SLIDE SHOW: Photos by Boaz Joseph / The Leader
Members of the Vancouver Lego Club used one million plastic bricks to portray 20 millennia of Fraser Valley history in their latest imagination-filled extravaganza at the Surrey Museum.
Six, minutely-detailed dioramas form Lego: A Fraser Valley Odyssey, which opened June 2 and is on display to Sept. 19, telling the story of the Fraser Valley’s prehistoric past, bustling present and post-dystopic future.
The club was able to exercise plenty of creative license in bringing Surrey’s natural history to life, which is why wooly mammoths and penguins roam receding ice fields in Cloverdale, and a now-shuttered Clova Cinema (which dimmed the lights in 2014) is showing the latest Lego movie.
“It’s not all historically accurate,” admits Greg Yellenik, curator of exhibitions at the Surrey Museum. “There’s a lot of imagination. The creative juices were flowing.”
There’s serious stuff, too. Ripe red cranberry fields surround 1858 Fort Langley, and pre-contact shelters used by First Nations along the Fraser River are as historically accurate as the building medium will allow.
The exhibit has been two years in the making. Consider the stats for the diorama depicting Sept. 3, 2083: eight builders worked 2,000 hours using 75,000 Lego pieces.
All told, the exhibit consists of about 1 million pieces. “They think it’s more than that,” he says.
“It’s thousands of hours. But a lot of it isn’t specifically done for this exhibit.”
Thirty members of the Vancouver Lego Club played a part in building the exhibit, sometimes re-purposing already-existing structures.
A member who specializes in building accurate models of real buildings, for instance, built a Lego version of the Surrey Museum – complete with a mini-fig Mountie on guard – along with The Clova, and Surrey Memorial Hospital, which are part of the contemporary Surrey diorama.
The exhibit required flights of fancy, too.
Fifty years into the future, oceans rise over suburban rooftops, thanks to global warming. Denizens grow veggies on what’s left of the Port Mann bridge, Waterworld-style, even as Expo ’86’s infamous McBarge floats sedately nearby.
The genius is in the details. Be sure to look for the time travellers (or their wheels) hidden among the action: Mad Max’s Interceptor (“The last of the V-8s”), TV Time Lord Dr. Who’s blue telephone box, and the DeLorean Marty McFly borrowed from Doc Brown in Back to the Future.
There’s a time traveller in every scene, says Yellenik.
The Surrey Museum is located at 17710-56A Avenue. It’s open Tuesdays to Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is sponsored by the Friends of the Surrey Museum Society. For more information, call 604-592-6956 or visit www.surrey.ca/AH