Creating a colorful igloo is part of an Alberta family’s pandemic survival strategy

Frigid weather across western Canada can be a tough start to 2022, but it’s actually a welcome New Year’s bonus for an Alberta family.

The cold helps them cope with COVID-19.

The final 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 had a nice cold snap, might as well get out there and do something nice,” Cody Shepherd said.

Shepherd has spent the past few days creating his multicolored 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 built, so I think it’s okay.”

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Cody Shepherd with his “rainbow igloo” on his property just north of Calgary on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.

Gil Tucker, World News

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

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

“In the first few weeks after COVID (onset), nobody was bringing their dogs, so we had to quickly decide what we were going to do to make sure we can survive the pandemic,” Soepolo said.

“So we turned the kennel into a market.”

The family then transformed an old farmhouse into a series of sets for rent to photographers.

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

The family also hosts outdoor photoshoots after a major makeover to their property.

“We got busy and planted tulips and sunflowers and 1,000 peonies,” Soepolo said. “They did the 2022 Calgary firefighter schedule shoot here.”

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And now Shepherd has his rainbow igloo ready to become the centerpiece of some winter wonderland scenes.

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

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

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