For 3rd year running, town locals have some fun in the snow

The town of Canmore is hosting their third annual Winter Carnival from Feb. 10 till Feb. 20.

The Carnival is a community-wide celebration of the season and the vibrancy of the town itself.

With activities — like ice-carving competitions, street hockey and kids’ dogsled races — the Carnival is a two-week-long community event that draws families out of their warm houses and invites visitors from surrounding areas, like Calgary and Edmonton, to have some fun in the snow.

The majority of the scheduled events are free for the public to participate in, while some require a small registration fee, says Heather May, the program assistant for arts and culture for the town of Canmore.

“You will see local families all downtown participating, as well as volunteer contributions,” says Marsha Wright, volunteer coordinator for the festival.

Albertans gather on the Main Street snow track to watch the Kids and Mutts races.
Photo by: Celeste de Muelenaere

The scenic view of the surrounding Canadian Rockies is not the only enchantment that makes the Canmore Winter Carnival an attraction for Albertans.

Canmore — being the first town to ever put a snow track on the Main Street — is a source of pride for locals, says Wright.

About 850 cubic meters of snow was taken from the Nordic Centre and piled onto Main Street to create a track in the heart of the town for many of the featured events, she says.

On Feb. 11, the Kids and Mutts races drew a large crowd of parents with children.

Some were there in support of a sibling or classmate, while others simply came out to enjoy the festivities.

Five-year-old Veda Boiral was smiling from ear to ear when her name was announced as one of the winners of the Kids and Mutts races that took place on Feb. 11, 2012.
Photo by: Celeste de Muelenaere

“I come here every year,” says Banff native Eilleen Patterson, 65. “It’s just a super activity that brings the community together.”

“Whether the kids are five or 12, as soon as they come onto the track, their eyes just light up and they become so focused,” says Rob Heighington, master of ceremonies for Main Street events.

“It’s just great to see.”

But the snow track is not all the Carnival has to offer.

Just off the Main Street in front of the Civic Centre, kids can be seen playing street hockey, and ice-sculptures — in progress and completed— can be admired.

“It’s just a good day to bring my wife and boys down for some fun in Canmore,” says one of the ice-carvers, Scott Harrison, as he puts the finishing touches on his carving of a Chinese dragon.

This year the Carnival coincides with the International Biathlon Union Cup races, also known as IBU, held at Canmore’s Nordic Centre.

It is the first time ever that the IBU races are being held in North America, so families have a chance to also catch a glimpse of some of the Olympic and World Cup athletes that are competing in IBU races.

Featured events this week include IBU Cup races, curling on the pond, and the Bonhomme Carnival, which includes skating on the pond, an ice castle and traditional waffles on Sunday Feb. 19.

For more information on daily events or to register visit The Town of Canmore’s website.

cdemuelenaere@cjournal.ca