1050_sparwood

Sparwood, BC: World’s Largest Truck

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The first town you reach, as you come down from Crowsnest Pass into British Columbia, is BC’s easternmost town.  But this coal-mining community has a much bigger claim to fame.

It would be impossible to visit Sparwood, and miss the World’s Largest Truck, the Terex Titan.  It’s located at the edge of the Crowsnest Highway, and right across the street from the town’s shopping mall on Aspen Drive.

The Terex Titan is, indeed, huge.  It’s 6.88 meters (22 feet, 7 inches) high, meaning it wouldn’t even come close to fitting under most highway overpasses.  It’s 20.35 meters (66 feet, 9 inches) long — about as long as a tractor-trailer.  And it’s 7.8 meters (25 feet, 7 inches) wide — meaning it would take up two Interstate lanes, with a little hanging over into the breakdown lane.  The Titan is one-of-a-kind, built as a prototype by GM Canada in 1973.  It was used for 13 years in surface mining, then restored and put on display in Sparwood.

It’s tough to get the proper perspective on this truck, just by seeing pictures.  But look closely in the photo above, at the tiny person in the lower left corner.  Yep, it would take another guy, standing on his shoulders, just to reach the top of the Titan’s tires.

Want to see what the Titan looks like, right now?  Sparwood has a webcam that focuses on the truck, 24/7.
While I hate to disappoint you, I must.  All those signs around Sparwood, bragging about the “World’s Biggest Truck” are misleading.  The Titan held the record for a quarter-century, but it has since been one-upped.  Another Terex model measures 7.9 meters high.  A few others are in the running as well — made by Komatsu, Hitachi, and Caterpillar — but the website howstuffworks.com has declared the newer Terex to be the World’s Largest.

Unlike the communities in Crowsnest Pass, Sparwood is still very dependant on coal mining.  There’s a huge above-ground mine near town, that employs several hundred of Sparwood’s residents.  You can stop by the visitor center (next to the Titan) and arrange a tour, during the summer.

Aside from the Titan, I didn’t find much to see in Sparwood.  The downtown district is located behind the shopping mall.  I drove through, but didn’t stop (you’ll be able to see it on the Drivelapse video).

Why is it called Sparwood?  Back in the late 1800’s the area’s forests were an important source for “spars” — or, ship masts.  A railroad stop was built, to allow these special logs to be loaded onto rail cars.

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