Watching the faces of children light up in wonder make a Winnipeg woman's annual whimsical sculptures worth it.
A new sculpture has surfaced on a Grenfell Boulevard front yard. The homeowner, Gail Asper, has been commissioning family-friendly snow sculptures for more than a decade.
"I think for me winters are tough in Manitoba," Asper says. "I think we have to find ways to celebrate them and doing snow sculptures is my way of celebrating and remembering how amazing it is that not that many cities have enough snow and enough cold to make snow sculptures worthwhile."
This year, Asper is talking about the elephant in the yard - her yard to be exact. She had commissioned a three-meter tall sculpture of Dumbo and a tiny Timothy Q. Mouse from a Winnipeg husband and wife duo, Gary Tessier and Madeleine Vrignon.
"Dumbo (is) finally finished. Madeleine added the mouse. Had to re-dig Dumbo out of yesterday's snowfall," Tessier wrote in Instagram, showing off his work Wednesday.
The sculpture needed to be bulky; otherwise, Asper says they would not survive the changing temperatures in Winnipeg.
"I know these sculptures are surprising and they give people a lot of joy," Asper says. "I am the only one praying for cold weather in Winnipeg."
She began having the large snow sculptured built on her yard in the mid-2000s after the Assiniboine Park decided it would not put snow sculptures up again. Asper knew she wanted to keep seeing the joy that came from the park's Winnie the Pooh sculpture.
"I will never forget seeing little kids getting out of cars and running to give Winnie a hug."
As a fan of those sculptures and the ones that pop up for Festival du Voyageur, she decided to bring that joy home. For more than a decade, characters like Shrek and Spongebob have been calling her yard home for the winter. Last year's Winnie the Pooh got a lot of traction.
"We were sitting in the den watching tv and there would be these cars driving up and these families getting out, which I loved," she says. "People were putting their kids in the honey pot and taking pictures. That is exactly what I wanted from this."