Saskatoon sculptor helps craft world's tallest sandcastle in Germany

Patricia Leguen was the only Canadian on a 15-member team of artists who fashioned a sandcastle in Duisburg, Germany, last month recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's tallest.

Patricia Leguen only Canadian on team that earned Guinness World Records title

Sculptor Patricia Leguen of Saskatoon helped create this 16.7-metre-high sandcastle in Germany - the tallest sandcastle on Earth, as deemed by Guinness World Records. (Patricia Leguen)

When it was all done and glory was attained, Patricia Leguen went back to her hotel in Duisburg, Germany, and got a two-hour massage.

"That was well deserved," said the Saskatoon-based sculptor.

Leguen had been part of a 15-member team of artists who, after two weeks of muscle-taxing work, learned Aug. 31 they had broken the Guinness world record for the tallest sandcastle on Earth.

"It's a lot of shovelling and carving and longs hours we worked," said Leguen. "Eight hours every day."

16.7 metres

Leguen had been invited to take part by Dusseldorf-based organizer Benno Lindel, whose effort was sponsored by one of Germany's largest travel agencies, Schauinsland Reisen. The company's name graces the front of the sandcastle.

Leguen with the finished product. (Patricia Leguen)

Leguen was the only Canadian on the team, which was otherwise made up of sculptors from the Netherlands, Ukraine, Portugal, Hungary and Italy.

Working near a river in a former Duisburg industrial park, the team compacted 3,500 tonnes of sand into plywood forms to form the 16.7-metre-high, pyramid-like structure, which was then decorated with designs.

Beats record by 2 metres

Not only was the finished result about two metres higher than the previously highest sandcastle built on a beach in India the year before — it was esthetically superior, in Leguen's opinion.

Leguen's work on the castle was focused on the turtle-themed section seen here. (Patricia Leguen)

"The one in India was not really carved as intricately as this one," she said. "This one, there were no loose ends anywhere on the structure. It was all carved from top to bottom."

Leguen only worked on one section, at the base of the sculpture, during her eight days on the project.

"I did some architecture, I did a giant turtle that was about four metres wide and about two metres high," she said.

"And then we finished up the bottom with some turtle eggs and then we put some little turtles coming out of eggs at the very bottom."

Leguen poses with the certificate of recognition from Guinness. (Patricia Leguen)

About 180,000 curious onlookers had come by to check out the team's work by the time officials from Guinness deemed it the tallest in the world on Aug. 31.

'How is this possible?'

"The children were in awe," she said. "And a lot of people were applauding us when we were carving. They were amazed. Everybody kept asking, 'Is it special sand? How is this possible?'"

The sandcastle, after remaining on display for another month, will eventually be bulldozed.

But Leguen cherished the experience.  

"It was a great feeling to be able to carve in front of people and to show them how it's done."

About the Author

Guy Quenneville

Reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatoon

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