Record snowfalls and the work of a Morley Road resident has brought a new addition to the street’s park which many youngsters are finding a-maze-ing.
Chic Callas first put in the new snow maze at the park just after the Nov. 2 storm that saw a 45-centimetre snowfall in Whitehorse. He spent time cutting pathways through the snow with his shovel creating the feature.
“I was just in the mood for it,” Callas said in a March 2 interview. “I find (mazes) entertaining.”
When his own kids — who are now in their 30s — were young, the family had a cabin on a lake near Yellowknife and during their winter visits to the cabin, Callas would tramp through the snow outside the cabin creating mazes for them. There, the kids would play hide and seek, along with other games and make their way through the labyrinth paths.
At Easter, Callas and his wife would hide and — unknown to their kids — re-hide eggs in the mazes for them to find, a fun activity that kept the kids busy, having fun outside as they celebrated the holiday.
It had been many years since Callas had created a maze, but he saw the opportunity with the November storm and thought some of the local kids — including three who live next door to him and his wife — might enjoy it.
|The maze Chic Callas created at the Morely Street park in Riverdale in Whitehorse is seen March 2, 2021. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)|
He began by cutting three paths with his shovel through the snow amid the treed area of the park.
With each snowfall, after shovelling his own driveway, Callas now makes his way across the street, shovel in hand to move snow from the maze pathways, adding height to the maze walls.
“I just keep it maintained,” he said, noting the process takes about 45 minutes. “This is kind of nice and easy.”
As Callas pointed out, given the global pandemic he hasn’t been to the gym and this is a good way to get outside and get a bit of exercise. Callas has also been known to get in some exercise clearing the park’s rink with his shovel.
Over the course of the past few months, Callas has also added features and cleared out what started as dead-ends in the labyrinth to connect them to the various paths.
Circular mounds of snow at the end of paths greet those traversing the maze. Carved out of one of the mounds is three small steps to a snow slide, just the right size for a preschooler.
While both school-aged kids and preschoolers have been seen playing in the maze, Callas said the maze does seem best-suited to younger kids.
Pointing to his neighbours with three kids — the youngest being five years old and the oldest being in their early teens — he said while the older two have explored the maze a few times, it’s the five-year-old who seems to enjoy it most.
Weekends often see preschoolers out at the park with their families taking in the maze along with the rink, while school kids are known to make their way through the maze pathways more through the week after the school day wraps up.
In a bit of throwback to their holidays spent at their cabin when their kids were young, Callas and his wife had some fun placing candy canes around the maze for young explorers to find.
While Callas enjoys creating and maintaining the maze, he said if he were to do it again, he would likely change things up a bit. The pathways could be wider, he said, noting that would also provide an opportunity to make the walls a little higher. He also noted the potential there could be to do some work to create snow caves near the maze and more.
|The maze Chic Callas created at the Morley Street park in Riverdale is seen in Whitehorse March 2, 2021. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)|
As for whether it’s a possibility in future years, that may depend on whether travel restrictions are lifted.
As Callas noted, he and his wife enjoy travelling in the winter and will likely get back on that when it is safe to do so.
For now, the youngsters who visit the park have a snow maze to look forward to along with the rink and playground they enjoy.
Callas said he’s hoping families enjoy the feature and that families from other neighbourhoods who might be looking for a new park to visit with their little ones will enjoy it as well.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org