11.9 metres high, Melo’s inuksuk beats the nearest competition,
the 2010 Olympic mascot, by almost three metres. Built from 11 pieces
of solid granite, the giant statue weighs 82 tonnes.
The arms alone—made of a single slab of granite—are
a half-metre thick and span more than 8 metres across. The statue
was assembled by crane and is held together by gravity alone, with
only the inuksuk’s feet imbedded in solid concrete.
Melo, owner of Allstone
Quarry Products near Shomberg, extracted the granite from
his quarry in Big Wood Township located about 40 minutes south of
who supplies some of the biggest chunks of rock in the province,
says he never intended to beat the world’s record. He built the
structure about five years ago and says he wasn’t aware that the
inuksuk was the world’s tallest until several marketing companies
brought the fact to his attention.
“We didn’t want to commercialize it,” says Melo. “We
built it to create an awareness of the beauty of natural stone,
promote northern Ontario granite and to honour Canada’s aboriginal
people who used these statues as a navigation aid along northern
Melo says that the granite used in the statue—granite gneiss—has
a high micah content, which imparts flexibility to the stone, allowing
him to mine large slabs that won’t crack when extracted. “We supplied
a 28-foot (8.5-metre) slab to the University of Waterloo,” says
Melo. “That slab can be flexed by up to four inches (10 centimetres)
inuksuk also has a name, but it isn’t engraved on the statue. The
nickname “Little Joe” was chosen as a gag by Melo’s employees. Melo
stands a little over 173 centimetres. “One of our engineers likes
to say that the inuksuk stands about ‘seven Joes high,’” says Melo.