Welcome to Narnia: Towering ice castle returns to Edmonton's river valley
'We've got some really magical stuff happening here'
A frozen fortress has once again taken a foothold in Edmonton's river valley.
The ice castle has returned to Hawrelak Park, with its icy gates set to open to the public on Friday.
The Narnia-like display was constructed by Utah-based Ice Castles, which has a second Canadian castle this year in Winnipeg. It is the third year for the Edmonton ice structure.
Crews on the site have been toiling through a recent cold snap to construct the towering castle, which covers more than an acre of park land and includes tens of thousands of individual icicles.
Thanks to the unpredictability of the weather, the structure will be unique to ones built in previous years, said lead artist Christian Denis.
"Part of the magic and the beauty of this kind of castle is the really cool ice formations," Denis said as he took CBC Radio's Edmonton AM on an exclusive pre-opening tour of the castle's interior.
The brutally cold temperatures of late December made it difficult for crews who were "harvesting" icicles and shaping the icy tunnels, said Denis — but the bone-chilling weather made the structure even more stunning.
"Having the fluctuations is when you get some of the really gnarly formations happening," Denis said.
"Every single day that goes on, it keeps morphing and changing," said Denis.
"We're always adding, tweaking and spraying. You can come back again and again ... and it's always a different castle."