Big Head Sculpture – Canmore, Alberta - Atlas Obscura

Big Head Sculpture

The granite head appears to be deep in thought and half buried in the ground. 


At the very entrance to the small town of Canmore, just outside Banff National Park in Alberta, there is a giant human head. Well, actually, half of it.

Alan Henderson, an artist from Alberta, was commissioned to build a sculpture for the town of Canmore and found inspiration in the town’s name. It’s named after Ceannmore on the northwest shore of Scotland, which was in turn named after King Malcolm III, who was also called Malcolm Canmore. 

In Gaelic, Ceannmore means “big head,” and that’s exactly what Henderson produced. The Big Head sculpture weighs nine tonnes and looks like he’s emerging from the ground. His eyes are closed, and he appears to be in deep contemplation.

Henderson modeled the head on a friend, and it was carved from blue granite with the help of Chinese craftsmen. The Big Head has become a symbol of the town since its installation in 2008, and the community pitches in to help it accessorize. During the winter, people dress the head in a warm cap; in the summer he prefers a pirate outfit.

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Easy to reach by car or bus from Banff. Easy to spot during walk around town centre.

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