Teira Arnault’s 15-year-old daughter Alyssa Flamand stands next to a deteriorating igloo on April 15, just before Arnault removed the structure for the season. This is the third year that Arnault built an igloo at the Welcome to Hay River sign.
Photo courtesy of Teira Arnault

After another winter of adding a colourful touch of culture to Hay River, the iconic igloo at the Welcome to Hay River sign was taken down on April 15.

“The day before, I drove by and there was a hole in the front of it, so I figured I better knock it down before it gets any worse,” said Teira Arnault, who built the igloo for the third year in a row.

Arnault noted the igloo was getting thin on the side where the sun would hit it.

“It gets to be an eyesore, too,” she said. “People drive in and see that it’s not as nice as before. And then safety, too. I didn’t want it to fall on anybody. The back side of it was still pretty solid, so there’s some weight there.”

Arnault said the igloo had not deteriorated to the point of being dangerous, noting she watches it closely over the winter.

She finished building this year’s igloo on Feb. 1.

This year’s version lasted the longest of the three Arnault has built.

“The last two years it was melted in probably the beginning of March or the middle of March,” she said. “I think we got some warmer weather there two years in a row.”

This year’s igloo again earned a good response from the public.

“I think everybody enjoys seeing it every year,” said Arnault. “I saw a few people comment and say that they come into town and see people out there getting pictures. So it really brings some attention to our Hay River sign. It’s nice to see coming into town.”

She hasn’t decided if she will once again build an igloo next year.

“I usually wait ’til the last minute to decide,” she said, explaining it will be determined by how she feels at the time and work commitments. “If I have the time to do it.”

However, she admitted to feeling a little bit of pressure from the community to create the igloos.

The first one appeared in 2018 as Arnault’s personal tribute to the Arctic Winter Games and it quickly became something of an icon at the Welcome to Hay River sign.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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