Rival ice fest springs up in Yellowknife

Two Yellowknifers have set up a new winter attraction on Great Slave Lake, but some people say they're copying a nearby tradition, nay... institution: the SnowKing's annual castle on the ice of Great Slave Lake.

Some say dome on Yellowknife Bay is copying SnowKing festival

Rival ice fest springs up in Yellowknife 2:21

Two Yellowknifers have set up a new winter attraction that some people say is copying a nearby tradition.

Matthew Grogono and Mike Harrison have put up a yurt-like dome on the ice of Yellowknife Bay for a reality TV show that will air on Animal Planet. 

The network is producing a series about daily life of the people who live in the houseboats on Great Slave Lake.   

"They want to film musicians, they want to film artists, they want to film Yellowknife life," said Grogono.

He and Harrison are hoping to attract tourists and create a profitable relationship with the network by setting up a fish shop inside the dome and and selling ice candles. The dome will also feature a cafe, events, and even an Ice Queen.

But the seasonal structure, set up on Great Slave Lake in time for glorious spring, may seem familiar to Yellowknifers. 

The dome is going up at the same time, and just a few hundred metres away, from the Snowking's castle. 

The Yellowknife SnowKing's annual castle on Yellowknife Bay has become a tradition, nay... institution in the city. This year the SnowKing, Tony Foliot, has company. (Todd Corrigall/CBC)
For the 19th year, Yellowknife's Snowking has built a castle of snow and ice, where he'll invite the public to come and enjoy art shows, concerts, a cafe... even weddings. 

"Yes, I think there is a little friendly competition," said Harrison. "A lot of people are saying, you kind of copied an idea. Well, most of it is the Ice Queen thing. But to the visitor, the international tourist comes in, they've got the queen of ice over here, the king of snow over there. They can have plenty of activities and an overall experience on the bay."

Snowking Tony Foliot won't comment on the reality show, the dome or its Ice Queen. The snow castle opens March 1.

Grogono and Harrison say they have the utmost respect for the Snowking and that their idea is unique and complementary.

"A fish mobile in a geodesic dome selling ice lanterns ... I'm quite confident it hasn't been tried before," said Grogono.

The dome and its monarch should be ready by mid-March when the production crew from Animal Planet arrives.