Deep Freeze 2011

After writing off Saturday as a snow day, Mack and I put on our boots this afternoon, hopped on public transit, and headed to Alberta Avenue to take in the fourth annual Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Festival.

Deep Freeze 2011

Follow the path

It was our first time at the festival, as previous intentions to visit never panned out. After this experience, however, it’s safe to say it will easily become an event to look forward to every year.

There were so many things going on for kids and adults alike – both indoors and outside (great planning, given it was –20C with the windchill today). 118 Avenue was closed from 90 to 95 Street to accommodate festivities, which included many roaring warming fires, a street hockey tournament, outdoor performances and cabane a sucre (sugar house)!

Deep Freeze 2011

Mummers theatre

Deep Freeze 2011

On the Avenue

To partake in the Quebecois tradition, I bought a popsicle stick for $2, and waited for a volunteer to pour hot maple syrup onto the snow patted down in raised boxes. It was my first time at this, and pulling and wrapping the maple taffy around the stick in a uniform manner was more difficult than I expected (I’m pretty sure the two kids next to me did a better job). It was a sweet treat!

Deep Freeze 2011

Pouring the syrup

Deep Freeze 2011

C’mon taffy!

Deep Freeze 2011

With my finished product

I was perhaps most excited to check out the mini Alberta Avenue Farmers’ Market, set up inside the Old Cycle Building.

Deep Freeze 2011

Alberta Avenue Farmers’ Market

Though not all of the vendors were available for this special market, several of the regulars were on hand, including Shooting Star Ranch and The Chocolate Doctors. Johnson Family Farms, a new vendor to Alberta Avenue (they also sell at Salisbury), was also present. They sell eggs, chicken, turkey, pork and beef, and perhaps the most unique – farm fresh butter and cream.

Deep Freeze 2011

Sharon Johnson of Johnson Family Farms

The Alberta Avenue market resumes its weekly Thursday schedule on January 13, 2011, with new hours: 5-8pm.

The rest of the space was filled with a variety of arts and crafts vendors – everything from photographs, to prints, to mittens made from old sweaters. I was charmed by the monster/city print designs of Whiteout Workshop, and picked up a cute pink coin purse as a result.

Deep Freeze 2011

Arts market

Though there were a fair number of people outside (especially given the weather), it was busiest inside the Alberta Avenue Community Centre.

Deep Freeze 2011

Alberta Avenue Community Centre

There was live music, courtesy of Allez Ouest & Friends, and French Canadian cuisine available from the kitchen. We opted to try their poutine ($6). It hit the spot, and yes, did feature squeaky cheese!

Deep Freeze 2011

Allez Ouest & Friends

Deep Freeze 2011


Warmed, we wandered back outside through the Enchanted Forest (bravo to festival organizers for clear signage, by the way), we took in ice sculptures and olde tyme curling, among other things. There was also a hot dog/marshmallow roast available, family snow sculpture carving and outdoor ice skating with free skate rentals.

Deep Freeze 2011

Mack’s favourite sculpture (check out those teeth!)

Deep Freeze 2011


We finished our day with a wagon ride (I’m not sure what it is about horses and wagons, but I can’t help myself). We ended up sitting with Marianne and Charles, who were just beginning their visit to Deep Freeze!

Deep Freeze 2011

Cold, but happy

Deep Freeze 2011


Deep Freeze was the first Winter Light event on the calendar – next up is Ice on Whyte, which runs January 13-23, 2011. See you there!

11 thoughts on “Deep Freeze 2011

  1. Love this post. I was there on Saturday so I missed out on the poutine (which looks yummy), but next I did have some of Vlad’s Village Pig! An absolute must (if you like pork) when you go next year. Cheers!

  2. On Saturday they also had the ice bar which was really awesome. They served shots in glasses made out of ice!

  3. Great bumping into you guys yesterday, and on a bale of hay no less! We caught the end of Allez Ouest and they were definitely great. Oh the maple syrup. We had some trouble with the rolling too, and I think we all left with syrup on our sleeves. But it sure is tasty! Glad you two had a good time, and have fun at Ice on Whyte!

  4. I was there on Sat night for the dance with Le Fuzz (as you know). A highlight was heading outside to check out the Baileys Ice Bar, sit on the big snow throne, and take photos in the ice castle! It was little too dark to see the sculptures (Leigh thought the dinosaur was a carrot!!). Heather slid down the slide. It was very cool.

  5. I had very good intentions of going, but was deterred by the miserable roads, and tiring of pushing cars out of snowbanks. Thanks for the post.

  6. Meech – that pork must have been something!

    Kristy – a few friends took in the ice bar on Saturday. It looked pretty cool!

    Ellen – definitely a great festival for kids. And they’re not afraid of the cold, heh.

    Marianne – glad I wasn’t the only one with sub-par taffy-rolling skills :).

    Jill – I didn’t even see the slide!

    Kevin – there’s always next year!

  7. What a beautiful post – I loved the WHEEEE! and the maple syrup on a stick…. did you get any names for Eat ALberta April 30th – that guy might have been a good one!

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