Ice sculpture warms heart of Canadian capital

Latvia’s Ambassador to Canada Juris Audariņš unveiled the country’s official diplomatic gift acting in its EU Council’s Presidency to its host state abroad – the ice sculpture ‘Sun bearer’, in downtown Ottawa for the capital city’s annual Winterlude festival celebrations this weekend, reported the Foreign Ministry Monday.

The staff of Latvia’s Consulate in Ottawa, as well as the creators Kārlis Īle and Maija Puncule, were on hand Sunday with many members of the local Latvian community to help unveil the work, symbolically lighting its installed illumination.

Īle is credited with authorship of ‘Sun bearer’, but was assisted in the two-person teamwork by Puncule. At the center of the sculpture is the Sun Horse, decorated with Latvian folk signs. On its back the horse carries the Sun Sign, the carrier of light, symbol of life and eternal movement in Latvian mythology. It rides across a bridge symbolizing Latvia and Canada united through a vine of intertwined maple and oak leaves, each a strong national symbol.

The Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun both gave Canada’s present from the Presidency of the Council of the EU plenty of coverage, as did the smattering of social media sharers. The Sun called the work "jaw-dropping".

Works by Īle and Puncule (and other artists) are currently still also taking part in the International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in Harbin, China this month. The Sun reports that the Latvian ice-carving teams won the event for a third time.

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