Matchstick magic: Stanmore resident passes time with matchstick creations

Ninety-year-old Orland Thuroo shows off his various displays at his home in Stanmore, Alta. on Tues. Aug. 25. ECA Review/Terri Huxley
Terri Huxley
Written by Terri Huxley

Ninety-year-old Orland Thuroo shows off his various displays at his home in Stanmore, Alta. on Tues. Aug. 25. ECA Review/Terri Huxley

What started out as a casual hobby has slowly turned into something that many have come to enjoy and know Orland Thuroo for.

The 90-year-old resides in his home in Stanmore, Alta. with a passion for constructing objects or places like some of the seven man-made wonders of the world.

Most of his work is displayed in his home that was once the local grocery/convenience store.

Overall, he has made approximately 50 different pieces, with most requiring thousands of individual matchstick pieces to create the desired end product.

Of note, Thuroo has made the Eiffel Tower from Paris, the Big Ben Tower from London, the original London Bridge, the Tajmahal in India, the CN Tower in Toronto, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and more.

The Cathedral, for example, took “one big moon” according to Thuroo to make. He has also taken to the more human side of life by gifting a Chinese Junker ship with little people on board catching fish among his other creations.

“It’s a pretty darn good pastime,” said Thuroo. “I can do it when I want to.”

This hobby all came about when his wife, Catherine, gave him his first pattern and set for Christmas after finding it in a Sears Christmas catalog.

“I give her all the credit,” he said.

From there, he started getting them once or twice a year; one for his birthday and one for Christmas. After that, it became more and more prevalent that he wanted to create further so he bought extra sets to work on throughout the year.

Thuroo is continuing to plug away on company produced sets, hoping to complete them all after finishing the final eight he has left on his list.

He has already started making his own patterns to work with as well.

“When I go to sleep, I count matchsticks instead of counting sheep,” he joked.

In total, he has used 85,573 matchstick pieces and countless hours to make all of his structures.

Thuroo is a crafty person who can always seem to make something out of nothing including a replica grain elevator that once stood in Stanmore.

In classic burgundy red, he has made it as accurate as possible by having it one half-inch to foot scale.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.


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