Sculptors look to ’80s for inspiration at Toronto’s annual Icefest

Published On February 13, 2020 | By Trang Tran | Life
One of dozens of ice sculptures on display in Bloor-Yorkville as part of the area’s annual Icefest event on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9. (Trang Tran)
Trang Tran

Yorkville Park became a winter wonderland on Feb. 8, when dozens of ice sculptures sprung up in the area for the Sassafraz Ice Carving Competition.

The contest, part of Bloor-Yorkville’s 15th annual Icefest, tasked local ice carvers with sculpting a piece of art according to theme “Awesome ’80s.”

Thomas Grass, who has worked as an ice sculptor for more than two years, crafted a wizard from the role-playing board game Dungeon and Dragons.

Thomas Grass, a participant in this year’s Sassafraz Ice Carving Competitio, sketches his sculpture before getting to work. (Trang Tran)

Steven Benns, another Sassafraz competitor, carved a replica of an ’80s-style wooden television set that he said was “too heavy to move.”

“This carving brings back memories of my childhood in the ’80s,” Benns said. “So I thought that was really cool.”

The ’80s theme was reflected in other attractions at the event, including the decor, vintage arcade games and music.

DJ Daniel Buckman strikes a pose with dancers at the 15th annual Icefest in the Bloor-Yorkville area. (Trang Tran)

Local DJ Daniel Buckman spun ’80s tracks from an on-site warming lounge.

“Last year, we played a lot of disco and this year we’re playing the great music of the ’80s,” Buckman said.

More than 30,000 kilograms of ice were carved into sculptures that were on display at this year’s Icefest.

The event is organized by the Bloor-Yorkville BIA and includes ice-carving demos, displays and music and dance performances.

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