Toronto Through My Lens

Tag: Yorkville

So Long, Icefest

Traditionally, one winter event I always look forward to in Toronto is the Bloor-Yorkville Icefest. It makes for a great photo opp and a chance to admire some truly amazing ice sculptures created by very talented artists.

The event is usually held about this time every year, so about two weeks ago I started prowling the Internet for event details. After practically reaching the end of the Internet and not finding any listings for Icefest (except for stale information from last year’s event), I learned that the Bloor-Yorkville Icefest has been permanently cancelled after many successful years of its run… say WHAT!?

To that end, I finally found the following media release on the Bloor-Yorkville BIA website:

A Message from Bloor-Yorkville Icefest

Bloor-Yorkville Icefest is an annual event, produced by the Bloor-Yorkville BIA,
for the past 17 years, bringing the community together to celebrate winter and to
support important charitable causes.

Unfortunately, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Icefest for the
foreseeable future. This decision was made in response to logistical challenges
and limitations, which have impacted our ability to organize and execute the
event successfully. We are immensely grateful to all our suppliers who have been
incredible partners in developing Bloor-Yorkville Icefest through the years, and
we also would like to thank the community, our businesses and our annual
sponsors for their continued support.

Well… crap! Another Toronto tradition bites the dust…

The Bloor-Yorkville Icefest Gallery

So, in light of Icefest’s demise I present to you a collection of images from its past few years – an Icefest Retrospective, if you will. Just click on the first image to launch the slideshow; hovering your mouse over the image will pause the slideshow.


Bloor-Yorkville Icefest 2023

I’ve always enjoyed the annual Bloor-Yorkville Icefest, and it was great to see it return this past weekend after being waylaid for a couple of years by COVID-19. Despite that, though, I was so incredibly disappointed in this year’s offering – the energy and effort just weren’t there. I think ice sculpture placement had a lot to do with it – unlike previous years the event this year was decentralized, the activities and events scattered throughout Yorkville and Bloor Street West. Usually, Icefest lines Cumberland Street from Bay Street to Avenue Road; considerable energy and vibe is generated as a result.

Here’s how this year’s sculptures and activities were presented:

Ice sculpture and event map

Ice Sculptures on Bloor Street West

There were 6 or 7 works installed along Bloor Street West:

“Second Harvest: Coast to Coast”
“The Chess Knight”
“Sparkling Crystal”
“Climbing At Clouds”
“Young Cerberus”
“Friends of the Forest World”

Later That Night…

As I’ve done during previous Icefests, I returned later at night with expectations of catching some of the sculptures softly bathed in coloured spotlights. No luck on that score this year; all that was offered were these four figures on Bloor Street West at Bay Street, starkly lit by what appeared to be LED or florescent tubes:

“The Melancholic Mermaid”
“Etheric Pegasus”
“Whimsical Castle”
“The Princess Dress”

Meanwhile, Over at the Village of Yorkville Park

Leaving Bloor Street behind me, I ventured over to the Village of Yorkville Park on Cumberland Street, which traditionally serves as the epicentre of the event. With camera and enthusiasm at the ready, I was let down: there were no ice sculptures at the site, only people wandering aimlessly about looking for said sculptures.

“Ice Wall Projections”
According to the organizers, this ice wall was to serve as a projection screen for colourful lights. All I saw was a blank wall with a swarm of Instagrammers vying for space to take their selfies.

Organizers promoted the ice wall by saying:

Enjoy the sights and fantasies and immerse yourselves in a whimsical experience, as ice comes to life through a magically carved Ice Wall. As the sun goes down, take a glance at hidden dreams as Icefest offers you tailor-made projections on ice artwork, located in the Village of Yorkville Park.

Huh? Was this the same event?

I wandered the Park to see what else might be happening:

LED lights (not ice)
Balzac’s was there, serving ice coffee from their ice counter
I thought the Balzac ice tables were kind of interesting

All in all though, it was good to see people out and about again. Here’s hoping next year’s festival will be a little more inspiring.

Photo Galleries of Icefest’s Previous Years

If you’d like to see a couple of my Bloor-Yorkville Icefest photo galleries from previous (and much better) years, please click on the links below:

Icefest 2019

Theme: Hollywood North

Icefest 2015

Theme: Frozen In Time

Murals at 99 Yorkville Avenue

At the address of 99 Yorkville Avenue there is a courtyard currently hosting some very impressive murals (with no tagging or graffiti!). Annually, the Yorkville Village hosts an event called, surprisingly enough, Yorkville Murals. This annual festival celebrates public art and offers a unique opportunity to see new murals, meet and discover the mural artists, and enjoy food and drinks in a fun atmosphere at the heart of the city. The 2022 event has passed, but some of the impressive murals remain.

Created by Montreal-based artist Ola Volo
This mural was created by French artist Mathieu Bories. In courtyard of 99 Yorkville Avenue.
On the side of Taglialatella Galleries building in courtyard of 99 Yorkville Avenue
In courtyard of 99 Yorkville Avenue
In courtyard of 99 Yorkville Avenue
By artist whatisadam. In courtyard of 99 Yorkville Avenue.

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