December 11, 2015 2:04 pm
Updated: December 11, 2015 4:57 pm

Construction on Edmonton’s massive ice castle is underway

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EDMONTON – It’s not your typical kind of garden. Harvested icicles are the building blocks for a unique structure taking shape in the heart of Hawrelak Park; Canada’s first ice castle which is about an acre in size.

Cory Livingood is the lead artist for the project, which was commissioned for the Silver Skate Festival but will be open to guests as early as the end of December.

Cory Livingood is managing construction on a massive ice castle in Edmonton’s river valley.

“The height of it will really depend on the weather,” Livingood explained. “Generally, it’s between 12 and 15 feet by the time we open.”

Livingood added that he anticipates some of the castle’s towers to stand between 12 to 15 metres high.

No rebar. No reinforcements. Just a whole lot of ice.

“What we do is extremely unique.”

The project started with the design and the installation of more than three kilometres worth of sprinkler systems. Next, they started growing the icicles.

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“The sprinklers are a huge part of it,” Livingood continued. “We create a lattice work of icicles around them, and that’s where the ice accumulates. We’re basically giving the ice a place to grow.”

His company, Ice Castles, has completed more than a dozen similar projects in the U.S. For every half-metre of castle, at least 200 icicles are typically used. By the time their work is done, the misting water will eventually freeze and form around several hundred thousand sticks of ice.

Then, there’s the lights.

“There are lights frozen into all the ice,” said Livingood. “There’s about 80 frozen into it at this point. The lights will sync up with the music and it’s a pretty magical place to be.”

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Complete with an ice slide, waterfalls and a cave, the winter spectacle promises to ‘wow’, though it’s hard to picture it just yet.

Livingood said that once complete, both kids and adults will love the unique winter experience. He also said that the ice loves the unique micro-climate that exists in the park.

“The temperature is a little bit cooler in the park. It’s near the river, in the valley, and it’s also not right in the centre of the city where the concrete and buildings radiate heat. So we are a few degrees cooler down here than what the forecast tells us.”IMG_8543

Cool temperatures, cloudy skies and light winds are what Livingood’s team of locally sourced talent need in order to open to the public before the new year.

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