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Smashed ice sculpture outside Calgary Chinatown business, ‘disappointing’

Members of Calgary’s Chinatown Business Improvement Area are frustrated after an ice sculpture outside an area business was destroyed Friday evening.

The sculpture outside the Silver Dragon Restaurant on Centre Street was crushed sometime around 6 p.m. Friday, according to Sukey Wong, administrator with the BIA.  

She told LiveWire Calgary that witnesses said two or three teenagers had tried using a blowtorch to damage the frozen art. Then, it was toppled over.

LiveWire Calgary hasn’t been able to independently confirm those details.

Wong said BIA board members were first notified by the owners of the Silver Dragon, who were alerted to the situation by a customer. The area was promptly cleaned up because the fragments could be dangerous, Wong said.

“We were very angry about the behaviour,” Wong said.

“We first thought of anti-Asian hate, but then we then we actually see that it’s teenager, we know that it was pretty much probably they just did it for fun.”

The Calgary police District 1 office was notified of the incident, Wong said.

Celebration of the Lunar New Year

Wong said there are five ice sculptures placed outside of Chinatown businesses. It was a BIA-funded initiative that’s been going on now for five years.  It’s to help celebrate the Year of the Rabbit.

This was the only one that was damaged.

“It’s very disappointing, because we were only planning to be putting out for about a week or two,” Wong said.  

“It’s always depending on the weather itself. When it gets too warm, it just wouldn’t last too long.

Ward 7 Coun. Terry Wong, who had started the ice sculpture program five years ago when he was a part of the BIA, said he was surprised to hear of the damage.

“The ice sculptures, once they’re put up and once they’re frozen, they’re tremendously hard to knock over. It’s literally impossible,” the councillor said.

“If you’re gonna knock the entire thing over, you’re right at the midsection there so I was surprised by how that happened.”

He said it’s devastating for the community and the BIA, who have put time and creativity into the project.

Sukey Wong said that it’s unlikely that they’ll get the artist to reproduce this piece. It would take a few days to complete, schedules may conflict and with the recent warming trend, the others may be melted by the time a new one is finished.

Other Chinatown ice sculptures

A rabbit, one of the Chinatown BIA ice sculptures on Saturday, February 4, 2023. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY
A rabbit, one of the Chinatown BIA ice sculptures on Saturday, February 4, 2023. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY