Today my flight was cancelled…after taking care of some business stuff…early afternoon I headed out to explore Yellowknife, as it was my first visit! It was a nice and sunny day here in Yellowknife. I think the temperature was between -17/-20C…it felt so nice and warm walking in the sun compared to the temps I’ve experiencing in Pang! It was a pretty awesome day. I met and talked to so many different people, everyone was extremely friendly…and helpful! I left my hotel and walked along a lake path to the visitor’s centre! It was so nice to walk amongst the trees…they are something I miss so much when I’m home in Nunavut!
After talking to a very helpful guy at the Visitors Centre…I headed off on foot to Old Town. I wanted to see the Snow Castle built by the SnowKing. This is the 17th Snow Castle that has been built in YK. I wasn’t sure what to expect…I had NEVER been to a snow castle before, but as I approached I knew I was NOT going to be disappointed!
…pretty impressive! The windows are made out of ice blocks that were gathered/cut starting in November…and stored until the was enough snow to start making the castle. In January and February the castle starts to take form, and is sculpted and made ready for opening the 1st of March.
I took a walk around the outside of the castle… there was a slide built for kids…looking pretty fun!
I entered the snow Castle, paid my money and marvelled at the inside…it was so cool! (well actually it was quite warm…in temperature that is!) As I was walking around the inside… I came across the SnowKing himself… Of course I embarrassed myself, when I asked him..”Did you help make the castle?” He looked at me and laughed and replied something like I am the Snow King! I laughed and told him how cool it was…then continued on to explore and take more photos.
I took so many photos of the interior of the castle…was so glad that I put my wide-angle lens back in my camera bag! I’m going to share just a few of them with you here…
Right now there is an Art Exhibit on display…its a collection of photos from Girish Nayer. The group of photos were taken in India…it was really neat to see the colourful photos on the crisp white background.
After walking around a bit more… I came across another man who was working on the windows of the castle. He was using a hair dryer to try to melt a bit of the ice to make it go clear…it was an experiment! (but the outside of the ice was still pretty foggy-so not really having the desired results!) We started talking…this is his 7th or 8th castle he has worked on with the Snow King. I’m horrible at remembering names…we did exchange them..but I promptly forgot it! During our conversation he answered some of my questions about the process of how the castle is built. There is basic ‘building’ pieces–that hold the outhouses, electrical room–for lights, and sound… after those are placed… then forms are put up… there’s an ‘inside’ form and outside… then snow is packed in the form with a big loader! (that’s why in some of my photos you might see wood marks on the on the roof or walls!) The ice blocks for the windows are placed on snow blocks…in the right places… then metal rods help find them later when the carving happens. (I’m sure there is MUCH more to the process…but that’s the story I got!)
Near the end of our conversation, I mentioned that I grew up in Ontario…he was like where? I replied, “…Haliburton” (Often people don’t know where it is)..he smiled and said he grew up in Peterborough. His mum grew up in Haliburton…who probably was 4-5 years ahead of my mum in school! Small world we live in eh?
Just as I was leaving I took this series of timer-self-portraits…
I walked along the ice road to head to the Pilot’s Monument. It’s one of the look-out areas in Old Town that gives a good view of Yellowknife. (I tired a few times to stitch together a bunch of my shots to create a panoramic view..but that will wait for another time!)
While I was up there… a float plane (with skis) took off… that was pretty neat to watch!
It was great to see a bit of Yellowknife!