Spiralling icicles, glowing towers of glass, frosty antechambers await Edmontonians at Hawrelak Park.

After two months construction, the city's first ice castle will open to the public at 3 p.m., Wednesday afternoon and remain a river valley landmark until March — or until it melts.

The frozen creation, which includes thousands of icicles, was painstakingly carved and sculpted by hand. The resulting structure weighs in at 27,200 tonnes and stretches over an acre of snow.

"I think it's going to be great," Ryan Davis, CEO of Ice Castles, the Utah-based company behind the installation, said during a Wednesday morning interview on Edmonton AM. "I think it's going to be a fun day. I think a lot of people are going to come in and be amazed with what we've built." 

Once inside the Narnia-like display, visitors will have the chance to crawl through tunnels, ride down frozen slides and explore secluded caves.

At night, LED lights embedded in thick ice will make the castle glow with vibrant colours.

Ice castle, Edmonton

The ice castle will keep a foothold in Hawrelak Park until March. (Sam Scholes)


Despite some equipment malfunctions over the holidays, Davis says the castle is in great shape.

"It's all hands on deck right now," he said. "I think it's going to be a fun day." 

Tickets are available on-site, but you may be turned away if the castle is over capacity. Buying tickets online, in advance, is less expensive and will ensure that you get the chance to step inside.