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In 2009, Ryan Davis and Brian Christianson decided to share their art with the community of Utah. Now they're sharing it across North America.

The unique "Ice Castles" experience draws thousands, even tens of thousands, to view material all built with water from the local fire hydrants.

Ryan Davis, CEO of Ice Castles, explains the process: "We build everything out of running water. All our building material comes out of a fire hydrant. We set up a sprinkler system and we make 5-10,000 icicles a day and place them one by one. It forms a lattice we then spray with water."

This attraction was inspired by Brian Christianson's ice sculpture experiments with his younger daughter that began catching the attention of newscasts and local civilians. He partnered up with Ryan Davis to create bigger experiences for communities to enjoy everywhere.

Davis says they have all sorts of attractions including all kinds of tunnels, crevasses, places to explore to create a real glacier experience. "Like a frozen waterfall, a glacier, or slides and different rooms. Lots of photo ops."

Ryan Davis hopes to have the Ice Castles open throughout the winter until March 2018.

"It's all built by hand... a unique art form. Everything is made by humans... Everyone's Canadian. It's built by people that live in Winnipeg."

Ice Castles has rented this land from Canada Parks. Ryan Davis says, "Everything here is temporary... Lights are frozen inside. For the most part, there's not a lot we do other than watch it melt come springtime... It's 100% water."

entrance to the area
Entrance to Ice Castles opening January 5th.

The coloured lights embedded in the ice castles create sunset and nighttime atmospheres with hues of yellow, orange, purple, white, and deep blue. These colours reflect beautifully on the green-tinted Manitoban water.

Davis notes that this experience is completely safe. "Out here, ice is attached to ice. There is nothing to gather up the heat. The smallest parts melt first slowly. Like an ice cube on a table, it never melts and tips over. It just melts straight down to nothing."

They also create a safe walking path for pedestrians to enjoy. "To create a walking surface, we crush the ice down so the texture is more like a beach and is six inches deep. You definitely want winter boots to walk around inside. "

"If its really cold when you turn on sprinklers, water freezes on top of anything. Typically water will hit the icicles and cascades down, but right now it's freezing on top of it. There some adjustments we can make to still do that, but it's always a challenge."

Ice Castle opens its gates to Winnipeggers January 5th. They are located just behind the Manitoba Museum of Human Rights in the Forks. Tickets on weekdays are $17 for adults, and $13 for children ages 4-11. Weekend prices are $20 and $15 respectively. Children 3 and under are free every day of the week.