Manitoba

Big banana ups Manitoba town's 'a-peel'

The town of Melita, Man., is preparing to peel back the curtain on Canada's newest oversized roadside attraction.
The big banana represents Melita's location in southwestern Manitoba's so-called Banana Belt. ((Melita and Area Tourism Committee))

The town of Melita, Man., is preparing to peel back the curtain on Canada's newest oversized roadside attraction.

On Aug. 7, the community will unveil a nine-metre-tall banana holding a blue jay in its hand and wearing a championship wrestling-style belt.

The giant yellow fruit represents Melita's location in southwestern Manitoba's so-called Banana Belt, so named because of the comparatively moderate weather.

The blue jay symbolizes Melita's status as a key site for bird conservation in the province.

Melita will henceforth not only be known as the grasslands birds capital of Manitoba, "it is also a town with a-peel," the Melita and area tourism website states.

The root of the banana idea goes back to 2007, when the tourism committee began brainstorming new ideas to bring people to the area, 33 kilometres north of the United States border and 37 kilometres east of the Saskatchewan border.

The nine-metre-tall belt-wearing fruit will stand at the corner of Front Street and Highway 83. ((Google Street View))

Calgary-based custom manufacturing company Heavy Industries was contracted for the job, which entailed a foam-and-steel construction.

The whole thing was then coated with a weatherproof exterior.

The big banana is being loaded onto a flatbed truck Tuesday and will be installed at its permanent site in Melita later this week.

The unveiling, coinciding with Melita's annual Banana Days festival, will happen at noon Saturday at the grassy corner of Front Street and Highway 83.

Free banana splits will be given out to all those attending.