The Viking Float Project


This Canada Day, which happened to be Canada’s 150th birthday, was pretty incredible for me. I had the chance to build what was easily the most epic piece of public art I’ve been involved with yet. With support from the RM of Gimli, the Gimli Canada150 Committee and the Federal Government I think what we came up with was quite impressive.

The project began with a brainstorming session with the Gimli High School. We came up with several concepts and put a vote out to the people of Gimli to see what the public wanted to see. We ended up combining our three most popular ideas;  a viking ship, a viking and the Gimli Laker(Gimli High School’s mascot).

The next step was collecting the plastic bottles that would float the sculpture. Since the lake is such a large canvas to work with, I knew we’d need 10’s of thousands of bottles. We put out a call to the committee and started collecting the bottles at the school.

We started with a test float of bottles to see how they worked in the water. What we ended up finally building was a 24′ long float which completely floated on these recycled bottles. We really wanted the design to be impactful so we then created a 24′ tall sculpture made of solar powered LED lights and animated them Wow!

On Canada Day the float led a parade of sailboats and ships from the harbour onto Lake Winnipeg during the fireworks celebration!

Super big thank you’s must now go out to : Leona Johnson and Tammy Axelsson from the Gimli 150 Committee, Alex Kristiansen from the RM, Kristine Dubois and her students and all those helpful guys at the outdoor garage from the Gimli high school, Alicia Sylvester for the help with construction and coffee delivery, Charlie from the Yacht Club, Neal from the Marina, Chad from Flatlands, Leif Norman, Michael Koch-Schulte who was the electronic’s guru on this project, Rick Brown for consulting on such a crazy idea, Rod Clutterbuck, Michael Plischke, Chris Pancoe, Jaxon Haldane at RaySolar, Mike and Gary at Cascades, Andy Blicq for some great photos, Cindy Blicq at the Harbor Master’s, and last but not least Dr. Cary Chapnick for the incredible help with just about everything right from the construction, delivery, design, and even guiding the ship out into the lake. And thanks Gimli! What a project! Check out some of the photos and videos below

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