Ice, Art and Lanterns come together at Winterlude 2013 in Confederation Park

Canada’s Capital Region — This morning, the National Capital Commission (NCC) gave an overview of ongoing work to transformConfederationPark into Winterlude’s Crystal Garden.

Visitors to Crystal Garden will be able to witness a fusion of art and ice. An annual crowd favourite, during the first weekend of activities, professional ice carvers from around the world will participate in the 26th International Ice-Carving Competition, under the theme of “The Imaginary Garden.” At night, special lighting will turn the ice-carving masterpieces into a breathtaking sight.

NEW AND EXCLUSIVE FOR 2013: an outdoor Garden of Lanterns , a gift from the city of Jinju, demonstrates the true spirit of international friendship. The NCC is working closely with the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival of Jinju, in South Korea, to create a spectacular 35-metre (115 ft) long tunnel, comprised of over 1,300 lanterns. In addition to strolling through the tunnel, Winterlude-goers will also be able to admire other large free-standing lanterns shaped in whimsical forms.

The 35th edition of Winterlude runs from February 1 to 18, 2013.

The NCC will again host a number of activities, workshops and demonstrations at Confederation Park that showcase cultural and artistic diversity:

  • IllumiNation, an outdoor public art exhibit will feature interactive, whimsical and contemplative light artworks created by Canadian artists;
  • The Royal Norwegian Embassy will present an impressive exhibit on Northern Lights – Nature’s Own Magical Lantern  and will invite visitors to discover, from an Norwegian Sami Lavvu,  traditional folktales from Norway;
  • As part of a longstanding relationship with Veterans Affairs Canada, a unique ice sculpture will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice and recognize the Canadian contribution to ending the war six decades ago;
  • The World Wildlife Fund will kick off the Year of the Polar Bear at Winterlude and invite visitors to look for five ice bears around downtown Ottawa;
  •  To celebrate the centennial of the first Canadian Arctic Expedition, the Canadian Museum of Nature will present a stunning and powerful exhibit of Arctic images at Confederation Park;
  • Visitors will also be able to experience artwork from the “Defining Moments: Discovering Our Canadian Stories” collection, which expresses the views of 26 young people from across Canada, aged 13 to 30, on Canadian life and identity.

FUN FACTS – Crystal Garden

  • For Winterlude 2013,  a total of 657 blocks of ice will be used in Crystal Garden, home of the International Ice-Carving Competition;
  • The ice comes from the company Iceculture in Hensall, Ontario;
  • There are 11 countries represented in the 26th International Ice-Carving Competition:
    Canada, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Sweden, Japan, Iraq, Mauritius, Russia, Philippines, France and Poland;
  • The carvers work in teams of two. Each team is given 18 quality ice blocks and have 30 hours (spread over 3 days) to craft their masterpieces;
  • The competition judges come from Canada, France and the United States.
  • After the competition, the public is able to cast their vote online ( for their favourite sculpture, with a chance to win great prizes.
  • Water is used as glue for the making of the ice sculpture.
  • The sun is the ice sculpture’s worst enemy (even if the temperature is cold).
  • Each block weighs close to 140 kilograms (300 lbs) and the dimension of each block is 1 m x 50 cm x 25 cm.

In addition to the International Ice-Carving Competition, Crystal Garden hosts many other ice related activities and carvings for people to enjoy throughout Winterlude, such as a collective mosaic ice sculpture as well as public and youth ice carving challenges where the public is invited to participate.

For detailed information on activities presented at Crystal Garden in Confederation Park and Winterlude,  the public can contact the NCC at 613-239-5000, 613-239-5090 (TTY), 1-800-465-1867 (toll-free) or 1-866-661-3530 (toll-free TTY), or visit the website at