Making snow angels is a Canadian winter rite of passage -- and for thousands of Nova Scotians, it looks like they've cemented their legacy.
According to Rhonda Lemire, executive director of Recreation Nova Scotia, they have “unofficially surpassed the previous record,” which means a new Guinness World Record has likely been set for making the most snow angels in different locations at one time.
The existing record of 15,851 snow angels was set at 2 p.m. on February 2nd, 2004 by 60 schools in the London District Catholic School Board, Ontario.
On February 10th, they had more than 200 schools and community organizations come out. “ 18,000 snow angels participated and we still have more numbers coming in,” Lemire said excitedly over the phone from Halifax. “We didn't take into consideration that our fax machine would be tied up this much!” she laughed.
The Canada Games has put schools in Halifax on hiatus for two weeks, so Lemire said they can't follow up until students are back to their classes.
“It'll take a few months to confirm the numbers with Guinness before the record becomes official,” she said confidently.
The challenge was part of Take the Roof Off Winter, an annual province-wide initiative aimed at getting people off the couch and into the great outdoors during the winter months. Committee members had talked about attempting the world snow angel record for a couple of years, but Lemire said co-ordinating the event proved to be a challenge. “It's not as easy as running into a field, plopping down and making snow angels,” she said.
In order to have their snow angels count towards the record, each group had to have more than 25 participants and submit a witnessed statement confirming they followed the guidelines.
“Everybody had to be lined up, everybody had to have signed a form beforehand, and it had to happen simultaneously across Nova Scotia at exactly 1 p.m.”
The event proved to be more of an uplifting experience than she anticipated. “From what people have told me, the exact moment the kids all fell back, it was a really emotional experience for those watching.”
Excited by the thought that Guinness has a new record on their hands, Lemire says it was a success regardless of the outcome. “The real purpose was to get people talking about being active outdoors...and an awful lot of people were really excited about being outdoors and being active together.”
Organizers picked a good winter to attempt the record; according to Environment Canada, Halifax received 51 cm of snow in January, Yarmouth 68 cm, and Sydney, Cape Breton 98 cm.