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Winter placemaking initiatives across Canada

Learn more about how cities across the country are inviting residents to embrace the cold

Carnaval in Quebec

Published on February 13, 2019

We know that our public spaces are just as, if not more, important in winter.

But how do you ensure they continue to be open, welcoming and active even in harsh(er) weather?

Here are how Canadian cities are doing it right.

Emera Oval: Halifax

Installed on the Halifax Commons in 2011 for Canadian Masters Championships, the Emera Oval was made permanent after receiving immense public support. This public skating loop is a great example of all-season placemaking, transforming into a venue for in-line skating in the warmer months. 


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Carnaval de Québec: Québec City

The most well known of our list, Carnaval is the ultimate celebration of winter! This yearly festival in Québec City welcomes all to revel in the cold weather with tons of activities, from canoe racing to ice sculpture carving. 


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The Bentway: Toronto 

A prime example of adaptive reuse and placemaking, The Bentway has become a beloved public space in Toronto. Once a neglected area under the city's major expressway, The Bentway is now home to a winter skate trail that connects seven Toronto neighbourhoods.

Warming Stations: Winnipeg

Now replicated across the country, Winnipeg was the first Canadian city to host a Warming Huts competition, inviting artists from across the globe to design and install creative warming stations in The Forks area of the city.


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Boardwalk Ice on Whyte: Edmonton

Edmonton has made placemaking in winter a priority through its winter city strategy. The city is host to tons of amazing recurring events in winter, including Boardwalk Ice on Whyte, an ice-carving festival that includes a competition, ice carving workshops and a stew cookoff. 

Hot Tea, Rain City: Vancouver

Just as other Canadian cities are encouraging residents to get outside in the cold and snow, Vancouver is doing the same but with rain. In an effort to engage residents in the city's rain strategy, Places for People used a pop-up tea cart to spark conversations on how to deal with the wet winter weather.

So whether it be in cold, snow or rain, spend some time enjoying your public spaces this winter.