Ice fishing, winter science and even a chili cook-off are on offer this Family Day at Thunder Bay's waterfront.

But it's the snow sculptures which are at "the heart" of the event, said Ash Young, the northwestern Ontario city's cultural development and events supervisor.

Nine carving teams, including one from Ottawa, will be hard at work, beginning Thursday.

"This year we have a pop culture theme, which is really cool," Young told CBC News. "People are going to come down and they're going to recognize everything from Star Wars to some of their favourite musicians."

"I thought it was a fun theme," he said. "They'll be great for all ages."

SnowDay blocks

These wooden boxes, located at Marina Park, contain blocks of snow, which teams of carvers will turn into pop culture-themed snow sculptures. They'll be on display during SnowDay on the Waterfront. (Cathy Alex/CBC)

Other activities at this year's SnowDay include:

  • Birds of the Bay community art installations
  • winter science
  • face painting
  • waterfront yarn bomb project
  • a sensory mindfulness scavenger hunt
  • pottery and quilting demonstrations
  • kicksledding
  • a chili cook-off

Young is anticipating about 10,000 people at the waterfront during SnowDay, he said.

"Everybody can get out and get active," Young said. "Whether it's through the culture side or the recreation side, and we're celebrating both sides here."

SnowDay on the Waterfront will run from noon to 5 p.m. at Marina Park on Monday Feb.,19.

Admission and all activities are free.