POLITICS
12/16/2013 04:52 EST | Updated 02/15/2014 05:59 EST

Thirty-sixth winter festival marks First World War anniversary, Sochi Olympics

OTTAWA - The National Capital's annual winter celebration this year will be a fusion of war, sports and politics on ice.

Heritage Minister Shelly Glover unveiled the official program for the 36th Winterlude at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., which the government renamed just last week.

The event, which runs from January 31 to February 17, will feature an enormous ice sulpture made from 100 blocks of ice to mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War.

The theme is in keeping with the Harper government's recent drive to recognize Canada's military past, such as the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

A winter obstacle course will also be set up to mark the approach of the Winter Games in Sochi.

The festival will also mark the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences, which spawned Confederation.

And, in keeping with a tradition nearly three decades old, sculptors from around the world will take part in an international ice-carving competition.