Colourful igloo creation part of Alberta family’s pandemic survival strategy

The frigid weather throughout western Canada may be a harsh kickoff to 2022, but it’s actually a welcome New Year’s bonus for one Alberta family.

The cold is helping them cope with COVID-19.

The latest part of the family’s pandemic survival strategy is the creation of an igloo on their rural property just north of Calgary.

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“If we’ve been given a nice cold spell, you might as well get out and make something beautiful,” Cody Shepherd said.

Shepherd has spent the past few days creating his multi-coloured structure, which he calls a ‘rainbow igloo.’

“(It’s) 400 individual ice blocks that I put together,” Shepherd said. “It’s not perfect, but it’s the first igloo I’ve ever made, so I think it’s OK.”

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Cody Shepherd with his ‘rainbow igloo’ on his property just north of Calgary on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. Gil Tucker, Global News

It’s all part of an ongoing ‘pandemic pivot’ at the Homestead Market, which Shepherd operates with his wife Holly and his mother-in-law Joy Soepolo.

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The creation of the market happened after the collapse of the family’s main source of income: boarding dogs.

“Within a couple of weeks of COVID (starting), nobody was bringing their dogs, so we quickly had to decide what are we going to do to make sure that we can survive the pandemic,” Soepolo said.

“So we changed the dog kennel into a market.”

The family then turned an old farmhouse into a series of sets to rent out to photographers.

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“They do lifestyle, business, boudoir, family photos, anything to do with Christmas,” Soepolo said.

The family also hosts outdoor photo shoots after a major transformation of their property.

“We got busy and planted tulips and sunflowers and 1000 peonies,” Soepolo said. “They did the Calgary Firefighters 2022 calendar shoot out here.”

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And now Shepherd’s got his rainbow igloo all set to go as the centrepiece for some winter wonderland scenes.

“Probably not lingerie photo shoots out here on days like today, but family shoots would be great,” Shepherd said. “I mean, get out and enjoy it. (The igloo is) a fleeting thing.

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“It’ll melt soon and it’s gone, so enjoy it while it last. Be positive about it.”

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