Toronto man turns his backyard into a canvas for massive snow art

Bob Greenfield first shoveled snow into a design to tell his wife "I love you." Since then, he's become a sensation, with versions of the Mona Lisa, cartoon characters, and now, a giant crossword.

Video Transcript

BOB GREENFIELD: I initially just had some snow on the ice and needed to clear it off, and thought, you know what? I can carve a little message here. So I just did "I heart you", for my wife looking out from the kitchen window, and went about clearing the rest of the snow. And after I did that, I realized that there might be an opportunity to do a little bit more here.

And the Mona Lisa, by far, was the wildest and most viral thing I've done. It was seen on national television in several countries. It was-- articles were written about it in languages I couldn't even translate on Google. It was just wild.

If I get two of these done in a winter, I consider it a success, just because there's so many factors that have to fall into play. Both having the time to do it, having the weather, having the right amount of snow. And then of course, pulling it off. The perfect amount of snow is really probably about just only an inch or two. And so sometimes if we get heavy snowfall, it becomes too much. And if we don't get enough, then it just becomes frustrating because then I just have to go shovel the rink and just clear it, and don't get a chance to make anything on it.

But a couple of weeks ago, we had just that perfect, perfect amount. The temperature was just below zero, and there was zero wind. And the lack of wind was huge because the crossword was probably the most challenging. Because it just-- everything just needed to be pretty straight. And it took the most effort, in terms of the planning and preparation for it. It has two parts to it. You know, the creating of the puzzle, the grid, and then also the solving part where I filmed myself filling in the answers. So I think this has been the most-- certainly most involved one that I've done.

What I did was I created, essentially, a little cookie cutter that I made out of some slats of wood. I just stamped them into the snow, and it was easy enough to do that. But carving out the black squares and climbing across them and making sure that I didn't fall in white powder or ruin anything else was really the time-consuming part. And making sure that it was all exactly lined up, because if I was off by one square, it would ruin the whole thing.

I happen to have built a website showing some of the work I've done. So I was able to put it right there, and people have been able to go there to print it and play it online. And it's been-- over 100 people have actually completed the puzzle, so that's fun to see. Well, I think I found the slowest way possible to clear your rink, and it's just been a fun thing to keep me busy during the winter. And I just love hearing back from friends, and strangers too, tell me that they look forward to seeing these.