Sunday, November 27, 2022
Home Covid-19 The story behind B.C.’s iconic 3D Challenger Map, and the plan to...

The story behind B.C.’s iconic 3D Challenger Map, and the plan to restore it

A portion of the Challenger Relief Map is back at the BC Sports Hall of Fame more than 30 years after being displayed at the hall’s original location at the Pacific National Exhibition.

“To this day, we’re still getting visitors coming in, maybe half a dozen every month, asking us what happened to the map or is the big map still here,” Jason Beck, curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame, told Global BC’s This is BC.

The portion on display is only a tiny fraction — just four per cent — of the massive map.

When fully assembled, it covers nearly 565 square metres. The three-dimensional map took George Challenger seven years to build, from 1945 to 1952.

Read more:

PNE returns for 2021 with stripped-down fair amid COVID-19 pandemic

Story continues below advertisement

The product was his legacy gift so that all British Columbians could learn more about the place they call home.

“He was hoping that they would understand the beauty and magnificence of the province and go out and explore it,” grandson Bill Challenger said.

It was a painstaking effort for Challenger to ensure the map’s detail and accuracy. With the help of family members, he made it in the basement of his house, which led to him to using a saw on more than just the map.

Click to play video: 'This is BC: Diving into Fairmont Hot Springs’ man’s unusual hobby'

This is BC: Diving into Fairmont Hot Springs’ man’s unusual hobby

This is BC: Diving into Fairmont Hot Springs’ man’s unusual hobby – Oct 17, 2021

“He cut a hole in the dining room floor so he could project through the floor down onto his work table in the basement,” Bill explained, laughing.

“My grandmother was probably not too pleased with that.”

Story continues below advertisement

Over the years, the map has been used by forest and mining companies to plan roads and highways, and for security detail at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

But most of it is still sitting in storage in an Air Canada hangar at the Vancouver International Airport.

Read more:

Online map highlights B.C.’s diverse Indigenous communities

“I think that it’s extremely important to get it back on display,” Bill said.

The Challenger Relief Map Foundation is raising money to restore the iconic work and once again turn it into the ultimate educational tool — this time, hopefully enhanced with modern technology.

“Using light to show to illuminate First Nations territories,” Bill said, “(or) using lasers where you might be able to ask the kiosk, ‘Show me the route to the Cariboo Gold Rush.’”

It would be a revamped version that George Challenger could never have envisioned.

Everyone is optimistic that the Challenger Map will find a permanent home at the PNE within the next couple of years.

To contact Jay Durant with a story idea for This is BC, email him details and contact information at

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Most Popular

The world’s largest T. rex, held in Regina, may have relatives 70 per cent bigger

For many years now, Saskatchewan has been the proud home of the world’s largest Tyrannosaurus rex. Nicknamed Scotty, this once huge animal used to roam...

FIFA World Cup: Serbia charged for hanging political banner in locker room

By Staff The Associated Press Posted November 26, 2022 1:54 pm Descrease article font size Increase article font size

Protesters clash at ‘Story Telling With Drag Queens’ event in Vancouver

It was a confrontational scene in Kitsilano Friday. Video submitted to Global News shows protesters and counter-protesters coming face-to-face at a “Story Telling with...

B.C. COVID cases in critical care jump while number in hospital holds flat

The number of COVID-19 cases in critical care in B.C. hospitals jumped by more than 40 per cent this week, while cases in hospital...