marc bence/for metro edmonton


Fort Edmonton Park interpreters George Tameling, left, and William Chin were some of the first to ride an authentic 1940s ‘Big Eli’ Model 5 Ferris wheel yesterday during the ride’s official opening at Fort Edmonton Park.


Dozens of kids at Fort Edmonton Park were the first ones to ride a 60-plus-year-old Ferris wheel that has now been reborn after months of refurbishing.

The 12-seater original ride built in the 1940s by the Eli Bridge Company is the latest addition of the park’s authentic midway, and many kids cheered spinning up and down during a ride on board the Ferris wheel yesterday.

“It’s a very fun ride and it seems to go very, very fast,” said 10-year-old Jonathan Davis. “I liked it a lot and it does make a lot of noise.”

Riders who step aboard the Big Eli Model 5 Ferris wheel can be whisked up to 44 feet to see just about all four corners of the park.

“It’s a lot faster than some of the other Ferris wheels that I’ve been on and that’s pretty surprising,” said 15-year-old rider Jesse Tucker.

“I’ve been on a lot of rides and this one is pretty cool.”

The vintage ride, one of the oldest working Ferris wheels in the country, stands at 44-feet and was purchased by the Fort Edmonton Foundation in May 2006 for $40,000 from Conklin & Garrett Shows.

Fort Edmonton Park staff have spent countless hours in maintenance shops and on the midway to refurbish the ride before safety inspections by city and provincial officials.