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Monster-sized menorah installed in city plaza

Joe Da Silva of Ebco Industries Ltd. at Richmond Cultural Centre plaza Wednesday, the site of a giant menorah installation. - Matthew Hoekstra photo
Joe Da Silva of Ebco Industries Ltd. at Richmond Cultural Centre plaza Wednesday, the site of a giant menorah installation.
— image credit: Matthew Hoekstra photo

It took five hours to properly position 5,000 pounds on a 50,000 pound base.

A 7.6-metre (25-feet) steel menorah now stands in the Richmond Cultural Centre plaza, welcoming visitors to Richmond Museum's new exhibition, Highway to Heaven.

The late Arthur Erickson, a renowned Vancouver architect, designed the sculpture—a symbol of Hanukkah—and Ebco Industries built it 24 years ago. It was created as a donation for a synagogue that was never built, and has been in storage for most of its life.

"It looks spectacular in its white and the simplicity of Arthur Erickson's design," said Joe Da Silva, Ebco's director of corporate communications.

Built of tubular steel, the menorah weighs 2,270 kilograms (5,000 pounds) and is secured in the plaza by steel base 10 times the sculpture's weight.

Both were loaded onto trucks at Ebco's Alderbridge Way site Monday at 10 p.m. in preparation for the move to Minoru Park. Crews finished the installation 3 a.m. Tuesday, while finishing touches were still being performed Wednesday afternoon.

Da Silva said the sculpture has been briefly installed twice before in a No. 3 Road parking lot. The first symbolic lighting of the Jewish nine-branched lamp stand came in 1988, courtesy of then premier Bill Vander Zalm. In 1991, premier Mike Harcourt handled the lighting honours.

On Saturday it will be lit once again during a public reception for the exhibition's opening, beginning at 6 p.m. Subsequent lightings will take place each day of Hanukkah, which begins Dec. 8 and ends Dec. 16.

Over 30 faith-based groups shared stories about their place of worship and history for Highway to Heaven. Many groups are located on No. 5 Road, from which the exhibition gets its name.

Ebco, a longtime Richmond company co-founded by Helmut and Hugo Eppich, is co-sponsoring the exhibition, which also includes a steel 15-metre (50-foot) highway sculpture designed by Da Silva and made by Ebco.

The menorah is expected to be on display for a month, while the museum's exhibition runs until July 2013

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