The Pinawa Heritage Sundial

Pinawa Heritage Sundial Conceptual Design
Dial Plate

The drilling rig. I think Barrie was glad he didn't have to dig clay.
After the positions of the four piles were marked on the ground the job of drilling the holes began. The holes had to go down about 16 ft. Granite had been used as backfill in many places when the town was built and we were worried that the drilling rig might be stopped by a large boulder. Fortunately that did not happen.

One thing we did hit was water which wouldn't be unreasonable as the Winnipeg River is just in the background.

After drilling the cages were lowered into the holes using a backhoe. They were positioned and secured at the correct elevation. The concrete was then poured. As some of the holes had water in them, concrete was added until the majority of the water had been forced out.

The completed piles were 16 inches in diameter. There are two on the north-south line and two on the east-west. This photo is taken facing north.

The completed piles.

Building up the dial plate. Building up the dial plate to within 6 inches of its final elevation took almost a week and many loads of crushed limestone. Limestone was chosen as it would provide the most stable base and hopefully help prevent movement from frost. For proper compaction the base was built up in short lifts and compacted thoroughly at each stage.

This work was carried out by inmates of the Milner Ridge Correctional Centre and supervised by a local contractor, Norm Voss, who has many years of experience in construction. 

The completed base. Piles and drainage.
The completed base for the dial plate is elevated so that the final height of the finished dial plate is 18 inches above the parking lot curb. Most of it is located on the bed of an old road. This made building it up a little tricky as one corner is located on the slope of the road. However, the elevation of the final base was very accurate over its entire area.

The photo on the right shows the drainage pipes for the gnomon. There was some concern that leaving the gnomon to oxidize would result in staining of the completed dial plate from rusty water running across it. To resolve this a drainage system was set up under the gnomon. The three black pipes are joined together underground and go to a nearby ditch. Plastic weeping tile, not yet installed, is connected to these pipes, laid between the piles, and set in a bed of gravel. Any water coming off the gnomon is collected by the drainage system and taken away through the underground piping. And it really works too! This system was installed by volunteer Bill Macdonald.


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Canada Millennium Partnership Program Western Economic Diversification CanadaWinnipeg River Brokenhead Community Futures Development Corp. Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism

Local Government District of Pinawa