The Dominion is grateful for its readers nationally and internationally. Because we are based in Edmonton, we will promote and review events in Edmonton that celebrate Canada 150. We will also report on the Centre for Constitutional Studies events that feature excellent and interesting lecturers.
If you’re not in Edmonton, our event reviews are still designed to educate or entertain you. And if you’re elsewhere in Canada, check out Canada150.ca for events near you.
Today’s post reviews Ice on Whyte, an annual ice-carving competition near Whyte Avenue with submissions from expert carvers around the world! It is located on Tommy Banks Way, which is fitting because Tommy Banks is a musician, former Canadian senator, and boasts a doctorate in laws and being awarded the Order of Canada. Events continue this coming weekend: Thursday and Friday 2pm to 10pm; Saturday and Sunday 10am to 10pm.
As is evident from the name, Ice on Whyte features a lot of ice. Whereas some Edmontonians might wish for warmer Januaries, the elaborate ice sculptures need the current temperatures to stay below zero for just a few more days.
The festival is mostly family friendly, but if you are looking for an 18+ environment, keep your eyes peeled for adults-only entertainment in the entertainment tent (at 2pm it turns into the Edmonton Beer Geeks Anonymous saloon). On Friday, January 27th, guests were treated to a vaudeville-style show with burlesque dancers and a contortionist/escape artist. The opening act, comedy duo Bud and Yolanda, set the evening’s bawdy tone with an upbeat song about an unfortunate, friendly cat; complete with double-entendre and a Trump joke.
When the entertainment tent is not limited to an 18+ audience, it is open to minors. The “Ordinary People… Extraordinary Stories” exhibits recognize history made by notable Canadians, such as Alex Decoteau: member of the Cree nation, Olympic athlete, soldier, and the first Indigenous police officer in Canada. He attained the rank of Sergeant the Edmonton Police Service and died serving his country during the second battle of Passchendaele in World War I.
Across the fair grounds, the Second Cup Coffee igloo offers coffee for a $2 donation and hot chocolate for $1, as well as hosts quality local live music. Behind the igloo, both kids and adults can enjoy the giant ice-slide. Actors role-play to share history from Confederation-era Canada, especially appropriate for this year’s celebrations. Sit down for a fireside chat or climb into the giant canoe and pretend to paddle down the North Saskatchewan River. Please note that actually paddling down the North Saskatchewan in January is generally considered to be unwise.
Next Sunday, the tent will host the Old Strathcona Farmers Market Stew Off. If you can’t make the stew off, several food trucks are on site daily to take care of your hunger.
In addition to daily crafts, test out your carving skills with ice-carving challenges for kids and adults. Grab a hot chocolate and enjoy a sleigh ride, or watch the fascinating skill of the blacksmith demonstration. No matter your age or interests, this winter festival showcases some great Canadian talent and culture. This 1-page festival guide will help you plan your visit.