Our city has seen quite a few immersive art experiences and this holiday season will no doubt continue to inspire and excite. Already on my calendar is the upcoming SNOW MAGIC coming to Ontario Place. Beginning November 12 and running till January 16, the unique art, tale, soundscape and fun contactless drive-thru experience for all ages will light up the nights. A dream-filled world with mythical creatures, light tunnels, and awe-inspiring works by some of the most creative minds in the contemporary art scene today some of whom have been featured at notable events such as Burning Man and Nuit Blanche. This multidisciplinary collection of artists have not shown together in this way before.
We checked in with Crystal Siemens, Snow Magic’s creative director, Torontonian and global nomad behind the upcoming winter wonderland to find out more…
What is the inspiration behind Snow Magic?
CS: Expect the unexpected with storytelling! Innovative and beautiful, mysterious and fun, thought provoking and dreamy within a fantastical world is the inspiration for Snow Magic. The Drive Thru Fun Co. team creates an intimate immersive experience that is seen and felt and heard. Realize a true otherworldly adventure while enjoying surround sound in your car that is awe-inspiring with orchestral, natural and new sounds too!
There’s a story behind this experience, tell us more?
CS: A wonder filled Map and Art Cards (found on DriveThruFunCo.com) connect a tale experienced in three drive thru realms: Celestial, Terra Firma and Oceanic. It is within this narrative that fire, ice and light effects fuse to create 18 incredible moments of discovery. This superb gathering of acclaimed Canadian artists has sparked a Drive Thru Fun Co. collaborative opportunity to share a tale that is intimate and grand yet always innovative. Get up close to Sirius, the brightest star in the sky; feel the mighty presence of Tarna the Jackalope’s flaming antlers, a legendary creature; surround yourself in Icicle Cave, crystalline caverns; swim within Earth Resist, deep sea creatures; weave through the Enchanted Forest, animated tree sculptures. Flip the Art Cards and learn the tale for yourself!
You are the explorer. You are in an adventure. You are on a personal journey. Snow Magic invites your imagination to open, and dream.
Why drive through and not walk through as many arts & culture venues are safely opening up?
CS: Drive thru is a great way to discover your journey that is comprised of such massive sculptures and sights, plus, the soundscape composer is an amazing gifted storyteller. The exclusive soundscape composition is bold and emotionally engaging so you can choose the volume you want to play in your very own space shared with your loved ones! What’s not to love about that! The awe-inspiring sound moves with you, and is integral, as the tale unfolds. Additionally, lest we forget, we present Snow Magic in constantly evolving times and so we reflect that consciousness by creating something that can harbor any challenges and still be open – always – for everyone!
We planned the event to be a drive thru experience as we wanted a contactless and COVID-safe environment for our guests. The route is designed for cars and it is also quite cold down by the lake so we also have a way for our guests to stay warm. At this point there are no plans for walk thru or bikes.
How did you decide on which installations and artists to include?
CS: We thrive on innovation and thus we enjoy to revolve in a space where thinking outside the box is the norm. Our love of original creation and exceptional artists is expressed well in Snow Magic. The team is diverse and thus connected to a vast network of new and established talents in art, music and culture from across the country. It is challenging to choose few among so many but it was absolutely thrilling to experience artists’ excitement when sharing our creative concept. Of course, the right chemistry for the Snow Magic theme is paramount. This collaboration is totally a joy and all onboard for this year has driven us to dream of future happenings to create. Our collaborative imaginations have no limit!
The selected Snow Magic artists are from across Canada and that diversity definitely is an inspiration for us. And, this year, we are super excited to also include an international artist, the Snow Magic soundscape composer, who came highly recommended from a well known Canadian music artist. We appreciate this kind of openness within the arts community and so we celebrate that too. Some artists are solo while others are teams and even large collectives. We love that! Artist mediums are diverse too: sculpture, lighting design, animation, projection mapping, analog and digital, experts in laser affects, wood, acrylics, fire, metal, fabric and printing.
Check out DriveThruFunCo.com Experience page. All Art inspiration and narrative is noted under each Art Card. Celestial, Terra Firm and Oceanic areas are shown on the Snow Magic Map and also Art Cards are color coded to match.
Here are the artists participating in SNOW MAGIC ARTIST LIST (in alphabetical order alongside art piece name) Note: some artists have more than one installation which is indicated with comma.
Brian T. Moore – Phantasmagoria, Blizzard, Cosmic Dream
Calabra – Icicle Cave
Max Streicher – Wild Torus
Metaverse Arts – Heavy Meta
Nadine Bariteau – Do Angels Exist
Nathan Whitford – Sirius, Snow Moon
Philippe Blanchard – Enchanted Forest
Ryan Longo – Anglerfish, Stingrays, Sea Tangle, Earth Resist
Studio F Minus – Escaping Gravity
Tarna Industries – Tarna the Jackalope
Snow Magic – Aurora Borealis, Castle (contribution from the Drive Thru Fun Co Creative Team)
Miff Zawadzki – Soundscape Composer
What can you tell us about the artist behind the audio experience?
CS: Miff Zawadzki is an original composition flows from the brilliant imagination of this narrative composer. A sound story that seizes the moment, is intriguing and heartfelt, expands the Snow Magic world. It’s a fusion of strings, horns, synthesizers, nature and new sounds too. Always compelling, it is playful yet mysterious and sometimes contemplative. Feel its mesmerizing pulse.
Miff is a United Kingdom national and is based there. Miff came to us highly recommended by a noted Canadian music artist. Included in our shortlist amongst Canadian musicians Miff stood out til the end. When it’s right, it’s right!
Will there be any point where visitors and the selfie-generation can get out of their vehicles?
CS: The Snow Magic experience truly surrounds you in a way like no other drive thru experience does. As you move through the tale you drive right up close, around, behind, beside and even through some of the creations! You sometimes even get to see the mechanics of how something works. This is in addition to the tunnels! We aim to stimulate and inspire but also encourage learning too. Basically you are completely ‘inside’ the experience for real. Lots of opportunity for instagram worthy selfies.
For our guest safety, distancing and traffic flow reasons, we have no stopping points to get out of the car and take a selfie, all photos that our guests take will be from their cars, selfies included!
What else should we know?
CS: In the comfort of your home, with family or friends, you can explore what the adventure holds for you at our website DriveThrufunCo.com. You can check this out anytime – when you book your tickets or after you have returned from Snow Magic. Take a deep dive into the EXPERIENCE page where you will find an adventure Map, an interactive flip card artist deck to learn the delightful inspiration story of why each piece is part of the tale, to find out about the game, or know about special happenings.
Check them out on social! Their handle is @drivethrufunco, where you will find pictures of art pieces in-the-making, artist bio close ups and happenings news.
Ticket prices for Snow Magic range from $45 – $65 per vehicle (peak pricing and non-peak pricing options). General Early Access Tickets are now on sale. Guests can choose preferred date and time slots for their visit. Drive Thru Fun Co. has also partnered with the SickKids Hospital Foundation, $1 for every Snow Magic ticket sold, will be donated to SickKids.