Embrace the winter temperatures at Ice on Whyte, where 11 professional ice carvers from across Canada will turn Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park into a winter garden.
Regularly, Ice on Whyte is one of three international ice carving competitions in Canada, alongside Winterlude in Ottawa and Ice Magic in Lake Louise. Together, the three competitions create the Canada Cup of Ice Carving, in which carvers from all over the world come to compete.
But, Ice on Whyte hasn’t hosted an international competition since 2020, and it won’t be returning until 2023. Instead, Ice on Whyte invited 11 internationally recognized ice sculptors from Canada to participate in this year’s event.
“We’ve been working with Lake Louise to bring together a roster of Canadian talents to just come in and build, so it’s not a competition or anything like that, but it is going to be competition-size pieces,” says Jill Roszell, producer of Ice on Whyte. “We’re really excited.”
Once you get a good look at the professionals, you can try your hand at chipping the ice at the Chippers Sessions. All-ages can give it a go at creating their own mini ice sculpture.
“We give you a little block of ice and we give you a table and we give you some instructions on how to do it, and you can try the medium itself,” says Roszell. “It’s a lot of fun, and surprisingly hard and satisfying all at the same time.”
Other changes to this year’s event include implementing the Restrictions Exemption Program, reduced capacity, limiting one cohort per fire pit and required masks in the chippers tent. There won’t be an ice bar this year; however, Fat Franks will be on scene serving up a warm and tasty menu.
“We’re trying to keep it as safe as possible, especially with the rise in COVID cases we’re experiencing right now,” says Roszell. “We’ve been trying to use the word ‘event’ instead of festival this year, just because it is smaller compared to what we normally do, but I think it’s going to feel different and good.”
Visit Ice on Whyte, located at Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park (8331 104 Street NW) between January 27 and February 6. The site will be closed January 31. Hours are 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekends. Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for children between two and 13 years old, and children under two are free.