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January 21, 2022
February 14, 2017

Shaking Up Winter

Making Edmonton winters better

Written by Jeff Samsonow

Remember the storm of 2011?

It’s important to make Edmonton more enjoyable in the winter. And that doesn’t just mean plowing the roads and putting a dome over the city to keep it summertime warm.

Edmonton’s actually got a list of goals – a wintercity strategy – to get more people outside in the winter, make it a more accessible and pleasant experience, get more businesses involved in winter and, alright, also make sure roads, sidewalks and publicly-used areas are cleared of snow and ice (but only to increase our ability to get around comfortably, not because that’s the only service a city should provide in winter).

This week, our city hosts an international conference about building better cold-weather cities, called the Winter Cities Shake-Up. It features speakers on all topics of winter activity and economy.

Embracing winter, and making Edmonton a city open for business and recreation all year will benefit you and me in a number of ways. We’ll have more ways to play, more ways to get around safely, more businesses to support (ideally with more patios) and any number of changes to how the city is designed and the programs it supports could mean good things for us in spring, summer and fall too. Adding more activity options throughout the city in winter can also benefit our mental health and well-being. (Check out some of the programming and speakers for more details on these kinds of ideas.)

If you aren’t attending the conference, don’t worry, there are still ways to get into the spirit of winter. While the discussions happen inside the Shaw Conference Centre, there will be activities for everyone on Saturday, in the nearby Armature of The Quarters (96 Street, between Jasper Avenue and 103 Avenue). The Flying Canoe crew is also going to be racing canoes at the Edmonton Ski Club on Friday.

And, Thursday night, Edmonton’s latest Pecha Kucha will be taking place with its own winter theme. Pecha Kucha’s are a great way to learn a lot in a really short amount of time. The event gives speakers just a few minutes to make their pitch or explain their ideas, guided by a series of 20 slides – 20 seconds per slide. Among the topics are turning winter into a positive, biking all year, enjoying our coffee outside on the coldest days and creative ways to “build” our cities in winter. There’s also a culture and innovation showcase right before the talks.

Editor’s note: The Pecha Kucha event was added to this article after publication.