By Anita Grace –
Parkdale Park was filled with creative snow figures on Saturday, February 8. Described by event organizer John Ferguson as a “random act of fun,” the first annual GT Snowman Building Contest was a showcase of wintery talents.
Naomi Ireland’s team of five builders created a classic comic book scene: two snowmen, one of which was missing a head. That head was not too far away in a heap of bowling pins. “We’ve been wanting to do a Calvin and Hobbes inspired snowman all year,” Ireland explained. “This was a good excuse.”
Their comical creation won the team the first place win and prize of a $200 Giant Tiger gift certificate.
“We’re trying to get families active,” said Ferguson. There was no cost to enter the contest and a guaranteed participation prize. The event attracted twelve individual and group participants.
Dennis Murphy and Erin Burns were building a triceratops snow figure with some help from their two-year-old daughter Lilith. “It’s a fun family event,” Murphy said as he shoveled snow.
Melissa and Gerard Stiles-O’Connell and their children Maliah, 9, and Corey, 5, built a quizzical little snowman with nose, mouth and eyebrows made of carrots.
Ferguson, who owns the Giant Tiger store in Hintonburg, left nothing to chance. He trucked in a load of snow in case nature did not provide, and when the snow did not stick well due to chilly temperatures, volunteers were on hand to haul buckets of water around for participants to use.
“It’s so brilliant,” enthused Kitchissippi Councilor Katherine Hobbs, who was one of the judges tasked with the difficult job of choosing the best three snow figures. “This gets people outside and families working together.”
Randy Kemp, fellow judge and Chair of Wellington West’s BIA, was equally enthusiastic. “It’s fabulous,” he said. “It gets kids outside playing around.”
Ben Bosch, 6, said he had fun building a colourful Lego-themed snowman with his dad and brother Ronan, 9. The Bosch family hails from Aylmer, but are members of Parkdale United Church, whose ‘In from the Cold’ program was the beneficiary charity of the event.
Reverend Anthony Bailey said the supper program operates for five months of the year, feeding 150-160 guests every Saturday evening. The program received a $1,000 donation at the end of the event.
For those who missed the contest, or who want to take another stab at creating Parkdale Park’s top snowman, the event will be held again next year on the first Saturday in February.