Chal­lenge met

Wolfville builds ice igloo af­ter chal­lenge is­sued by Hantsport win­ter car­ni­val or­ga­nizer


The weather didn’t quite co­op­er­ate but mild tem­per­a­tures didn’t stop the Town of Wolfville from an­swer­ing Hantsport’s ice igloo chal­lenge.

Wolfville com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Nick Zamora and vol­un­teers started work­ing on the ice igloo in Clock Park dur­ing the morn­ing of Feb. 24. He said the town took Hantsport up on the chal­lenge be­cause build­ing an ice igloo is a fun thing to do and fits well with the theme of the town’s Feb. 24 Win­ter Warmer event.

“They do a great job down in Hantsport and the fin­ished prod­uct looks re­ally nice so we wanted to give it a try,” Zamora said.

Hantsport has in­cluded a com­mu­nity ice igloo project in its win­ter car­ni­val for sev­eral years. Last month, fes­ti­val or­ga­nizer Paul Mor­ton, the deputy war­den of West Hants, threw down the gaunt­let and chal­lenged Wolfville to do the same.

Zamora said the hardest part was find­ing enough freezer space for the ice blocks that make up the igloo. Dur­ing the early stages of con­struc­tion, he said they were play­ing it by ear and see­ing how it went.

Zamora said they re­ceived some con­struc­tion tips from Hantsport and hav­ing a pro­fes- sional brick­layer, Ryan Nose­wor­thy, of Sackville, in­volved was def­i­nitely a big help.

They had ap­prox­i­mately 200 clear and coloured ice blocks to work with, many of which were made by vol­un­teers. Zamora said Wolfville’s ice igloo would be smaller than Hantsport’s, which takes ap­prox­i­mately 500 blocks to build.

The blocks are made by freez­ing wa­ter in two-litre milk car­tons and adding food colour­ing to make coloured blocks. The card­board car­tons are peeled off be­fore the blocks are added to the struc­ture.

The igloo was con­structed on a base of snow brought in from the Zam­boni at the Aca­dia Arena. The ra­dius of the cir­cu­lar foun­da­tion was mea­sured us­ing a piece of rope tied at the cen­tre point to en­sure con­sis­tency.

A mix­ture of snow and wa­ter is used to make the mor­tar for the bricks.

“You build it up from the bot­tom and hope that it turns into a dome at the end,” Zamora joked.

He said they hoped to have the igloo com­pleted by late af­ter­noon so it could be lit at around 6:30 p.m.

The tem­per­a­ture was hover­ing around 5C when con­struc­tion got un­der­way. Zamora said this didn’t nec­es­sar­ily pose a chal­lenge in build­ing the igloo. How­ever, de­spite the in­her­ent strength of domed struc­tures, “we don’t think that it’s go­ing to last for too long.”

“If we get a week out of it, that would be nice,” Zamora said. “We’ll see.”

He said the town didn’t plan the Win­ter Warmer event around snow, so the lack of the white stuff didn’t have much im­pact on other planned ac­tiv­i­ties — in­clud­ing an ice carv­ing demon­stra­tion, live mu­sic and serv­ing hot choco­late and Bel­gian waf­fles. Strong wind gusts ended up pos­ing a chal­lenge though, wreak­ing havoc with por­ta­ble stag­ing brought in for the mu­si­cal per­for­mance.

The right skills

Nose­wor­thy said his brick lay­ing skills were help­ing some­what in the con­struc­tion but he isn’t used to work­ing with ice so “there’s kind of a learn­ing curve.” He found the project to be some­what chal­leng­ing, al­though the ice bricks seemed to stick to­gether quite well us­ing the slush mor­tar.

Nose­wor­thy, who grew up in Wolfville, said he de­cided to get in­volved in the project af­ter his cousin James Col­li­cutt, an em­ployee of Wolfville’s com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment depart­ment, asked if he could come lend a hand. Nose­wor­thy said he was more than happy to oblige.

He said it was a nice day to spend work­ing out­side and hoped every­one would like the fin­ished prod­uct. Nose­wor­thy said with a smile that the head ma­son of the Hantsport igloo project, Scott Miller, is his boss, so “I don’t want to try to out-best him.”

Jenn Kang, of Wolfville, also vol­un­teered to help build the igloo. She used to work as a brick­layer in In­dia. Kang said work­ing in the medium of ice and snow was “dif­fer­ent, but sim­i­lar at the same time.”


James Col­li­cutt and Nick Zamora, of Wolfville’s com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment depart­ment, and brick­layer Ryan Nose­wor­thy work on build­ing an ice igloo.


James Col­li­cutt, from Wolfville’s com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment depart­ment, mea­sures with a rope tied to the cen­tre point to en­sure that the foun­da­tion layer of the ice igloo has a con­sis­tent ra­dius.


The com­pleted ice igloo in Wolfville’s Clock Park.

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