Attractions & things to do for the kids in your life

Bloor-Yorkville Icefest in Toronto (Toronto)

Family Tested

A welcome winter festival

How about a weekend on the rocks? Bloor-Yorkville Icefest 2017 is on, Saturday, February 25 and Sunday 26 from 12 noon and 5 p.m.!

Every year brings a new theme to the Icefest, a tradition which started in 2006 and takes place around Village of Yorkville Park. My photos were taken in 2011, when a circus theme was going strong. In 2014, they chose the tropical theme "Heat Wave". The theme for 2015 was "Frozen in Time". For 2017, it's "Celebrate Canada 150".

For the occasion, Cumberland Street is carless from Bellair to Old York Lane. It gets quite festive around the pretty park of Village of Yorkville Park, with an ice carving competition, a couple of ice bars, and the coolest fundraising activity. At 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with a $2 donation, kids can get an ice square cut out from a larger block, encasing a toy car (funds go to the Heart and Stroke Foundation). On both days from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., you can also taste maple syrup taffy on the snow for $2!

Many ice carving demonstrations take places before and during the event. It is fun to watch an artists attack a block of ice, armed with a chain saw, an iron and even some curling iron! Make sure to return an hour later to admire the evolution of the artwork. In the last stages, the sculpture gets covered with white "dust" and seems made out of snow but it will end up crystal clear (see the photo gallery).

For 2015, demos are offered: Friday 20 from 12 noon to 2 p.m. (Manulife Centre @Bloor & Bay) and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m (Hudson's Bay (@Bloor & Yonge); on Saturday, Feb. 21, from 12 noon to 2 p.m. (The Colonnade @131 Bloor W.) and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m (92 Yorkville Avenue); and on Sunday, Feb. 22 from 12 noon to 4 p.m. (@Bellair & Cumberland).

The ice carving competition starts at 12 noon on Saturday. Visitors can vote between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. and the winner is announced by the DJ on Cumberland Street at 5:15 p.m. Note that the ice sculptures are nicely lit at night, for a different perspective. Weather permitting, the sculptures can last as long as a couple of weeks after the Icefest.

Bring the camera!
Ice carving demonstration on Yorkville Avenue
Most of the action around Village of Yorkville Park
$2 donation gets you a cool ice square encasing a toy

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