History and heritage provided organizers with inspiration for this year’s Deep Freeze Festival on Jan. 13-14.

Christy Morin, artistic director, has roots in Eastwood and nearby communities. In 1949, her grandfather opened a store on 97 Street and 107 Avenue for two years. He travelled to local businesses, like the Italian Bakery, for supplies. Morin’s father lived in a house just two blocks from her present home when he was in Grade 2.

“I love the family heritage in our neighbourhood,” said Morin. “We want to go back to the roots of the community. There’s a lot of deep memories and happy memories. We want to bring back these happy pieces of the community and be able to plunge more into heritage and history.”

So this year, some activities will focus on homesteading.

Tim Moreland will lend his skills to the festival as a historic blacksmith.

“Most of the stuff I make ranges from around the fur trade,” Moreland said. During Deep Freeze, he will use a coal forge and hold demonstrations. “They’re going to see us taking raw steel and making it into usable implements.”

Edmonton has its own history with blacksmithing. In the Highlands and Beverly areas, blacksmithing was common.

“Blacksmithing is a dying trade,” Moreland added. “A lot of the older people find the sights, smells, and sounds of hammering bring back memories.”

Naomi Pahl, a local upcycle artist, will be outdoors making grape jelly and pickled carrots and providing samples of jam and pickles.

“I’ve been privileged to do a lot of homesteading practice,” said Pahl. She cans and preserves at home using her own produce. “It’s a way to provide for my family that’s eco-friendly and inexpensive. I’m really excited to show people it’s a possibility.”

Festivalgoers can also learn about fur trading and trapping with Robert Grande Jambe Jr., a fur trapper from Fort Chipewyan.

Deep Freeze continues to honour Ukrainian and French Canadian cultures. Jan. 13 will focus on French Canadian culture, while Jan. 14 will focus on Ukrainian culture. Indigenous cultures will be featured throughout the festival.

New this year for French Canadian activities is a Hercules hoist, where people lift logs of various weights using a pulley system

As for Ukrainian activities, Morin said, “The programming is the best yet.” Arts on the Ave is forging a partnership with St. John’s Institute, an organization focusing on promoting Ukrainian art and culture. During the weekend, take in Ukrainian dancing, music, art, and food.

If you enjoyed fiddle music last year, it’s back. “The fiddle is the motif between Ukrainian, French, and Indigenous cultures,” said Morin. Look for details in the festival program on locations of kitchen parties featuring fiddle music.

And don’t miss Indigenous activities like drumming and dancing.

“The round dance was such a success last year that we will be bringing it back,” said Morin.

Look for more program information online at deepfreezefest.ca.


Jan. 13-14, 2018

118 Ave, between 90-95 St

Free admission, but donations appreciated

Featured Image: Look forward to activities celebrating Indigenous cultures as well as fur-trapping demonstrations. | Marc J Chalifoux Photography