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Chinese ice sculptures amaze Markham Ice and Snow Festival

  TORONTO, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- "We are thrilled to welcome these talented artists to Markham and we thank them for creating mesmerizing works of art," said Frank Scarpitti, mayor of Canadian city of Markham.

  Markham launched its first ever Markham Ice and Snow Festival on Saturday night, which features dozens of ice sculptures made by Chinese and Canadian artists.

  The 10-day event shows an opportunity for all people in the long winters in Canada to enjoy the unlimited wonder and happiness in a unique realm of ice and snow.

  Visitors walk at the outdoor ice maze carved entirely from ice at the Markham Civic Centre, and take in the stunning display of intricate, hand-carved ice sculptures. Ten Chinese artists have made the ice sculptures with the theme of "A Romance of Ice and Snow", including 12 zodiac elaborate ice sculpture works.

  A visitor from Montreal said: "It is gorgeous! Amazing! I think it is one of the greatest winter festivals in the Greater Toronto Area and around the world."

  "This inaugural festival speaks to our friendship with communities across China. Markham is a global destination for arts and culture, and our strong diversity is on full display in this winter wonderland," the mayor told Xinhua.

  Markham is a Canadian city where 46 percent of its residents are of Chinese descent, and it has close sister ties with many Chinese cities.

  The Markham Ice and Snow Festival, presented jointly by the city governments of Markham and China's Harbin, is inspired by the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, which is known around the world for its stunning display of ice sculptures.

  Xiaodong Zhu, one of ten award-winning artists from Harbin, came to Markham for this special event with nine other Chinese ice sculptures artists.

  The festival provides a platform for Chinese and Canadian artists to display their works and make exchanges, further promote the municipal friendship between Markham and Harbin, Zhu said.