With chainsaws, die grinders and ice chisels, artist Lee Ross is putting on the finishing touches of his Canada 150-themed sculpture at Parkland Nurseries & Garden Centre.
Using almost 6,900 kilograms of ice, his design depicts a piece of every Canadian province. For example, there’s a pumpjack for Alberta and an eagle and a bear for British Columbia.
“The ice is chemically friendly and as long as it’s not below -12 C your tongue will not stick,” said Ross, with a chuckle, knowing all too well kids like to explore the ice.
The ice structure is made of 400 ice pieces forming about 14 stand alone ice structures.
Most of the work, such as lettering of the sponsors, “embroidered” with snow, is done at his ice plant in Calgary. Ross is the owner of Frozen Memories Inc.
Gloria Beck, owner and manager at Parkland Nurseries & Garden Centre, said the ice sculpture tradition at the business location dates back more than 25 years.
Beck said she wants to give back to the community and give supporters an experience they can share with their family and friends.
“It’s our Christmas card to the community,” she said.
Both Beck and Ross wanted to honour every province and territory and celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.
One of the stand alone pieces is a train that kids can jump into and take pictures.
The pictures don’t end there as interactive sculptures of Santa and Elves offer additional photo ops.
“Where you can put your face in and take pictures,” said Ross.
Until Thursday morning, locals can check out the work-in-progress sculpture, after which time they can check the completed ice sculpture. Visiting hours are between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.
There are two ways to see the sculpture.
Those who fancy seeing the sun shining through the crystal clear ice can check it out during the daytime.
Beck said that’s the time visitors will be able to enjoy the intricate details of the sculpture.
But if you’re a fan of the colourful lights shining through the ice, check out the sculpture during the nighttime.
Both are extremely different experiences, said Beck.
Ross, who has been crafting ice sculptures for about 30 years, enjoys working with the themed sculptures at Parkland Nurseries & Garden Centre.
In the past, Parkland Nurseries and Garden Centre has displayed numerous themed ice sculptures from movies like Star Wars and Toy Story, and Minions from the movie Despicable Me to superheroes.
Beck asks people to check out the ice sculpture sooner rather than later because of the unpredictable Alberta weather.
Visit Parkland Nurseries & Garden Centre’s tree lot, at 26554 Hwy 11 in Red Deer County, to see the sculpture.