Another life-sized Noah's Ark replica in the making?
Yes, and this time the massive structure – measuring 136 metres long, 23 metres wide and 13 metres high – is expected to rise in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, which borders the United States to the south.
The $1.2-million project is being financed by a Chinese businessman who years ago converted to Christianity from Buddhism, The Christian Post reports.
The Noah's Ark replica will be part of a Bible theme park that businessman Wenqing Sun plans to build inside a cemetery in the city of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, according to Marc L'Hoir, the manager of the cemetery named Sunset Cemetery.
L'Hoir said the Bible theme park project will actually be the second for Sun since the latter has already built a similar theme park in the city of Shenyang in northern China.
According to L'Hoir, Sun is keen to build the Bible theme park not for financial gain but to fulfil a personal calling to spread the Gospel message around the world.
L'Hoir said he and Sun expect the Bible theme park to become a "one-of-a-kind tourist attraction" that will bring people from across the world to Canada for a visit.
"You know how many people go to Vatican City? How many people go to Jerusalem to the Wailing Wall? So once the word gets out and we start marketing it, I think it'll be a real tourist attraction for Moose Jaw," he said, as reported by CBC News.
"Plus it's going to enhance the cemetery," L'Hoir said. "Hopefully people want to be buried there."
Mike Wirges, the Moose Jaw administrator, said the biblical project will not be a theme park in the conventional sense, pointing out that there will be no rollercoasters or anything like that. "It's just a passive park that people would essentially walk through," he said.
Several life-sized Noah's Ark replicas have already been built recently. One such project was The Ark of Noah, built by Dutch carpenter Johan Huibers. It is a huge structure with a capacity to hold up to 5,000 people at a time.
The Ark was supposed to make a cross-Atlantic journey to the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil, but the plans did not push through due to economic and political reasons plus the threat of the Zika virus.
An even bigger project dubbed "The Ark Encounter," by Creation Museum CEO and President Ken Ham, opened its gate to the public on July 7 in Kentucky.
During the project's inauguration, Ham told The Christian Post that building the Ark is his way of conveying the message that "in a world that is becoming increasingly secularised and biased, it's time for Christians to do something of this size and this magnitude."
He said the Ark stands as a reminder to "the coming generations of the truth of God's Word."