The most expensive, and arguably iconic, dress in the world made its Canadian public debut Monday in Saskatchewan.

The dress Marilyn Monroe wore when she sang happy birthday for John F. Kennedy was showcased July 10 in Luseland, Sask.

Jim Pattison purchased the gown in November for US$4.8 million for his Ripley’s Entertainment division, making it the most expensive dress purchased, according to Guinness World Records.

Pattison, who’s from Luseland, is the CEO of the Jim Pattison Group, Canada’s second largest privately held company.

The dress went to Luseland to pay tribute to Pattison’s hometown, Canada’s 150th birthday and the launch of Pattison’s Save-On-Foods stores opening in Saskatchewan.

Edward Meyer, vice-president of exhibits and archives at Ripley’s Entertainment, was the man who made the bid on behalf of Pattison.

“It was a very exciting seven minutes,” Meyer told CTV on Skype from Orlando, Fla.

“When the bids are going up by half a million dollars, if you pause for 30 seconds, you’re already a million back. You have to be able to act and react fast. It’s not until two or three days later it sinks in that, ‘Oh my gosh we just spent $4.8 million.’”

The gown is adorned with 6,000 hand-sewn rhinestone and 2,500 crystals.

Meyer said it’s not merely about the crystals and rhinestones that grabbed the interest of Ripley’s, but rather the historical importance of the gown.

“It’s the association with JFK. It’s the 1960s. It’s the whole big picture, not just Marilyn. It’s also her last big public event before her suicide/death,” Meyer explained.

Transporting the dress to the small Saskatchewan town was frantic and scary, according to Meyer.

The dress was surrounded by security guards in Luseland, but the dress’s case is bullet proof and has GPS tracking.

Meyer said the case alone costs more than some other Ripley’s exhibits.

Monroe’s dress will be in Saskatoon on July 14 for the opening of Save-On-Foods.

After the Prairies, the dress will be showcased in B.C. and then tour Ripley’s centres.