Home of the "World's Biggest Piggy Bank" Which Really Isn't

Home of the "World's Biggest Piggy Bank" Which Really Isn't

A Journey into Coleman, Alberta

We first read of "The Wolrd's Biggest Piggy Bank" in Peter Unwin's wonderful Hard Surface: In Search of the Canadian Road (2009, Key Porter).

We were prompted to write this post because we wondered just why would one want to create a roadside attraction establishing your community as home of the "world's biggest piggy bank" ?

Turns out that the story is interesting though not nearly what I had anticipated.

Coleman is a Rocky Mountain community in southwest Alberta just across the border from B.C.. . It was formerly incorporated as a town prior to 1979 when it amalgamated with four other municipalities to form Crowsnest Pass.

Coleman is a mining town. Its origins date back to 1903 with the opening of a new coal mine operated by the International Coal and Coke Company. By 1908 it was the biggest town in the area. At its height it even boasted an opera house - a building that stood until 1948 when it was destroyed by fire.

Eventually the mines closed, but it was in Coleman's mining heritage that the story of the "piggy bank" begins.

In fact, there is a structure touted as a piggy bank. But it does not look like a "piggy" because it is, in fact, a mining train engine - a 36-inch (910 mm) gauge air driven thermos bottle mine locomotive.

Built in the early 20th century, it toiled in the local mines until 1950. These days it’s used to collect donations for the local Lions Club.

Piggy ears and a curly-q tail have been added to the locomotive to make it "qualify" as a "piggy" bank. There is also a slot on top that allows you to put some money in.

So, while the public roadside "bank" in Coleman may be a piggy bank if one is elastic in defining a piggy bank, it is beyond dispute that there are larger similar "banks" elsewhere.

According to the folks at Guinness World Records, the largest piggy bank is 8.03 m (26 ft 4.3 in) long and 5.58 m (18 ft 3.7 in) tall and was achieved by Kreissparkasse Ludwigsburg (Germany), in Ludwigsburg, Germany, on 18 May 2015.

The piggy bank also had a circumference of 17.87 m (58 ft 7.5 in) and was 5.54 m (18 ft 2 in) wide. Money was inserted into the piggy bank using a small crane, carrying each coin to the slot one by one after inserting it into a smaller piggy bank at the bottom of the crane.

Back in Coleman, some have turned to referring their structure as the “Biggest Emptiest Piggy Bank in the World".

No matter if a title-holder or not, it is still an interesting stop if you are in this neck of the woods.

Home of the "World's Biggest Piggy Bank" Which Really Isn't