Sandbanks sand sculptures looks at just a few of the many artistic results from a day on Outlet Beach with regular folks who happen also to be talented artists.
Sand sculptures have become an integral part of the beach experience in the developed world.
You see them everywhere and many beaches have annual sand sculpture contests.
The sculptures here weren't in a contest, just folks enjoying themselves -- or practising for the next contest, maybe.
This first of my featured Sandbanks sand sculptures is a mermaid gazing out to Lake Ontario, where she presumably longs to be. Her 'wings' are made of feathers and her almond-shaped eyes of freshwater mussel shells.
One of the best things about sand sculptures on Ontario beaches is that the lakes don't have a noticeable tide so the sculptures last until they dry out and fall back onto the beach. They don't get washed away by the tide, as they would on an ocean beach, like this one at Grand Cayman.
This turtle too is probably wishing to be back in the lake. It's also a nice blend of sand and freshwater mussel shells, picking out the shell's pattern.
From the shape and size, I think it's a sea-turtle, rather than a lake one, so it my be hoping the tide will come in and rescue it.
This crocodile, or maybe alligator, is a fearsome sight with its row of mussel shell teeth. Freshwater mussels are a useful addition to any sculpture, as you will have noticed.
Sometimes beach sculptures highlight our ambivalent relationship with water. We all love the beach (well, nearly all anyway) and the water but we do have some lingering fear from the days when our ancestors undoubtedly got caught and eaten there. Crocodiles, snapping turtles, swimming dinosaurs, sharks and other ferocious denizens of the deep are popular sculptures.
This was the most complex of the Sandbanks sand sculptures of the day. It's a four part harmony of girl and dog around campfire in the shadow of a mystical peak.
The complex shapes of the girl and mountain(?) required regular misting and raking to keep them fresh and upright, which brings me to what you need to be a master of the sand sculpture craft...
Large tubs for mixing sand and water, a rake, various shapes of trowel for shaping and sculpting, a fine brush for removing loose or discarded sand, a misting machine (battery driven), and plenty of imagination, manual dexterity and patience.
Once upon a time, when I was younger, kids built sandcastles on the beach, with help from their parents. Today, it's the parents that build them and one beach where you'll find them doing just that is the Sandcastle Festival in Cobourg, in August, but many other big beaches do too, though it's more than just 'castles' now. Sand 'sculptures' are the norm.
And for more ideas on things to see and do during your stay in Ontario, click on the 'Tours' links at the right.
And for a hotel in Ontario or anywhere else:
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