Ice Hog legend – Winterlude

The Ice Hog family

Magical, timeless animals

This story begins once upon a time, many thousands of years ago… long before your parents, and your grandparents, were born… even before countries had names. It was the time of the last Ice Age. A group of magical, furry animals crossed an ice bridge over the Bering Strait from Russia to Alaska, and then they travelled deep into the Far North of what is now called Canada.

Mysterious winter creatures

These amazing creatures were Ice Hogs. They are related to ground hogs, but they are much larger, and much more mysterious. And they love everything about winter: the snow, the wind, the cold. Every year, they hold a great celebration to say goodbye to winter and remind it to come back and play again next year. Sometimes they spend weeks playing games, dancing and holding competitions.

Summer hibernation?

After their party, the Ice Hogs get ready to hibernate. They know that soon the weather will warm up, and they hate the warm, sticky weather. When the days get longer and the snow starts to melt, Ice Hogs burrow into the permafrost or under a glacier and sleep, nice and cold and cozy, all summer long. When the cold weather comes back in the fall, the Ice Hogs wake up from their long sleep and welcome winter.

Ice Hogs meet Winterlude

The Ice Hogs stayed hidden for a long, long time — until more than 35 years ago. But then Mr. Ice Hog heard about something interesting: it was a new winter celebration called “Winterlude” in Canada's Capital Region. Winterlude sounded like so much fun that Mr. Ice Hog set off to see it for himself.

A family affair

As you can imagine, the people who organize Winterlude were very surprised to see this magical visitor. They got acquainted, and Mr. Ice Hog said he'd be happy to be the Winterlude mascot and come back for the festival every year. He brought Mrs. Ice Hog with him the next year, and, a few years later, he brought the twins, Nouma and Noumi. And now you know how the Ice Hogs came to Winterlude!

The Ice Hog version of a tropical getaway!

The Ice Hogs enjoy visiting Canada's Capital so much that nowadays they come even before Winterlude for a longer visit. While they're here, they live in the Snowflake Kingdom, because they love playing on the snow structures, walking through the Park, watching people have fun, and giving big furry hugs to children. The Ice Hogs also like to go skating on the Rideau Canal and visit the other Winterlude sites to enjoy ice and snow sculptures, music and all sorts of performers.

Do you believe?

You may think that they walk, drive or take the bus to the other Winterlude sites. But some people say that those orange-painted holes in the Canal are not used only for flooding it to make a smooth skating surface. They say that the holes are magic doorways that the Ice Hogs use to get around quickly. Don't get too close to the holes, though, because there really is water underneath. But keep your eyes open — you never know what can happen with magical creatures!

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