Deep Freeze to have a different twist on celebrations this year

If there’s anything Arts on the Ave has proven this year, it’s that there’s always a way to be creative and bring art and joy to others. Such is the case with this January’s Deep Freeze: A Byzantine Winter Fête.

In previous years, Deep Freeze was held in the area of 118 Avenue, from 90 to 95 Street. This year is different, with installations scattered throughout the area and other events held online instead of in-person. Organizers and artists will beautify parks, parkettes, and league spaces. Expect to see lanterns, lighting, and ice sculptures.

Christy Morin, artistic director, says, “It’s all about experiencing winter in our community, from Borden Park in the west all the way to Westwood and Spruce Ave. Hopefully Borden Park will have big ice installations.”

The theme this year is The Fiddle and Fables, with art and activities reflecting that theme. 

“Fiddle is the motif for all three cultures,” says Morin. French and Indigenous cultures use the fiddle for jigs, and the Ukrainian culture uses it for dancing. 

Ukrainian, French, and Indigenous culture will be honoured as always. | Epic Photography

Ice sculptures will feature characters from fables, and people can read the stories or go online to hear the stories. “We’ll get storytellers from the three cultures to tell fables.” 

“Our hope is that each league will have ice sculptures,” says Morin. “We’re still going to have the ice slide.” 

Due to COVID-19, large gatherings of people won’t happen. “We will bring winter magic and illumination,” says Morin. “We encourage visitors, but to follow COVID guidelines as they change.” Visit for all updated restrictions and guidelines.

Another feature is lighting. Dylan Toymaker, an Edmonton artist who creates lighting design, light sculptures, and lantern art, is involved. “We’ll have great sidewalk light ups.”

Gabrielle deGouw, a lantern artist, is lending her artistic hand to the celebration. Also, expect to find sketches and paintings in the area.

Celebrations will be different this year, but organizers are still finding ways for fun. | Epic Photography

Do-it-yourself activities will be online. Naomi Pahl, an area resident, will demonstrate how to make borscht, a Ukrainian beet soup. Other videos taught by different instructors will include how to make bannock muffins and mini sugar pies.

Morin adds, “Naomi will be teaching with her kids how to make birdfeeders.”

Pahl is also creating a giant flannel graph canvas, which harkens back to the 1970s. “Teachers would put up paper and felt characters,” explains Morin. “It’s like a felt storyboard.” The canvas will be made with timbers and reused wool blankets to look like a winter landscape.

“We’re going to move it through the communities,” says Morin. There people can add things like tree appliqué and lights. “Make your own person or character to add to the landscape.”

Watch social media at or for further development and information. 

People can also participate in a scarf installation; take or leave a warm scarf on a tree. “If your neck needs it, take it. Or, take a picture and post it on social media.” Use the hashtag #findfundeepfreeze2021. 

“Continue loving winter and appreciate the crispness of winter,” says Morin. “We’re committed to keeping the community uplifted through the arts. We thank our community supporters, grants, and partners. Without them, we would be without the magic of winter.”


Jan. 8-22, 2021 (dates flexible)

Various locations throughout the area

Visit for more information

Featured Image: Ice sculptures will still be a part of the celebrations this year. | Epic Photography