The annual Winterloo ceremony usually brings the Kitchener-Waterloo community together to celebrate winter in the region, with activities like skating, hockey tournaments, or dog sledding.
With the pandemic in full force, Winterloo has changed. This year, the festival is a choose your own adventure experience, with safe activities available throughout the region.
One Waterloo sculptor found his own way to contribute to the experience. On Feb. 1, 2021, Matt Morris began making figures out of snow around Waterloo.
Morris stated that when it comes to Winterloo, a lot of changes were made for this year. Therefore, his solution was to secretly carve snow sculptures to ensure there wouldn’t be a crowd. “We wanted to make sure that there [weren’t] any issues that way,” he said.
The snow sculptures are usually distributed around Uptown Waterloo so people can view them in groups, but the same cannot be said with Morris’ work this year. His awe-inspiring recreation of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is on display on his front lawn for the public to see.
The best part, according to Morris, is the reaction on their faces whenever they walk or drive by. For Morris, this is his way to touch the hearts of everyone and he hopes his work will lift their spirits.
Morris’ replica caught the attention of William Slofstra and his family who remembered the time they went on a trip to Italy.
“We love to go for walks all the time, it’s just great to get out of the house, but this is a plus,” Slofstra explained. For him, just looking at the replica brought back a wonderful memory.
Morris has a history of inspiring future snow sculptors. Last summer, he set up an online snow sculpting club, and two junior sculptors, Isla and Wesley Sloss, made good use of their trips.
Isla recalls, “I was just looking at pictures online and what to make and I just thought of an avocado. I learned some of it from Matt and some of it from my brother.”
Wesley added that his sculptures enlighten the viewers, and said that when he and Isla were outside, people would take pictures of their work and compliment them by giving them thumbs up and saying “good job.” The compliments Wesley received, added with the photos people took, made him feel very honoured.
Morris’s creativity is also helping him figure out new ideas for Winterloo. He is encouraging people to make their own sculptures this year, creating brand new contributions for the festival.
Morris recommends letting the snow sinter, that is, to let the snow go through a melting and freezing process. That way, it is not important to pack a heavy amount of snow.
It is delightful to hear that artists within the Kitchener-Waterloo area are inspiring future creators by not only presenting their work but also showing them how to make their own creations and giving them new ideas to ensure that people come together. Even the smallest of ideas can make a huge difference for the community.