Ice On Whyte Returns To Its Roots

Boardwalk Ice On Whyte this year has returned to its humble roots and is back at Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park!

Boardwalk Ice On Whyte returns to its original location at Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park.

Disclaimer: Yegventures is a sponsored by Boardwalk Ice On Whyte.

The International Ice Carving Exhibit is also managed by new Producer Jill Roszell, after founder and long time producer Wanda Bornn retired last year after Boardwalk Sand On Whyte.

Moving back to Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park, however, brings back more than nostalgic memories for those who remember Ice On Whyte since its first installment in 2003. The move back shows how far the event has come both for Boardwalk Ice On Whyte, as well as Edmonton’s Winter City culture.

Old Strathcona Business Association’s 2nd Winter Whyte Light Up took place Nov. 30, 2019.

The Old Strathcona Business Association lit up Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park back in November with the Winter Whyte Light Up, marking the popular summer locale as a winter destination. Explore Edmonton was there, along with the Flying Canoe Festival, Vignettes, extended hours for the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market, an 18+ queer speakeasy in the ATB Arts Barn, and of course Boardwalk Ice On Whyte. It was an event which truly reflected the make up of the diverse community of Old Strathcona.

Now onto this year’s 2020 Boardwalk Ice On Whyte. It’s been a few years since the event took a new direction in its more grown-up appeal in the evening and dropping the term ‘festival’ from its marketing. The visitors coming down are appreciating the new approach.

This year Boardwalk Ice On Whyte focused on three main aspects: the International Ice Carving Exhibit, ice carving demos and lessons, and the Ice Bar. There were still some peripheral activities alongside, but the three components were very well executed.

Edmonton TikToker @scurtisproductions making a “Shower Thoughts” video.

Boardwalk Ice On Whyte is only one of three International Ice Carving Competitions in Canada, alongside Winterlude in Ottawa, and Ice Magic in Lake Louise. The Canada Cup of Ice Carving makes its rounds between the three events, with Edmonton the host in 2019.

This year’s International Ice Carving Competition was stunning, with competitors from Russia, Netherlands, Iraq, USA, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, and Mexico, to name those outside of our vast country.

Here are this year’s entries in images from 8th place to 1st.

Strathcona Blues by Kee & Nathan (Malaysia & Ontario).
My Sweetheart by CAPAN (Japan & Canada).
Dexturbia by Kram & Ffilc (Edmonton).
The King of Blashyrk <—– by Hagal (Mexico & Quebec).
Dance Macabre by Double Dutch Trouble (Netherlands).
Aladdin and the Jinny by Elegant Dream (Iraq & USA).
Rain by Ledus (Latvia).
Melody of Autumn Skies by Team Sakha (Russia).

On the second weekend, there was also a first time Ice Carving Speed Challenge, in which 5 competitors had one hour to carve one block of ice. It drew in quite a number of patrons to watch the artists in action. Steve Buzak won the event with his Pelican carving.

Steve Buzak carving his winning Pelican during the Ice Carving Speed Challenge.

The Ice Bar, bartended by Beercade, promoted drinks from 4 different local breweries and distilleries in the city. The entire site was fully-licensed this year, allowing visitors to bring drinks along to enjoy the ice carvings, or sit down by the fire pit or ice patio. Fat Franks was also available for the duration of the event.

Although there weren’t as much live musical entertainment, DJ Mike Tomas heated up the Ice Bar tent on weekends, and there was Karaoke Night for those who wanted to show off their singing skills.

L’il & Big Chippers have been hits, in lieu of expensive ice slides (Boardwalk Ice On Whyte uses culinary grade ice from manufacturers in Ontario and Saskatchewan which takes days to create). Many parents enjoy the activity which stirs the creative mind.

Resident ice carving artists Mark & Cliff doing ice carving demos.

Everyday of Boardwalk Ice On Whyte also had ice carving demonstrations from the resident ice carving artists. Mark and Cliff have carved many things this year, including a giraffe, alien, Pikachu, guitar, snake, gummy bear, tree with squirrel and bird, eagle, monster, dragonfly, just to name a few items.

On the final day of Boardwalk Ice On Whyte, the Stew-Off drew in the foodie crowd at Situation Brewery. This year the special ingredient was apples supplied by Kuhlmann’s. Steve Buzak, who is also the executive chef at Royal Glenora Club, also took home the best stew.

In addition to Boardwalk Ice On Whyte, the event also drew in many local businesses with GoAsAGroup offers as part of the Complete Your Old Strathcona Experience promo. Two other restaurants Ampersand and Lyon also had a special ice-themed menu. Alberta Food Tours also had a special Ice On Whyte edition taking the food tours through the Ice Carving Exhibit.

There were two other major ice carvings on site this year at Boardwalk Ice On Whyte. Team Ledus from Latvia created a carving of Thing from Fantastic 4 for a special contest with TELUS World of Science. Anyone who posted an image with this carving is entered into the contest to win tickets to the Marvel exhibit.

Carving of Thing for the TELUS World of Science contest.

Team Sahka, which has won the title of best carving for several years created a piece to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Sonic 102.9 FM.

That’s the 2020 Boardwalk Ice On Whyte! Here’s a highlight video from this year.