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Mammoth move: Life-sized animal travels through downtown Edmonton

Click to play video: 'Life-sized mammoth moves through downtown Edmonton' Life-sized mammoth moves through downtown Edmonton
WATCH ABOVE: Ren, the life-sized woolly mammoth lantern sculpture from CO*LAB, made a journey through downtown Edmonton to the Royal Alberta Museum on Monday morning – May 16, 2022

Did you see a woolly mammoth rolling around downtown Edmonton on Monday morning? No, your eyes were not playing tricks on you. It actually happened.

Arts of the Ave took part in a mammoth journey Monday, transporting a giant life-sized lantern sculpture from CO*LAB on 102 Avenue to the Royal Alberta Museum on 103A Avenue.

Ren, the wooly mammoth sculpture, was originally built for the Arts on the Ave Deep Freeze Byzantine Winter Festival, which ran in Borden Park in January.

The idea of building a life-sized woolly mammoth was inspired by the festival’s theme, “Under the Ancient Arctic Sky.”

“He’s a full-sized mammoth but he does light up. His tusks are rainbows, his eyes light up and his whole body emits and nice warm glow,” said lantern artist Gabrielle “Gabs” Degouw.

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Read more: Breathe exhibit at RAM relays pandemic experience through Indigenous art

The mammoth took about a month and a half for Degouw to complete, including about two weeks of design work.

“I’ve never worked with a wooden structure before and inside Ren is a wooden frame. So it was a whole new thing that I had to learn,” she said. “And then I put the 12-gauge wire frame on him, covered him in ‘skin’ and made him nice and furry. So the actual build took a month.”

Now, Ren is on the move to his new home at the Royal Alberta Museum, where he will be set up in the lobby to greet guests.

Read more: Edmonton’s Royal Alberta Museum reopens with new exhibits

To say the move caught the eyes of passersby might be an understatement.

Degouw left the lab on 102 Avenue shortly after 10:30 a.m. and made her way down the bike lanes to 96 Street, where she turned north before heading back down 103A Avenue to the museum.

The animal was on wheels, which helped her and her crew navigate the bike lanes. This is the second time they’ve transported the animal — the first time Ren was on skis because it was done in the winter.

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“I was getting videos for weeks after we moved on skis from friends of friends of friends, sending me videos of people going: ‘What the heck is that?!’ and we did get stopped by the police,” Degouw said with a laugh.

The mammoth made its to the RAM safely on Monday.

Degouw’s next creation will be Bryson the Bison, who she hopes to build on wheels to take around the city this summer to locations like the funicular and on the LRT system.

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Ren the life-sized woolly mammoth lantern sculpture made a journey through downtown Edmonton Monday, May 16, 2022. Global News
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Ren the life-sized woolly mammoth lantern sculpture made a journey through downtown Edmonton Monday, May 16, 2022. Global News
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Ren the life-sized woolly mammoth lantern sculpture made a journey through downtown Edmonton Monday, May 16, 2022. Global News
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Ren the life-sized woolly mammoth lantern sculpture made a journey through downtown Edmonton Monday, May 16, 2022. Global News
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Ren the life-sized woolly mammoth lantern sculpture made a journey through downtown Edmonton Monday, May 16, 2022. Global News

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