Snowy army invades Ottawa

It was minus 30 degrees with wind chill but nobody seemed affected by these weather conditions in the slightest. There was only one thing on everybody’s minds and it was breaking the Guinness World Record for the number of snowmen built in one hour.

Nearly 500 people gathered at the TD Place Stadium on Feb. 1 to participate in the snowman building challenge which was part of the six-day Cracking up the Capital comedy festival.

The participating teams looked excited, determined, energetic and ready to take on the challenge. There was only one problem – the snow conditions that day were not the best for snowman-making.

The dry, flaky snow had Dave Parker, from Team Magenta, thinking they weren’t going to make it that day.

“The snow isn’t cooperating with us,” says Parker. “With the right kind of snow we could probably break the record in about half an hour.”

Ideally, snow with moisture is best for holding a snowman together, he says.

“They’re not conventional snowmen,” says Parker, referring to the seven snowmen he and his team built that day. “They’re awkward snowmen. They look like weird inukshuks.”



Shaun Deeves from Team Verterra, posing with the tallest snowman built at the TD Place Stadium on Feb. 1. Deeves and his team built five snowmen in the challenge.


Ten seconds left on the timer and people scuttled around to add the last scarves, mitts and carrots to their snowmen.

When the time was up, the people waited eagerly as the jury counted the number of snowmen at the stadium.

Finally the announcer declared that Ottawa residents had built a total of 1299 snowmen in an hour, taking the honour away from Salt Lake City, Utah by a mere 20 snowmen. The crowd cheered and clapped. This was indeed a moment of pride for Ottawa.

The event was a fundraiser, helping raise money for local mental health charities, community groups and agencies like Do it for Daron, Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre and the Royal Ottawa.



Ottawa residents broke the Guinness World Record for the number of snowmen built in one hour on Feb. 1. The dry and fluffy snow made it challenging for the participating teams to build the snowmen.