January 31, 2015 7:29 pm
Updated: January 31, 2015 8:24 pm

Freezeway could come to Edmonton next winter

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WATCH ABOVE: The proposed Edmonton Freezeway is making big strides towards becoming a reality.

EDMONTON — An initiative that would allow Edmontonians to skate around the city is one step closer to fruition.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity for us to really show what we can do in winter and make a better use of that five months a year we’re stuck indoors,” said Matt Gibbs, the landscape architect behind the Edmonton Freezeway initiative.

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The Edmonton Freezeway was originally proposed as 11 kilometres of skating trails, which would wind through Blatchford, the downtown arena district, the Grant MacEwan Campus and up near Northlands. The freezeway would see Edmontonians hit the ice to get to work, school or just skate for fun.

READ MORE: Freezeway would allow Edmontonians to skate to work

After hearing positive feedback from delegates at this week’s Winter Cities Shake-Up conference in Edmonton, Gibbs is working on a pilot project that could see trails at Louise McKinney Park frozen over next winter.

“This great River Valley is an ideal spot to utilize some of the existing infrastructure we have here in the city to make it more accessible and have more things going on in the winter,” Gibbs explained.

Inspired by projects like Toronto’s Colonel Sam Smith Skating Trail and the Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon in Chicago, Gibbs sees the Edmonton Freezeway as a great way to get people excited about living in a winter city.

“There are so many exciting, wonderful things going on in the city of Edmonton at the moment and I see this as a way to complement that,” said Gibbs, “take advantage of the opportunity to make our winters more inhabitable, more exciting and more creative.”

READ MORE: Taking LRT? You can now ski to the Century Park station

Gibbs is working with Make Something Edmonton in hopes of getting the freezeway up and running. He believes funding for the project could be crowdsourced, similar to the way the Light the Bridge campaign was funded. He says the Edmonton Ski Club has also voiced interest in the project.

“It’s been really inspiring to see the reaction of the community,” he said. “Certain demographics have gotten really excited and inspired about how this could be way to put our city out there internationally.”

Gibbs is hoping to form a team of volunteers to help bring the project to fruition. To become involved, email Gibbs at freezewayedmonton@gmail.com.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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