Monday, February 18

2008 Regina Downtown Ice & Fire Carnival Draws Thousands This Weekend

We couldn't have asked for better February weather!

It appears that 4th edition of the Regina Downtown Ice and Fire Carnival is an unparalleled success. During the whole week prior to the Saturday February 16 official events, Regina citizens and Scotties Tournament of Hearts participants strolled through Victoria Park to meet with snow sculpture artists. Even teachers took their students to take in this original example of how culture and the arts contribute to placemaking, and to creating more attractive, walkable cities for visitors and residents.

The Saturday TSN network television coverage of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts started with an opening segment shot right in the midst of our snow sculptures on the edge of the Carnival Crystal Pond. All Canada heard about our special event in Regina that day.

On behalf of the Carnival Committee, I would like to thank all our Ice & Fire Carnival volunteers, participants, artists and performers. Also, a big thank you to all our sponsors, whose generosity is the building block this distinctive Regina event depends upon.

You will find below some of the photographs of the Carnival and partners events I have snapped during the week...

Friday, February 15

4th Annual Regina Downtown Ice & Fire Carnival to turn Victoria Park into a "Crystal Habitat"

With this 4th edition, the Regina Downtown Ice & Fire Carnival (February 8-17) reaches new realms. Energized by the possibilities “The Crystal Habitat” theme implies, Carnival participants and artists are shaping magnificent snow sculptures, curated as one harmonized body of work by the Dunlop Art Gallery’s Jeff Nye. The companion dance performances developed by Carnival artistic director Robin Poitras will weave this geography of ephemeral art pieces into an intricate web of movement and structures, inspired both by crystals and the notion of habitat. The addition this year of an ice surface in the heart of downtown creates an exciting new space, used for performances staged by skaters and dancers, as a legitimate appropriation of historic Victoria Park.

“Perhaps it is indicative of the perceived need for public events that invite citizens to celebrate winter culture in the Great Plains,” said Carnival Committee Chair, Claude-Jean Harel of Great Excursions.” Not only have we successfully enlisted the financial support of a greater than ever number of corporate sponsors this year, but our Carnival has also attracted national media attention, as well as the admiration of communities elsewhere in Canada. The grassroots approach to placemaking Regina citizens are displaying by accepting our invitation to look at their city through a different lens — for the brief duration of the Carnival — is nothing less than refreshing, to be sure.”

What others outside Regina tell us they find remarkable in the Carnival is the way it pulls together a diversity of talents from the community: from the amateur “Tango Thursday” dancers who take part in the procession (thanks to the commitment of New Dance Horizons), to the support of generous contractors who give us their precious time and resources, to city workers who clear the path and flood the ice surface, to Regina Downtown BID — a truly visionary organization that is providing crucial logistical and administrative support for the Carnival. Without these partners and the downtown businesses which help make this event possible, there likely wouldn’t be a Carnival.

The Regina Downtown Ice & Fire Carnival brings together a wonderful array of arts and cultural organizations, with public and private sector entities, forging non-traditional partnerships that allow us, collectively, to explore the meaning of authenticity in one of North America’s most innovative downtown cores. The Carnival is just one of the articulations featured as part of an on-going effort to bring out the distinctive character of the place where we live; a character that we can enjoy, and which nurtures our longings for a city that is as vibrant as those who first built it envisioned it would become.

As the carnival unfolds, and as we, as urban citizens, are lured back to Victoria Park this February, we will witness the emergence of an original winter village, in our image — a village within the city. Please help us make the Carnival all it can be, and unsuspected joys will be bestowed upon you.


The Downtown Ice & Fire Carnival was established in 2005 as a legacy project from an Art at Work residency with artistic director Robin Poitras of New Dance Horizons and partners Harvard Developments Ltd, Regina YWCA and Regina Downtown. The Carnival is a new and vibrant festival that has quickly become one of the not-to-miss family events of the season. This one of a kind winter event fuses art, culture and sport together to create a unique celebration of the elements that make this region so spectacular: ice cold snow and hot fiery energy.

Attracting over 8,000 visitors to downtown last year, the Downtown Ice & Fire Carnival is an opportunity for the Regina community to come together in celebration and exploration of what Regina’s unique winter culture is all about. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to showcase Regina and the downtown area to visitors and residents alike. This is an event where the entire family can enjoy a unique winter experience in the heart of the city.

The 4rd Annual Downtown Ice & Fire Carnival culminates on Saturday February 16 in Victoria Park.

For further information, contact:

Claude-Jean Harel (spokesperson)
The Great Excursions Company
(306) 569-1571

Robin Poitras
New Dance Horizons
(306) 525-5393

Tracy Fahlman
Regina Downtown BID
(306) 359-7541

Jeff Nye
Dunlop Art Gallery
(306) 777-6144

Official Program



  • 1:00-3:30 The Snow Garden – Join in the creation of a magical winter world
  • 2:00-3:00 Opening Ceremonies – A journey through the Crystal Habitat led by the Carnival procession of dancing buffalo, rabbit, deer, and other winter creatures. Visit nine fabulous snow sculptures and special winter sites, meet guest snow sculptors, join in the lighting of the Carnival bonfire and enjoy the sites, sounds, tastes and magic of the Downtown Ice & Fire Carnival. Begins at Hill Centre Tower II.
  • 2:30-4:30 Snow shoeing and quinzee building
  • 3:00-4:00 The Crystal Pond Performance presented by New Dance Horizons with guest artists. Also featuring a Winter Wear Fashion Show by Laura Kapp.
  • If the temperature drops below 30 degrees, these performances will be held at the Regina Public Library Film Theatre.
  • 4:00-7:00 Public ice skating
  • 6:30 Evening lantern procession and The Crystal Pond
  • Performance finale. Begins at Hill Centre Tower II.
  • 3:00-5:00 Live music with La Raquette à Claquettes; brought to you by Bonjour Saskatchewan;
  • Face painting by Street Culture Kidz
  • * 2:30-4:30 Children’s “Crystal Crafts” and hot chocolate
  • 9:30-5:00 Althea Thauberger: Northern
  • 4:00-5:00 Meet and greet Carnival artists and performers;
  • Winter Tales for the whole family - brought to you by the Regina Plains Museum
  • Historical View of Victoria Park – A photographic display of Victoria Park from 1900 to present. The display is located downstairs (ground level) in the F.W. Hill Mall pedestrian walkway.