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World’s Largest Collection of Santa Claus Memorabilia

Canadian Jean Guy Laquerre , a 74-year-old former geography teacher, is the proud owner of the World’s Largest Collection of Santa Claus Memorabilia.

Laquerre became addicted to Santa Claus memorabilia after his aunt gifted him with a beautiful 20th century papier-mache Santa Claus figure, over two decades ago. “It awakened the child in me” he says, but his fascination for Santa soon turned into an uncontrollable obsession. This “Santaphilia”, as he calls it, started back in 1988, and in the next 22 years he managed to put together an impressive collection numbering 25,139 items.

Laquerre confesses it is hard for him to restrain from buying more Santa stuff, “I can’t stop myself entirely, but I do restrain my urges. I surprise myself when I go into a store and I don’t buy any new ones…it’s because I just don’t have any more room for more figurines.” They are everywhere…and in every form imaginable, from jolly-dancing Santas to table-cloths, cushions, blankets, albums, and even a toilet-seat cover.

Although his name was listed in the Guinness Book of records in 2009, he broke the record in 2004 with this impressive collection.  “A Texas woman held the record for 30 years.  She had 1,039 items. It was time that I came along and broke the record.”

It is clear that he is very fond not only of his entire collection, but of every piece in particular as he is very meticulous in arranging and classifying them, every year. He is very hopeful that one day this will all be displayed in a museum, although his home on Christmas can already be perceived as a private Santa Claus museum.

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The Sign Post Forest of Watson Lake

Featuring tens of thousands of sign posts from all around the world, the Sign Post Forest of Watson Lake is one of the most popular roadside attractions along the Alaska Highway.

Located in Watson Lake, one of the newest towns of the Yukon, Sign Post Forest takes up a couple of acres, and features all kinds of signs, from street signs to license plates, and even huge road panels. This unique tourist attraction was born in 1942, when Private Carl K. Lindley was asked to repair a signpost damaged by a bulldozer. He decided to personalize the job by adding a new sign with the distance to his home town of Danville, Illinois.

Several soldiers followed his example and the tradition of adding signs was born. And it became more and more popular every year, with people bringing in different signs, from every place they traveled. In 1990, sign post number 10,000 was nailed in, and the count in 2008 had reached 65, 164 signs. With between 2,500 and 4,000 signs being added every year, the count has almost certainly passed the 70,000 mark.

Many of the signs nailed onto the signposts of Sign Post Forest have been especially created for this place, but there are a large number of original signs “borrowed” and brought all the way to the Yukon. The size of some of the signs – a 6-by-10-foot road panel from the German Autobahn, for example – makes you wonder how on Earth someone managed to bring them to the Sign Post Forest.

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Osoyoos – Canada’s Spotted Lake

Praised, from times immemorial, as a healing lake, Osoyoos has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Canada, because of its spotted look.

Located in the Oskogan Valley, British Columbia, Osoyoos is one of the most mineral-rich bodies of water on Earth, featuring mostly sulfates of magnesium, calcium and sodium. During the summer, as the lake’s water evaporates, it leaves behind the minerals, which take the shape of pools. Each natural pool has a different color, depending on the type and concentration of the minerals, making Osoyoos a unique sight to behold.

Ever since ancient times, the Indians of the Oskogan Valley have considered the Spotted Lake a holy place that cured their every illness. Whether they were suffering from sprains, infections, skin diseases or body aches, they would get better by immersing their bodies in the lakes waters. Even during times of war, tribes would ask for truce, so warriors could come to Osoyoos Lake and heal their wounds.

During World War I, minerals from the Spotted Lake were used to make ammunition, in the factories built in the area. For generations, Osoyoos was the property of the Earnest Smith family, who wanted t build a healing spa, on the lake. But constant pressure from the Indian natives kept this from ever happening, and eventually convinced the Smiths to sell the lake back to the Indians.

An impressive sight, the Spotted Lake is of limits to tourists, for fear they might damage the pools. But you can still enjoy a great view of it, from behind the iron fence that surrounds Osoyoos.

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