The Glenelm neighbourhood in Winnipeg is hosting its 6th annual snow sculpting competition as a way of connecting with one another in the winter months.
"It started six years ago now," says Michel Durand-Wood, the co-chair of Glenelm Neighborhood Association. "It was around the time our third child was born. She was born in April and we have a neighborhood where we run into each other constantly. My wife was pregnant over winter and we came home with our youngest and one of our neighbourhoods across the street said, 'What? I didn't even know you were pregnant.'"
It dawned on Durand-Wood that there wasn't much opportunity for people in the nieghbourhood to connect during the winter months.
"My wife and I, and my brother, who also lives in the neighbourhood, asked what would be a good way to get people outside and connecting in the wintertime. We came up with this idea to get outside and do a snow sculpture. It's grown every single year and it's a lot of fun."
Durand-Wood says there are two aspects to connecting. When families and individuals are outside sculpting, there's an opportunity for people to see each other and chat. After the competition, people walk around the neighbourhood to take in all the different designs, allowing for more ways to connect.
"We had someone participate last year that said 'It was so great. I met so many neighbours because I just moved to the neighbourhood.'"
Last year the Glenelm Neighbourhood saw 50 people and homes participate. They also have a few local businesses donate gift cards for prizes at the end.
"There are no judges. We do a random draw for prizes so that it doesn't matter if you are a small child or someone who is very artistic. It's all for fun and connecting with your neighbourhoods."
For participants who want to step up their game this year, the association is hosting a workshop this weekend in the park with André Vrignon-Tessier, a Festival du Voyageur snow sculptor. People in the neighbourhood that want to participate can sign up and sculpt until January 28.
Family Fun Activity
The Durand-Woods sculpt together as a family and have continued to create more intricate designs.
"We learned new skills and googled a bunch of stuff. My son, who's 12 now, he's getting very ambitious with his designs. Two years ago we did a pair of skates. Last year we did a teapot pouring tea with the tea is spilling out of a cup. We were out there to have fun and it turned out pretty okay. We're excited for this year too."
As their children are a little older, the family splits so that a few pf them sculpt in their yard and a few sculpt in their neighbour's yard.
"We have an elderly neighbor next door. She is unable to do one so she's asked if we could do one for her."