New Zealand man builds colourful igloo in Edmonton for girlfriend

Lia Grainger
Shine On
January 7, 2013

There are a lot of ways to show your girlfriend you love her. One New Zealander visiting his girlfriend in Edmonton this winter decided to do it by building a giant rainbow igloo.

Kiwi Daniel Gray and his Canadian girlfriend Kathleen Starrie came to Edmonton for the holidays to visit Starrie’s family for five weeks, a prospect that made Starrie’s mom a little nervous.

"I wanted to keep him occupied, not with my daughter necessarily. I wanted to keep him busy with something else," Starrie’s mom Brigid Burton tells Global News Edmonton. So she came up with a plan — Gray would build an igloo in the backyard.

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Burton began freezing blocks of coloured ice in two litre milk containers months in advance. Once the couple arrived, the family set to work erecting the structure. It took five days to complete, with the temperature dipping as low as −25. Gray used what he calls “snowcrete” — a mixture of snow and water — to stick the blocks together.

Burton certainly came up with a Canadian project for her daughter's beau.

According to the CBC, it’s been decades since igloos were common in Inuit communities. These snow houses could apparently stay as warm as zero degrees when the outside temperature was as low as −40.

What started as a make work project has made headlines around the world. Images of the project have more than 10,000 views on Reddit, and the story has been covered by the U.K.’s Daily Mail and numerous publications in Gray’s native land.

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Though Gray was initially contemplating sleeping in his creation, he says he’s changed his mind and doesn’t think that will be happening. What started as a bit of bizarre chore has now turned more into a labour of love for the New Zealand engineer.

“I said, if you want my daughter’s hand, then you have to complete this, and he did it,” Burton tells Global News of her reasons for pressuring the young man to erect the structure.

“That was the deal,” admits Gray.

He says he’s happy he was able to finish the ambitious project, but that they’re not in any hurry to get married at the moment.

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