World Tallest Snow Fence!

OTTAWA — 'I'm crazy," he keeps saying.

"He's nuts," says his next-door neighbor.

"All my friends think it's crazy," says his youngest son.

Just maybe Luc Guertin of Orleans has figured out how to love this winter when the rest of us are cursing it - particularly after this weekend of the endless snowfall for most of the country.

Guertin's driveway snowbank stood higher than two very tall men Friday morning before the latest blast hit in the Wicked Winter of 2008. By yesterday afternoon, the growing bank had passed the second storey of his home in this Ottawa suburb and was threatening the chimney.

Guertin is certain he now holds the world's record because, well, who else would be "crazy" enough to spend an entire winter hauling the snow up from his drive to pack it into a monolith? It has become the National Capital Region's oddest tourist attraction - and many hope its most fleeting.

The 44-year-old Ottawa native began it, he says, simply because Environment Canada was predicting a winter to end all winters and, besides, as a carpenter, his natural inclination is to build things. There is the perfect backyard rink. And there is the robot costume - but more on that later.

He began in November with a normal shovel, lifting the snow and packing it down, then carefully squaring it off, just as he has done for years in the backyard to create snow banks around his rink every bit as upright and resilient as arena boards.

He then switched to a shovel with a longer handle, and then longer still. He built a special adapter for his snowblower so that, on a calm day, it would spray straight up like a fountain and curl just so that the snow would land on the brow of the growing hill and he could then pat it down with the longer shovel.

Around December, he had to bring in a two-step stool, then a four-step one, then a stepladder. In February, he had to borrow a full extension ladder and, today, even that is not quite high enough as he heads up and then has to crawl to get out onto the top for the packing down.

There was a time around Christmas when he thought he would create a snow version of the Gaspé's popular Percé Rock, but the bank grew so high and heavy that he began to worry that a hole through it might be seen as a safety concern.

Already this past weekend the fire department and the local bylaw officer have come to cruise by Guertin's Toulouse Crescent home, their official vehicles carefully picking their way through the amateur photographers and video recorders who have come to see for themselves.

Guertin is now hoping for more snow, at least one more big wallop that will provide him without enough cold raw material to complete the turret he is now thinking of constructing at the end closest to the road.

[via theglobeandmail]

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