SHAWNIGAN LAKE -- Dale is sorting through logs, gathering materials to create a creature not unlike the mythical ones from his past.

“I [lived] out in the Shuswap,” he says. “We had the Ogopogo.”

He never saw the lake monster when he lived there, or the Cadborosaurus after moving here, but he regularly visited a mysterious character in Beacon Hill Park.

“Along a stream, a babbling brook, into the woods,” Dale says, explaining where to find her. “It’s just kind of this ghostly thing in the woods.”

You can find the Moss Lady resting her three-and-a-half-metre body amongst the ferns surrounded by sequoia trees. Dale would often tells stories about her to passing kids.

“I’d say, ‘I hear it walks around at night!’” Dale smiles. “Their eyes would go big! They’d believe you.”

And why wouldn’t they? Dale worked in the park, was the one who proposed that the moss-covered sculpture live here, and was part of the team that built her. 

“I like to do something out of the ordinary,” he explains. “That’s where it comes from.”

But then Dale did something quite ordinary — he retired.

“It was kind of scary,” Dale admits.

He suddenly had all this free time. But unlike the Moss Lady, had no desire to lie around all day.

“I wanted to build something!”

After watching the Lord of the Rings movies, Dale was inspired by the Tree Giant character.

He began with the legs made from very long logs. That set the stage for the rest of the body.

“This is going to be really big,” Dale recalls realizing.

The head alone looks bigger than him, in a video showing Dale attempting to winch it up to the creature's shoulders by himself.

Every part of the giant — from its eyebrows to its fingers — is built from large pieces of wood.

Thanks to help from friends and family the creature kept growing broader and higher. 

“It’s a go big or go home type of thing!” Dale smiles.

After six months of building big, Dale’s home features an eight-metre giant sitting in the front yard. 

He says there’s only a few little things left to complete his creature (it’s missing one ear and a few strands of its beard that was stolen by a neighbouring squirrel.)

The giant - who a young neighbour named Woody - wore a massive Santa hat last winter. During the pandemic, he’s been wearing a humongous heart on his chest that says ‘Thanks.’

Dale says that building Woody has satisfied his desire to inspire the imagination of his community.

“[I want to make things] fun and whimsical,” he says. “Anything to put a smile on somebody’s face.”

And the next time Dale gets to urge to go big with his creativity, instead of looking up to Woody’s height, he may start searching down into the depths of that infamous lake.

“I always think about doing the Ogopogo!”