ice formations toronto waterfront

Winter storm leaves behind gorgeous ice formations

One of the fringe benefits of a sudden cold spell or winter storm is that the Toronto waterfront can turn into something of an open air art gallery with dazzling ice "sculptures" spread across the shore. It doesn't happen every year — last winter wasn't cold enough, for instance — but when the conditions are right, the results are spectacular.

Local photographer Frank Lemire was on hand this weekend to capture the ice formations in all their glory. "I grew up in the beaches and now live in Leslieville," he explains. Ashbridges Bay has long been one of my favorite places to get away from the city while still being in it. Every time a wave breaks on the shore (or ice) part of it flows back into the lake, the rest gets frozen as a fresh layer, like tree rings. If winds are strong enough and waves big enough, the water sprays over the top of the ice, freezing, and thus builds up thicker and thicker."

Unfortunately it's typically a short-lived show. With warm temperatures kicking in post-snowstorm, Lemire imagines that the formations have likely all melted by now. It's possible, of course, that they'll return again — but for now at least we have the pictures. Some of them look like Lawren Harris paintings, though the infrared ones might just be the most stunning of all.

To see more of Lemire's work, you can check out his website and his current show at Lazy Daisy's Cafe until March 1st.

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