Ice Ice Crazy - Canada's ice festivals (2007)

By Allison Gagnon   Trail Canada

Where do you have to go to see crystallized swans, Vikings, dragons, a giant elephant, and even King Kong grasping an airplane all in one day? If you guessed the movies, the zoo or an amusement park - you’re not even close.

Welcome to Canada, land of the free and land of the cold, which means anything in your wildest imagination is possible. In a country where ice and snow play a huge part in our heritage and identity, we in return, learn from a young age how to play with the ice and snow that blankets our backyards for almost half the year. The season that turns our reality into a winter wonderland reminds us the importance of playfulness and creativity.

Once the snow has fallen and the air has become crisp, hundreds of talented people meet all over the country and invent a world unlike no other.

Professional at playing with snow and ice, they leave us in a realm in between worlds surrounded by impressive ice masterpieces. Ice festivals, carnivals and competitions amaze spectators by these fantastical creations that gleam with magnificence.

The catch, of course, for all this crystal clear beauty is that it remains only temporary - a seasonal gift that Mother Nature is grateful enough to give us annually. Be sure to witness the fairy tale of winter that the remarkable sculptors bring to life.

Ice Palace Hotel: Duchesnay, Quebec

January 5- April 1, 2007

For the ultimate ice experience, bring your overnight bag and plan to stay the night at Canada’s award winning Ice Palace Hotel. Made solely using 15,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice, this enchanted castle will astonish any visitor. An architectural masterpiece, the Palace is facilitated with the famous ABSOLUT Ice Bar, a stunning ice chapel for the perfect dream wedding, the fabulous N’Ice Club reception room, two art galleries and a massive lobby fitted with a unique crystallized ice chandelier. Explore this spectacular kingdom of ice and become enthralled in its fine detail and original features that make this experience essential for any visit to Quebec.

3rd Annual High on Ice Carnival: Fort St. John BC

January 12-14, 2007

Open to professional and amateur participants, this event is sure to be fun for the whole family. Watch the magnificent sculptures come to life. Take a swing in a game of snow- baseball, snow-golf or test your winter speed in a tobogganing race. This year’s event theme is “Our Northern Skies” so let your imagination soar and celebrate winter and all the ice it brings.

Ice on Whyte: In old Strathcona, Edmonton, AB

January 18-28, 2007

This year’s theme is “Big” sculpture so be prepared to look towards the sky.
With Telus Family Ice Adventures and a huge frozen castle as part of a winter playground, the fun is limitless. Workshops offer the chance for kiddies to create their fantasies with a children’s ice carving program.
Evenings are full of amusement with a variety of Alberta talent.

Ice Festival Niagara 2007: Ice Carving Demo, Niagara on the Lake, ON

January 20-21, 2007

Have your drink poured on ice and even in ice at one of Canada’s largest ice bars. Join twenty wineries at a 30 ft freeze bar and sample a vast selection of only their finest ice wines. Don’t miss the impressive ice carving demo’s as sculptors dazzle the audience with their performance.

Ice Magic Festival: Lake Louise, AB

January 26-28, 2007

Presented by the National Ice Carving Association this competition should not be missed. Ten talented teams of three, challenge head to head in creating the most spectacular sculpture of the event. Using 15 blocks of solid ice each weighing in at 300 lbs, these sculptors will compose world class finales.

Be sure not to miss Canada’s larger winter festivals, all which offer a chance to experience the cool, crystal clear essence of ice in every magical form.

Winterlude: Ottawa/Gatineau - February 2-18, 2007
Wintercity: Toronto - January 26 - February 8, 2007
Winterfest: Calgary - February 9 - 19, 2007 Carnaval de Quebec - Quebec City - February 1-17, 2007.

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