Be on the lookout for a four-metre-tall grizzly bear roaming the streets of Penticton.
But don’t fret: the lifelike bear and her two cubs – which will ride on their mother’s back – are made of aluminum, Styrofoam and a few other materials by local artist Jerry Houghton.
“I would say (it weighs) 1,500 pounds,” Houghton guessed.
From nose to tail, the mother bear measures six metres.
The sculpture began as a small tabletop model, which Houghton explained he measures with a caliper and then multiplies the dimensions by a specific number.
“I’ve been working on it, actual work time, for about three months,” said Houghton, adding a summer-time injury prevented him from finishing it sooner.
Houghton said he built the mother bear in two pieces in order for it to remain in his garage. He then loaded the bottom half on a provided trailer, connected the top half and finished the work entirely outdoors.
“This is, in all the research I’ve done, the largest grizzly bear sculpture in all of North America, if not the world,” said Houghton.
Houghton used a mortar mix, which he tinted himself, to “paint” the grizzly bear. Finer details, such as the face, he painted by hand.
While an exciting challenge, Houghton said he created a four-metre bear sculpture in the past. A windstorm ultimately destroyed the piece.
He also created a 11 metre dragon for a water park in Kelowna.
The location of where the sculpture will end up will, for now, remain a secret, Houghton explained the commissioner is surprising his local community up north with it.
Houghton hopes to have the bear on the road this weekend, with the plan to drive it up to his client.
Houghton also created a metal Bengal tiger sculpture, which was installed late last year in the JAMM Properties office above the downtown Starbucks on Main Street in Penticton.