Hensall, Ontario – Iceculture started almost as a lark more than 17 years ago when Julian and Ann Bayley began making ice punch bowls for weddings. But then, what started out as a hobby – snowballed. Today this family-owned small-town Ontario company, which sits in a big blue building on the main street of the tiny town of Hensall, is a world-leader is its industry.
The Batman, Mask of Zorro and the Titanic movie premier parties all had Iceculture sculptures. So did all three of the Lord of the Rings premiers, and several of the Obama inauguration parties. Along with creating unique ice carvings for weddings and special events (ice vases, glasses, food displays, bowls embedded with real flowers) the company creates, ships and sets up everything from crystal clear ice bars for to complete ice lounges, to challenging locations around the world, such as Las Vegas, Thailand, Sydney and Dubai. Iceculture was even hired to create precise ice projectiles for NASA, so they could blast them at space shuttle skin to test it.
When Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Prize Iceculture provided the ice component to a special display at the Oslo Museum. For another event at the Rockerfeller Centre in New York, a lane of Fifth Ave. had to be shut down to move the ice for an 8-ton bridge into position. That night Natalie Cole sang perched atop the sculpted bridge created from Lake Huron water.
You might see Icecultureʼs work at a winter carnival such as Winterlude, or find yourself at one of their ice bars at the Ice Wine Festival in Niagara. Groups can arrange to tour through the Hensall facility and learn about the fascinating business (they are even outfitted in ʻNine Below Zeroʼ parkas.) Nintey-minute public tours are also available. Contact them Iceculture website for information on times.
Hensall is in Huron County which is part of a tourism region known as Shakespeare to the Shoreline. Cool communities you could also visit in the region include: the beach village of Grand Bend (lots of family fun & Nat Geo said one of world’s best sunsets), continuing north along Lake Huron the historic village of Bayfield (award-winning author Alice Munro ‘one of the world’s formost writers of fiction’ lives nearby and sometimes can be spotted in The Village Bookshop) and then further north along the shore – Goderich, home of both the world’s largest salt mine and one of the world’s top Celtic Festivals (with Celtic College.) A short drive away is the village of Blyth known for its popular theatre festival – an incubator of Canadian talent and content.
Iceculture Inc, 81 Brock St Hensall, Ontario