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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.


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