From time to time most of us complain about the cold. Subzero temperatures, endless snow and icy sidewalks and roads can take a toll on even the hardiest souls but many Nordic cities have turned winter is a time of wonder. To take the chill off the air and introduce people to winter’s charms here’s what Calgary and some other northern cities around the world do to make winter a little more memorable:
Calgary – On Monday, Feb. 18, come out and enjoy free winter fun at Fort Calgary to celebrate Family Day. Activities will include carnival games, crafts, a treasure hunt, face painting, plus theatre plays, cartoons and movies in the Burnswest theatre. Outdoor events will include winter games and maple syrup candy-making (weather-permitting).
Niagara Falls – Spectacular any time of year, but in winter the crowds thin out and view of the Falls is yours without a fight. From November to the end of January visitors can enjoy the Niagara Winter Festival of Lights, which holds the title of Canada’s largest light festival. The Falls are transformed into a wonder of technology and Nature, lit by three million twinkling lights, many of which are environmentally-conscious LEDs.
Quebec City – A bit of old world feel in perhaps the most romantic city in Canada, Quebec City welcomes winter with open arms. Home to the world famous Canaval de Quebec, seventeen days of ice, snow and bonhomie. From family activities to night-time delights join the thousands who flock to this lovely city on the riviere Saint Laurent.
Cologne - Since 1832, each and every November marks the start of Cologne, Germany’s Fastelovend, or Winter Carnival. The winter months lead up to the February party to end all parties. Germany’s answer to “Mardi-Gras” revelers dress in costume and take to the streets in a massive parade of fun and foolishness, all of which is broadcast on German television.
Ottawa - What is winter in our Capitol without a glide down the Rideau Canal? The seven kilometre long rink, thronged with skaters most days is lined by fires, hot chocolate, warm snacks and lots of entertainment. If taking in the air and the sights is your idea of fun make sure to visit the Canal on a weekday to avoid the crush.
Copenhagen – The city of choice to celebrate the Christmas season. With hundreds of thousands of lights and delicious fare to be had at the Tivoli Christmas Market, Copenhagen attracts more than one million visitors a year.
Toronto – Kicking off the holiday season, Toronto hosts a month-long series of free events including concerts, skating and the lighting of a giant tree with 100,000 lights in Nathan Phillips Square. Following the holidays, from the end of January through February, for two weeks, Toronto buzzes with more entertainment. Dubbed WinterCity, this festival features food, music and culture.
Winnipeg – The Festival du Voyageur celebrates Manitoba’s fur-trade history and French-Canadian heritage. Snow sculptures, dog-sledding, ice skating and an array of delicious food and drink are the highlights of this week-long February festival.
So if the winter blues have set in, take a lesson from one of these cities and take a break. Get outside, strap on some skates, see the lights that decorate Olympic Plaza, find a quiet (and warm) corner and delight in a culinary treat and most of all enjoy your city.