Derrald Taylor carved frantically through the weekend to meet his deadline. “I have to have this ready by 5pm,” the sculptor called out with a laugh to passersby on Sunday.
By Monday night, his ice carving – of two people and a polar bear, situated where Frame Lake meets Yellowknife’s Somba K’e Park – is expected to be gone.
Taylor was understood to be hastily preparing the carving for a video to mark Winterlude, the federal government’s annual celebration of “Canada’s unique northern culture and climate,” which this year will be online-only.
Normally, there’s a Snowflake Kingdom and all manner of in-person attractions each Winterlude in Ottawa.
Late last week, Canadian Heritage said that won’t happen in 2021.
Details about Winterlude’s virtual edition have not been released, other than tentative dates of February 5-21.
Covid-19’s grip on the country is understood to have led organizers to request that art being created for virtual Winterlude – like Taylor’s carving – be swiftly removed from public areas in case people gather to see it, potentially serving to spread the coronavirus.
Even in Yellowknife, where the pandemic’s impact has been comparatively light, that means Taylor’s finished sculpture has mere hours to live.
It’s not clear when on Monday the sculpture will come down. (Cabin Radio is reporting its existence on the understanding that Yellowknifers can be trusted to go safely, at a distance from each other, without causing a stampede and a superspreader event.)