completed structure was then also painted red.

• Leamington has the highest concentration of greenhouses in North America, according to the "Big Things: Monuments of Canada" website.

Ontario is home to hundreds of large roadside attractions. They include:
• Birchbark Sign in Algonquin Park
• Spirit Catcher in Barrie
• World's Largest Snowman in Beardmore
• Northern Ontario Logging Memorial in Blind River
• Buckhorn Buck in Buckhorn
• Chimo the Polar Bear in Cochrane
Big Apple in Colborne
• Loonie in Echo Bay
• Two-Man Crosscut Saw in Hearst
Husky the Muskie in Kenora
• Miners Memorial, Kirkland Lake
• Big Joe Muffraw in Mattawa
• Voyageur in Mattice
• Floral Clock in Niagara Falls
• Mammoth Cheese in Perth
• The Wall (World's Largest Photo Mosaic) in Port Carling
• Moose Cow and Calf in Sault Ste. Marie
Jumbo the Elephant in St. Thomas
The Big Nickel in Sudbury
• Mosquito Carrying a Man in Upsala
• Canada Goose in Wawa
• Thermometer in White River
• Wiarton Willie (groundhog) in Wiarton
• King and Queen sculptures in Windsor
• Springbank Snow Countess (cow) in Woodstock

Medium: Television
Program: Newshour
Broadcast Date: Nov. 1, 1986
Reporter: Brian Worrall
Duration: 1:35

Last updated: June 30, 2014

Page consulted on November 3, 2014

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