The Giant Paperclip is a nickname for a piece of public sculpture (boringly titled "Gateway to the Northwest") located in Vanier park (overlooking the downtown peninsula and English Bay) in Vancouver, BC, Canada. It's a large hollow metal structure which looks like a square paperclip made of rectangular prisms. Because it is hollow, it makes glorious resounding echoing sounds when struck. (Which, take it from me, is a good way to hurt your hand. Bring a stick or something.) It's on a bit of a hill, so it makes an excellent dry spot for a picnic in the otherwise somewhat marshy park.

Created in the style of pop artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, there is a giant paperclip on the Sandvika campus of the Norwegian School of Management.

Norwegian Johann Vaaler filed a patent for the first paper clip in 1899, registering it in Germany because Norway had no patent laws of its own. In 1901 he received an American patent for his invention, even though a Massachusetts man had patented the Konaclip, with a very similar design, the year before. Vaaler dropped out of the public eye shortly thereafter, but his paper clip became extremely important to Norwegians less than 50 years later. While Norway was occupied by German forces during the Second World War, the country's residents identified each other by attaching paper clips to their clothes in a daring expression of solidarity and patriotism.

Around 1990, several Norwegians decided to honor Vaaler by erecting a monument to him. The sculpture that resulted is completely accurate and entirely functional, despite being twenty-two feet tall and weighing 1,320 pounds. Made from steel tubing, it sits on a six-ton concrete base and may be seen in the lower right-hand corner of the photograph at$file/sandvika_dag_02.jpg.


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