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Triceratops makes for dino-mite conversation piece in man’s front yard

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There isn’t much visual interest along the southern stretch of Vancouver’s Knight Street, but two houses south of East 53rd Avenue, a giant animatronic Triceratops is doing what it does best: making people smile.

That’s exactly what homeowner Andy Vu was hoping for when he installed the life-sized robotic charmer in his front yard three months ago. Vu came across the beast when he was browsing Facebook Marketplace and knew he had to have it.

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“They wanted $10,000 for it, but I got it for $3,500,” said Vu, 60, a swimming pool builder with a penchant for yard art: his backyard fence is lined in decorative shower curtains and, in the front yard, facing the Triceratops, a fake buck is posed before a large poster of a tropical sunset.

Moving the Triceratops was problematic — so much so that he’s not worried that it will get stolen.

“It weighs 600 pounds,” said Vu, who had to enlist several friends to help him out with it.

A large triceratops in the front yard of a house at 6872 Kiight St in Vancouver
A large triceratops in the front yard of a house at 6872 Kiight St in Vancouver Photo by NICK PROCAYLO /PNG

The Facebook marketplace seller, James Liu, had four animatronic dinosaurs posted, and all have sold, although, according to his daughter Minna Liu: “It took awhile.”

Liu, an entrepreneur, had ordered five animatronic dinosaurs from a manufacturer in China several years ago. One of the dinosaurs was installed in the parking lot of the family’s restaurant Marine Bay, and was later destroyed in a fire.

The other four languished in the family’s Richmond backyard, occasionally being rented out for events and once for a Hallmark movie, until her father decided to sell them.

While animatronic dinosaurs aren’t a rarity — in 2020 Able Auctions had 50 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs for sale — having one in your own front yard is relatively uncommon, and a surprisingly welcome addition to the neighbourhood.

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