In two weeks, Edmonton will be on display as it showcases the way it approaches winter when the city hosts the 2017 Winter Cities Shake-Up conference.
The three-day event will be held at the Shaw Conference Centre from Feb. 16 to 18. Delegates from 40 cities around the world will gather to discuss winter strategies and brainstorm new ways to approach winter living in the areas of business, urban design, culture and wellness.
Embracing and thriving in winter is something Mayor Don Iveson said Edmontonians have become quite good at.
“In a remarkably short time, the community has shifted their way of thinking and embraced this idea of being a proud winter city,” Iveson said. “It’s not just people who have lived here for a while and are used to the cold, but newcomers and visitors are actively seeking out the incredible things to see and do here during this time.”
Coun. Ben Henderson was on hand Monday morning at Café Bicyclette’s outdoor patio to announce plans for this year’s conference. He said the winter patio is just one of the many success stories to come from the work done in Edmonton around embracing and celebrating winter cities.
The first Winter Cities Shake-Up conference was held in Edmonton in 2015 and Henderson said he’s excited to welcome the world back to the city.
“We’ve realized that our reputation now has really grown where we’re getting known around the world for being in the forefront of this question of how you can have a good time in winter and be a really good and fun and healthy winter city,” Henderson said. “That’s what this conference is about.”
Edmonton hosts a number of winter-themed events and festivals throughout the season, including this coming weekend’s Flying Canoe Volant. The event, held in Mill Creek Ravine, celebrates Edmonton’s history and everything that is great about a long winter’s night.
Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of Flying Canoe Volant is the flying canoe races, which will be held on Feb. 17 at the Edmonton Ski Club.
“Where else but Canada would people join a team to race a full-size canoe down a snow-covered hill, throw an axe or two and bucksaw through a tree stump, just for fun?” Daniel Cournoyer, producer of Flying Canoe Volant, said.
Some of the other upcoming winter events include Ice on Whyte, the Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Festival and Silver Skate Festival.