The Federation des Cooperatives du Nouveau-Quebec (FCNQ)




February 25, 2010 10:30 ET

"Polar Bears on Thin Ice": The Bear Stays in Montreal to Raise Awareness of Climate Change

An impressive Ice Bear at Place Ville Marie at the Montreal All-Nighter

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Feb. 25, 2010) - Today officially began in Montreal the stay of a 6-tonne polar bear sculpted in ice and covering a bronze skeleton. After a month in Quebec City and Ottawa, this imposing quadruped ends its travels in Montreal. The Bear will remain on the Place Ville Marie belvedere until it has completely melted.

This voyage is part of the "Polar Bears on Thin Ice" climate change campaign organized by Equiterre and the Federation des cooperatives du Nouveau-Quebec, in cooperation with WWF-Canada, the Hotel de Glace and Quebec City. "The melting of this eco-sculpture, which will expose a bronze skeleton, symbolizes the unfortunate impact of climate change on Northern communities," explained Rita Novalinga, General Manager of the Federation des cooperatives du Nouveau-Quebec. "This campaign has the Ice Bear travel to raise the awareness of Canadians, particularly young people, regarding climate change. By letting it melt in the heart of downtown Montreal, we hope to impress on Montrealers the impact of climate change," explained Steven Guilbeault, Equiterre's Deputy Director.

An ephemeral and international work of art

After being exhibited in London and Copenhagen during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the Ice Bear is on a Canadian trip, through Quebec City, Ottawa and Montreal. The ephemeral work of art was sculpted by Mark Coreth, British artist and creator of the London and Copenhagen bears. The artist was accompanied by Inuit sculptors Peter Boy Ittukallak and Juanasi Jack Ittukallak to sculpt the block of ice. The Hotel de Glace has taken charge of the entire logistics related to the sculpture (welcome, transportation, freezing, situation scenarios). In tandem with the bear exhibition in Canadian cities, a series of activities organized by Monique Fitz-Back Foundation and its parnters, les Etablissements Verts Bruntland and Green Street, will take place to raise the awareness of young people and inform them about climate change and its impact on the Canadian North. The "Polar Bear Letters" contest invites young people to express their understanding of the problem and share their solutions. The writers of the two best letters will win a trip to Nunavik, and as young emissaries to the High Arctic will bear witness to their friends about the effects of climate change.

Bear Dance during the All-Nighter

To take advantage of the Bear while there is still time, several attractions are offered to Montrealers, notably during the All-Nighter of February 27, as part of the Montreal High Lights Festival. On the agenda: the 12-hour Bear Dance (from February 27 at 3 p.m. to February 28 at 3 a.m.) featuring dance, music, photo sessions in the Bear's company, distribution of fair trade coffee. A contest to win a night for two at the Hotel de Glace will also be held – the object will be to predict the exact date when the Bear will have completely melted…

The melting of the Bear in Montreal will not mark the end of the "Polar Bears on Thin Ice" campaign. "The bear will wear its coat of ice and meet the Canadian public on occasion to raise the awareness of young people and other Canadians regarding the dangers of climate change," explained Steven Guilbeault. "Our goal is to take the Bear to Toronto for the G8-G20 Summit to remind world leaders of the importance of making real commitments," he concluded.

The project's organizers wish to thank the following: the Fonds d'action quebecois pour le developpement durable and its main partner, the Quebec government as part of the Action-Climat program (, for their financial contribution; Quebec City, for its financial and logistical support to the project; as well as SITQ, which is contributing to the project by giving it access to the Place Ville-Marie belvedere and providing logistical support, Co-operators, for its financial contribution; and the project's partners, the Monique Fitz-Back Foundation, Brundtland Green Establishments and Green Street.


Equiterre's mission is to help build a social movement by encouraging individuals, organizations and governments to make ecological and equitable choices, in a spirit of solidarity. Equiterre provides content expertise and logistical support to the "Polar Bears on Thin Ice" project.

Federation des cooperatives du Nouveau-Quebec

The Federation des cooperatives du Nouveau-Quebec is owned by its fourteen member co-ops in the Inuit communities of the Hudson and Ungava coasts of Northern Quebec, or Nunavik, as this region is now called. FCNQ was established in 1967 to provide the rapidly growing cooperative movement with more effective powers and services to help attain its vision – Atautsikut/Together – working to develop as a people, leaving no one behind.


WWF partnered with the Ice Bear Project in creating its two first appearances, first at the United Nations Climate Summit in Copenhagen, and then in Trafalgar Square in London. For WWF, the ice bear is symbolic of our circumpolar program, working together with Arctic peoples to preserve arctic species, landscapes, and livelihoods. To help achieve our conservation goals, WWF is also working globally to help find solutions to the climate change that is the biggest single threat to polar bears and the entire Arctic. The ice bear helps bring this message to audiences in a simple and powerful fashion.

The Hotel de Glace

The Hotel de Glace is providing the project with technical and financial support. The Hotel de Glace is a northern event that offers a unique, playful and educational experience of the wonders of nature and the environment.

Quebec City

Concerned by the effects of climate change on its environment, the City adopted in 2004 a plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. It is currently preparing a plan for the entire agglomeration. The City also wants to acquire, within the next three years, a plan for adapting to climate change.

For access to high resolution photos of the bear and to the press kit of the Polar Bears on Thin Ice campaign:, "Media" headings.

Contact Information

  • Media contacts:
    Eveline Trudel-Fugere
    (514) 522-2000 ext. 303
    Cell: (514) 605-2000