Calgary

Radium unveils big horn public art to welcome influx of detoured visitors

The mountain village of Radium, B.C., will be welcoming an influx of new visitors and passers-through with an enormous new public art installation.

The B.C. mountain village is making the most of a highway diversion

Radium's new piece of public art is meant to represent the 140 bighorn sheep that call the B.C. mountain village home. (Submitted by Mike Gray)

The mountain village of Radium, B.C., will be welcoming an influx of new visitors and passers-through with an enormous new public art installation.

Radium — home to about 800 human residents and 140 bighorn sheep — is situated along Highways 95 and 93. That's where traffic from the Trans-Canada Highway is being rerouted, between the Castle Junction in Alberta and Golden, B.C., as road crews work on a major highway twinning project.

The first major closure for the project, which is expected to be completed in 2024, starts Monday and continues until the beginning of June. 

Mike Gray with Tourism Radium said the village saw an opportunity to create a memorable entryway to greet the thousands of extra people who will be passing through each day. 

After drivers heading west pass through the peaks of the Rocky and Purcell Mountain ranges, they're greeted with the village's new $11.9-million roundabout — and in the centre, a 12-metre wide and six-metre-high set of steel ram horns. 

"Radium is famous for our bighorn sheep … it's absolutely a landmark piece, it's stunning, it's absolutely going to be a very noticeable part of the drive," Gray said. 

"We wanted people to know that you have arrived, you have arrived in Radium, you have arrived in British Columbia, and we're happy to have you."

The sculpture, created by Salmon Arm company Idea 64 Projects and brothers Adam, Christopher, and Joshua Meikle, will light up at night. It was officially unveiled on Wednesday.

It also has a secondary purpose, Gray said — to remind drivers to be mindful of the village's sheep population as they drive through.

The art cost $300,000, and was funded through B.C.'s Resort Municipality Initiative program and the ministry of transportation. 

With files from Dave Will

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