WinterPLAY Winter Carnival
Winter may be a long season here in Fort McMurray, but we make the most of it! Events like the 10-day Syncrude WinterPLAY Carnival, featuring winter activities from ice carving and skating to a drama festival and midway, make winter a favourite season for visitors and residents alike.
From the moment the first fireworks explode into the crystal-clear night sky to mark the beginning of the festivities, Fort McMurray’s annual WinterPLAY Carnival is a whirlwind of fun in the snow, featuring the very best the winter season has to offer. Cuddle up to a crackling bonfire at Haxton Park, or stroll through the ethereal beauty of the ice garden in Doug McCrae park, featuring ice sculptures from internationally-acclaimed ice artists and an intricately-carved ice castle for children to explore.
There are plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy, including a day of skiing, snowboarding and tubing at Vista Ridge, Fort McMurray’s picturesque ski hill. Take the family for a skate on the community skating pond, or walk the children’s midway and enjoy rides, games, face painters and roving performers. A sweet treat is the perfect end to a winter’s day with a stop at the French Canadian sugar shack for hand-rolled maple taffy candy.
For the more adventurous at heart, MacDonald Island Park features the ever-popular Polar Bear swim. The Shootout on the Snye, a community hockey game, has been a Fort McMurray favourite for decades as fans young and old gather to watch the puck drop on the downtown Snye waterway.
If you’re looking for a way to enjoy the carnival and stay warm at the same time, there are plenty of indoor activities. The WinterPLAY festival of the performing arts features three days of musical and dramatic performances for those looking for a little culture, held at Keyano College’s artsy downtown campus. Check out “Hot Acts & Cool Plays,” the acclaimed one-act play festival, or find your inner star at the Music Star Search. The artisan’s marketplace is a great place to pick up a unique piece of Fort McMurray, handmade by one of the region’s many talented craftspeople and artists.
Experience a piece of the region’s rich cultural history during the Family Dog Sled Rides, which tracks an old mail route through the wilderness between Fort McMurray and Fort Chipewyan.
The WinterPLAY Carnival features events and activities in six communities across the region, from the northern hamlet of Fort Chipewyan to the more southern community of Conklin. The carnival is more than just fun in the snow – it brings the entire region of Wood Buffalo together, making the frosty season just a little bit warmer!