A new roadside attraction in Manitoba pays a silent, easygoing tribute to the Wavers of Brokenhead.

A giant red and white wooden chair sits just off Highway 59, near the community of Scanterbury on the Brokenhead Ojibwa Reserve.

The spot marks the site where brothers Nelson and James Starr stood or sat in lawnchairs on the side of the road, waving at people passing by, for more than 20 years.


A plaque on a giant chair, erected on Highway 59, explains the tribute to Nelson and James Starr. (Tiar Wilson/CBC)

The brothers became so well known for their simple, understated gesture, that many cottage-goers heading to beaches on the east side of Lake Winnipeg stopped to say hello, honked their horns and even referred to the community as Wavers, rather than Scanterbury.

National media outlets featured the brothers in stories and a store-gas station, named Wavers, now stands just across the highway from where the Starrs sat.

However, the ditch has been empty and overgrown for years. Nelson died in 2007 and James is in a nursing home.

To honour them and the joy they brought to passersby, Scanterbury resident John Bear built the oversized chair.

"I thought, you know, they don't have a voice to speak out for them anymore and give them a hand to carry on this legacy, so that's what really inspired me," he said.

Bear said the creation has quickly become an attraction.

"I'd say there's tonnes and tonnes of people stop by and take pictures of themselves and their kids. Pretty well everybody that do stop, they do remember the Wavers of Brokenhead and that's pretty awesome," he said.

Scanterbury is located 60 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, at the southern edge of Lake Winnipeg.

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