One Waterloo man's passion for snow sculpting is turning his work into a social sensation within the Region.
Matt Morris, a resident of Waterloo and snow sculptor, has been creating some cool structures in front of his house on William Street North, for the past eight years.
His work has become so popular that in 2018, Morris was asked by the City of Waterloo to create a snow sculpture of a bear in Uptown Waterloo, and has been asked to perform in Winterloo in January 2020.
"I had no idea that this would take me in this direction." says Morris, reflecting on his work.
"It's a great hobby, I get a workout, there's nothing I have to store and I get to work on these eight foot structures, what more could you want?"
Morris says his interest in snow sculpting came from building igloos and ice rinks with his kids, but it was a joke to his wife that gave him his first snow sculpture idea.
"We saw a Moai [statue] at the museum and I said to my wife 'Wouldn't that be fun to build in our snowbank?' " says Morris.
After successfully creating a Moai that winter, Morris has gone on to build more snow sculptures, including structures of feet, movie characters, Mick Jagger and more.
His work with snow has drawn a lot of fascination from neighbours and residents.
"It surprised me how much interaction I've gotten from my community." say Morris, "When they see the tower of snow, some think it's plastic, and then I have others who wonder how I do it."
According to Morris, there is a smaller window of opportunity to create his art compared to other areas of Ontario, like Port Elgin, which experience a lot of snow.
"Snow is always a challenge. I've even gone to the length or putting a tarp in my backyard to create a nice, clean pile of snow to create my sculptures." says Morris.
Gathering the snow is one thing, but Morris says bringing his sculpture to life has its own challenges.
"Half the whole trick is building the tower of snow, and how do you do that?" says Morris, "I discovered three millimetre plastic, think of an eight foot long crazy carpet, so it's a thick carpet of two feet wide and eight feet long and as the snow goes in, you pound the snow so it all compacts."
Morris says to make his sculptures, he prefers using non-packing snow due to it's ability to bind, or sinter, together.
"It seems to lock in a very consistent way and yet remain very carvable." says Morris.
After the snow sinters, Morris says the best part of this process is revealing the block of snow.
"It's always fun at the end when you pull away that plastic and--viola-- you have this eight foot tower ready for carving." says Morris.
Morris says sculpting can take anywhere from 20 minutes to three hours, depending on how complex the project is.
This year, Morris says he is planning to create more curved structures, including the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which will be illuminated by a light and rotate.
"I'm not a sculptor or an artist, but I'm developing some skills along the way." says Morris, "There's so much to learn in this medium."
To learn more about Morris's sculptures, go to snowbankproductions.weebly.com.
Interested residents can also track the progress of Morris's latest work on social media.