Stunning three-metre-high ice formations transform the shores of Lake Winnipeg

Manitoba’s beaches aren’t usually a big attraction in the winter, but people flocked to the shores of Lake Winnipeg last weekend to witness a fantastic collection of ice formations.

The formations resulted from strange weather patterns moving through the province this winter—a mix of typical freezing temperatures and unseasonably warm weather.

In early December, strong northeast winds lead to waves lapping up on the shores of Winnipeg Beach, which eventually turned to slush. As the months wore on, the slush continued to pile up along the beach and eventually froze, creating jagged ridges of ice.

Last week, when warm weather and rainfall swept through the region, it polished the formations into the smooth and stunning boulders that are now drawing crowds.

Winnipeg Beach Mayor, Tony Pimental, has lived in the small lakeside community for 30 years. He told CBC News that he’s never seen so many stunning ice sculptures, and certainly not ones of such epic proportions.

They’ve also taken on a variety of interesting shapes, and photographers are taking note.

“Especially in black and white, there’s very little that you could shoot that would be more dramatic than that stuff,” Winnipeg-resident Roger Rempel told reporters.

The setting was particularly dramatic when Rempel arrived at the beach on Sunday and the balmy January temperatures caused a thick fog to roll in.

Armed with his camera, Rempel decided to make the 70-kilometre trip from Winnipeg after hearing about the formations late last week. When he arrived, he found lots of other photographers roaming the beach’s icy shores.

It can be tough to get a sense of just how powerful these sculptures appear in person, but you’ll have a better idea once you notice the small figures walking across them in some of Rempel’s images.