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EXPLORING WINTER’S POSSIBILITIES

DEVELOPING A WINTER CITY STRATEGY The exploratory work from that trip is being used by the WinterCity Think Tank, a committee of community leaders, as it develops a winter strategy for Edmonton. The committee is also seeking advice from local, national and international “winter experts.” Most importantly, it is encouraging input from Edmontonians. Recommendations and an implementation plan for the final WinterCity Strategy report are

expected to go before city council in the fall of 2012. A key objective of the initiative is to encourage discussion and get feedback from Edmontonians on winter city life. The official public launch in January 2012 included a WinterCity Symposium to generate ideas and energy for the strategy, followed by public forums in February and March. A social media campaign, a postcard campaign and a contest are asking Edmontonians to answer the question: What would make you fall in love with winter in Edmonton? Another objective is to promote the City of Edmonton’s wintertime programs, services and experiences. Many Edmontonians already embrace festival fun and community spirit during the winter months through a wide variety of winter activities. Active community sponsorship, free community events and hospitality, music and activity provide Edmonton with a strong foundation to develop a WinterCity Strategy. A third goal is to identify the strengths and challenges around developing a sustainable and resilient winter city. Edmonton’s mayor, Stephen Mandel, is a firm supporter of the WinterCity initiative. “We have great winter festivals, downhill and cross-country skiing, skating, tobogganing and many other activities,” he says. “As the most northerly large city on the continent, with more sunny winter days than any other city in Canada, it only makes sense that Edmonton becomes a world-renowned winter city. The WinterCity Strategy will be our blueprint for getting there.”

For more information about the City of Edmonton’s Winter Strategy, visit www.edmonton.ca/wintercitystrategy.

Photo– Susan Holdsworth

In June 2010, a Winter Cities Exploration Forum brought together a small working group of internal and external community stakeholders. The group reviewed issues related to Edmonton’s winter and identified several key areas it felt would need to be addressed by a winter city strategy, including dealing with concerns about snow removal, traffic safety and isolation, increasing participation in winter festivals and other outdoor activities, and strengthening Edmonton’s downtown. Staff also looked at the municipality’s role in conveying a positive image of winter and investigated ways to encourage residents and visitors to take part in more varied winter activities and events, for example, through wintertime services, programs and public improvements. As part of the research, Henderson and three city administrators travelled to northern cities in Finland and Norway in February 2011: Oslo in Norway and Helsinki, Rovaniemi, Oulu and Kemi in Finland. They found several common themes to the success of these winter cities: using snow, light and colour to transform spaces; creating inviting, comfortable outdoor public places where people can gather and meet; and supporting walking, biking and playing outside during the winter.

CURB VOL 3 | ISSUE 1 | 2012

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Profile for University of Alberta Extension

CURB Magazine 3.1  

Curb Magazine is about policy practice and community experiences in cities, regions, and rural areas. Curb is distributed to municipal offic...

CURB Magazine 3.1  

Curb Magazine is about policy practice and community experiences in cities, regions, and rural areas. Curb is distributed to municipal offic...

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