'Largest Maple Leaf' now world famous with Guinness record

Jai, 4, Radha, 8, and Arzoo, 13, in their Richmond home with the family’s record-setting maple leaf.  - Matthew Hoekstra
Jai, 4, Radha, 8, and Arzoo, 13, in their Richmond home with the family’s record-setting maple leaf.
— image credit: Matthew Hoekstra

Hugh McRoberts classmates delivered the news to Arzoo Tanwar last week. Her family, well, it was famous.

Her Grade 8 chums made the discovery while leafing through a fresh copy of Guinness World Records 2014. Inside is the Richmond family and its record-breaking icon of Canada: a maple leaf broad enough to be named largest in the world.

The family of five officially set the record in 2010 after enduring a rigorous verification process that included the support of Richmond East MLA Linda Reid. Once the certificate arrived from the Guinness organization, it found a home below the framed maple leaf in the Tanwar family room.

The “Largest Maple Leaf” record first appeared on the Guinness website but, until now, never in the famed hardcover book. Mom Ekta Tanwar said with so many records being set, the family figured the foliage feat wasn’t destined for print.

“We were just happy when we got the certificate,” she said. “It was quite a fun thing for us and our kids.”

Learning last Friday the landmark leaf made it to print proved good timing.

Just hours after daughter Arzoo told her family, another maple leaf made the six o’clock news. A Victoria woman was claiming to have found one bigger.

Not so, as it turns out. The Tanwar leaf is 53 centimetres (20.86 inches) wide and 52.2 centimetres (20.55 inches) long. The stem itself measures 32.5 centimetres (12.79 inches)—a measurement the Victoria woman included in her length calculation.

Plenty of other would-be record breakers have surfaced since the Tanwar family’s feat. But so far, none have measured up—or gone through the required rigorous review.

Yet it was another claim of maple leaf mastery that originally prompted the Tanwar family to pursue the world record.

Vikas had found the leaf near Spanish Banks in Vancouver in 2009. After reading a newspaper story about a boy’s claim of having the largest leaf, the landscape designer pulled out a ruler. The Tanwar family leaf was much larger, putting the official Guinness record in sight.

Will the record ever be broken?

“Well of course. Records are made to be broken. But it is not us that decides that,” said Ekta.

“I’m sure there must be some leaf out there bigger than this, but the question is, has it been found?”

The record is one of two Guinness records set in Richmond. The other, “Most people in a nursery rhyme singing relay,” was achieved just last summer at the Richmond Maritime Festival.

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