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Challenge accepted: Wolfville to construct ice igloo after Hantsport Winter Carnival organizers throw down gauntlet

Volunteers help to build the igloo in Hantsport on Jan. 21, 2018.
Volunteers help to build the igloo in Hantsport on Jan. 21, 2018. - Colin Chisholm


Let the games begin.

Hantsport has issued a challenge and the Town of Wolfville has officially accepted, and now the competition begins to see which community can build the best igloo.

For the past several years, Hantsport has included a community-wide igloo building component to its winter carnival. Festival organizer Paul Morton, who is also the deputy warden of West Hants, says he issued the friendly challenge to the Town of Wolfville in hopes of getting everyone involved and bringing the community together.

Approximately 100 people came out to help earlier this month to make Hantsport’s igloo. Now, they want to see what Wolfville can do.

“The challenge has been accepted,” says Nick Zamora, Wolfville’s community development officer.

The big Wolfville build is set for the weekend of Feb. 24 to coincide with its Winter Warmer event in Clock Park. The aim, Zamora says, is for it to be similar to the Night of Lights event that is held in December, with music and other performances, fire pits, hot beverages and other treats, with the lighting of the colourful igloo as a centrepiece. 

Depending on the weather, the town hopes to build its igloo either on Feb. 23 or early in the morning on Feb. 24.  This event could potentially be expanded in future years into something like a winter carnival in Wolfville, says Zamora.

Details of the Feb. 24 event will be released closer to the date, he added.

Read more about the Hantsport igloo here:

See a video of the Hantsport igloo construction in 2017 here:


Community support

Already, Zamora says there has been a great response from the community.

Mostly, he says, the town needs blocks of ice to build the igloo. These can easily be made by filling used two-litre milk cartons with water and adding five to 10 drops of food colouring. Clear blocks work just as well, and it's nice to have a mixture of coloured and clear blocks, he says. Cardboard cartons should be used, however, as they are easiest to remove in order to get the blocks of ice out. 

“Hantsport has been kind enough to offer their leftover ice blocks to get us started, but the town still needs about 500 more,” says Zamora.

“Freezer space is another commodity we will need, as folks at home can only hold so many in their household freezers.”

He says they are working out some options for people to contribute and firming up details about where and when ice blocks can be delivered.

Wolfville resident Emily Leeson says her family is always interested in events that bring friends and neighbours together.

“It’s a fun idea to have a friendly challenge with another community, and we’re pretty much up for anything that gets the kids outside and enjoying the winter,” says Leeson.

Although Kings County Coun. Meg Hodges lives in Canning, she is still planning on getting involved with her family for the unique learning experience. She’ll be providing some blocks of ice for the endeavour.

Building blocks

Morton says he has provided some tips on how to build the igloo, but says for the most part, it is figuring it out as you go. Zamora says the town is without a resident "expert," but he hopes to attract a friendly mason or two, as their tools and knowledge lend themselves well to the project.

To judge the best igloo, Morton says they will get one to two people from the area to judge the igloos based on aspects like shape, colour and size. Because they are happening in two different months, the judgement may be based on pictures and videos.

Really, it’s just about the bragging rights, says Morton.

“I’ll consider it a win if we can get enough participation and contributions of ice blocks to build our igloo in Wolfville,” adds Zamora. 

“Hantsport should be commended for its community spirit and ability to organize an undertaking like this year after year, using entirely volunteer resources. Paul Morton does a tremendous amount of work and organizing to bring their event to life.”

He’s hoping the enthusiasm the Hantsport community has for the event will be replicated in Wolfville.

“We're just piggy-backing on their fun tradition and hoping that this friendly challenge can ignite Wolfville's community spirit in a similar way,” says Zamora.

Anyone interested in helping out can email

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