Creatures of the Sea @ Winterlude

February is the month when winter festivals and various events take place across Canada, as the skies are mostly sunny and all outdoor activities are in full swing. February is the middle of the winter, the time when family and friends gather together to rediscover the joys of winter activities. And so, Winterlude was created in 1979, to celebrate Canada’s unique northern culture and climate, right in the country’s capital, Ottawa.

Winterlude lasts for the first three weekends in February, culminating with Family Day, which is on the third Monday of the month. First weekend of the festival started with some of the lowest temperatures in 100 years: the windchill was -40 Celsius at 7 am. Even though an extreme cold snap hit Ontario, the National ice-carving championship went by, as all provinces’ contestants put their tools and talent to work.

Dancing with the meal - Nova Scotia team
Dancing with the meal – Nova Scotia team

Winterlude is one of the winter festivals I wanted to go to for few years, but the events were cancelled in the past 2 years, for various reasons, either due to Covid, or to the Freedom Convoy. This year we did not delay anymore, making plans to go to Ottawa on the second weekend of February.

Creature of the Deep - Ontario team
Creature of the Deep – Ontario team

The Perilous Journey - Alberta team
The Perilous Journey – Alberta team

There were few locations where various activities take place, but we liked to hang around Spark Street, where the ice sculptures were. Representing each of Canada’s 10 provinces and 3 territories, teams of two carvers had 20 hours to sculpt 15 blocks of ice and create a work of art, inspired by the theme “Creatures of the Sea”.

Sinbad and the Seahorse - Yukon team
Sinbad and the Seahorse – Yukon team

Catch me if you can! - British Columbia team
Catch me if you can! – British Columbia team

As the Winterlude turned into Waterlude, unfortunately, the second weekend of February has been marked by a steady drip of melting ice instead, and we found many sculptures melting away, and many pieces obviously missing from the amazing sculptures. So unfair to these beautiful artworks, and the talented artists, as not many people had the chance to enjoy them to the fullest. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the spirit, the sunny skies, the walk around the city, and the little treats we got along our way!

Siren in the Depth - New Brunswick team
Siren in the Depth – New Brunswick team

Luckily, my friend Criss was able to snap some photos before the mild weather hit, and he kindly shared them with us. Thank you, Criss!

The Seahorse - Manitoba team
The Seahorse – Manitoba team

Blue Dragon seaslug - Saskatchewan team
Blue Dragon seaslug – Saskatchewan team

Wherever you are, wherever you go, I wish a wonderful and happy Family Day to all those celebrating it this weekend!


39 thoughts on “Creatures of the Sea @ Winterlude

  1. Wow, I am impressed! Now, thanks to you, Christie, I have no choice but to put the Witerlude festival on my wish list! Can you just imagine all those countless hours that went into many of these amazing creations only to have them melt away? Luckily, you preserved them through photography for us to marvel at. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve seen many ice sculptures before, since there are so many events across the country every winter, and but some of these from Winterlude were truly exquisite, so I could not resist to share them🙂
      Have a lovely day you too!! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad you were finally able to visit Ottawa during Winterlude. The ice sculptures look amazing, even if the warmer weather ruined some of the features. Apparently the Rideau Canal Skateway is still closed because it hasn’t been cold enough.

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  3. Good that your friend took these pictures, the skill the carvers have is so impressive. I had heard that Winterlude was canceled again this year, at first because it was too cold (which seemed kind-of funny) and then because it was too warm. But sounds like there were a few events for you. Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, they cancelled it originally, and decided to go ahead last minute. We had a bad snow storm and cold on the first days of February, and I guess it was not easy for the participants to stay in a windy minus 30 (40) Celcius and carve for hours, brrr.. I can’t think of🙂
      Hilarious, after two days, the temperatures increase to a positive range. We had pretty much all winter such huge jumps in temperatures, very odd..


    1. It was an interesting theme, this year, right? Also a mosasaur was sculpted there, but it was not part of the contest. Never heard about mosasaurs lol a huge marine lizard living about 93-66 million years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately Ontario team was not on the podium. First place is Nova Scotia with the octopus, 2nd place is New Brunswick with the Mermaid, and the 3rd is Yukon with Sinbad riding a seahorse. But they all are amazing, I think🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They have a great system actually. The judge is the public, you could vote online by selecting your top three favourites. It is a score voting, and the participant with the highest sum is the winner. Anyway, I would give a prize to all participants, they all deserve one🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for giving me these glimpses of Winterlude, Christie. I love a winter festival, especially one that showcases ice sculptures as impressive as these. Some years ago (2010 to be precise) I visited the International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival in Harbin, China. It still stands as one of my greatest travel memories. Stay warm!

    Liked by 1 person

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