CARLETON PLACE, ONT. -- Marco Santangelo is spending his third winter in Canada this year and, following the most recent dumping of snow, he completed a Canadian first: building an igloo.

But Santangelo, originally from Italy, couldn’t do it without the help of his fiancée, Moca Ford.

“I’m Inuit, my mom is Inuit, and I saw the snow and figured why not try and do something cultural and let Marco learn a little bit, so we created our little makeshift igloo,” says Ford. “Dating Marco, I learned a lot about the Italian culture and how rich it was, and it inspired me to go back into my culture and history.”

The couple say they spent eight to ten hours building the igloo between Sunday and Monday. Without the proper ice cutting tools, Ford says they used a small Rubbermaid bin.

“I was excited,” remarked Santangelo about the idea of building an igloo, and remembering all the Canadian firsts he’s checked off his list. 

“Was my first time walking on a frozen lake, skating on it; it was very cool.”

After their work was complete around noon on Monday, it was time for a celebratory meal. 

“So, I said okay, I’ll make some pasta,” says Santangelo. “We had pasta, beer, and some chocolate.”

And where did they choose to dine? In their new shelter of course, with a carpet down and improvised seats and a table. “We mixed the two cultures together,” says Santangelo.

The couple say they plan to have at least one meal a day in their new igloo. The walls block out the wind, their body heat warms the shelter, and they get some lovely sunsets too; their igloo entrance faces out onto a lake.

Following the success of his first igloo, Santangelo was sure to remark it twice, once in Italian and again in English. “I was very excited to build an igloo. Was my first time and I can’t wait for next winter to built another one.”