Man traps himself inside Edmonton’s infamous Talus Dome artwork

Click to play video: 'Man traps himself inside the Talus Dome'
Man traps himself inside the Talus Dome
A 26-year-old man got stuck inside the Talus Dome artwork along Whitemud Drive on Sunday, April 9, 2023 – Apr 10, 2023

A 26-year-old man has been arrested and is facing charges after finding himself stuck inside the infamous Talus Dome art piece in west Edmonton Sunday evening.

Fire crews responded to the call along Whitemud Drive by the Quesnell Bridge and were able to remove one of the public art structure’s silver balls to safely get the man out.

District fire chief Troy Brady said the man was climbing on the structure when he fell through one of the spaces and got stuck inside.

“Maybe just enjoy the art,” he advised.

Global News spoke with the man who fell inside the Talus Dome on Monday. Wakeem Courtorilli said he was climbing the artwork when he slipped and fell through a space between the spheres.

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“It all happened so fast,” he said. “I didn’t even know what happened.”

He said he tried to keep himself calm, but it was an anxious moment.

“It was pretty intense. It was pretty traumatic,” Courtorilli said.

Click to play video: 'Man traps himself inside Edmonton’s infamous Talus Dome artwork'
Man traps himself inside Edmonton’s infamous Talus Dome artwork

Connor Schwindt was running in the area when he realized that firefighters were trying to get someone out of the artwork colloquially known by many Edmontonians as the “Talus balls.”

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“It was an anxious moment for him, I can imagine,” said Schwindt who described the man in dome as “scurrying around.”

Schwindt took a video of the incident he came across, including a shot of the man trying to get out from the inside, that is now circling the internet.

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“It’s one of those things that it’s so strange, it’s so Edmonton … this guy is Edmonton famous now.”

The artwork is made up of nearly 1,000 hand-crafted, stainless steel spheres. The city said the polished stainless steel used for the piece is “among the highest-grade stainless steel available for architectural scaled applications.”

It took fire crews roughly 90 minutes to remove one of the steel balls and the brackets holding it in place to create a space for the man to get out.

There were no injuries, however, the man has been charged with mischief over $5,000 after police found damage to several of the balls.

Courtorilli said he doesn’t feel the charges against him are “fair” and hopes that the circumstances will be considered in court.

“I didn’t want to get myself into the situation, obviously … I was sort of, you know, trying to have some fun, climb up there, get a photo or something. But it just happened so quickly.

“Be very cautious when you’re out and about, because you never know …  situations can switch in a matter of seconds.”

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The art was installed  in 2011 when the Quesnell Bridge was expanded, as part of a city policy requiring a percentage of construction projects’ budgets to be used for public art.

— With files from Phil Heidenreich and Lisa MacGregor, Global News

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