Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Sabine De Schutter

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Sabine De Schutter

We're very excited to have Berlin-based lighting architect, Sabine De Schutter, joining us in just over a week for Winter Cities Shake-Up. Her intriguing session will turn our notions of winter lighting on their heads as she champions the potential of designing a nocturnal environment.

Check out our one-on-one with Sabine below!

1. What do you look forward to most about the winter season in your city?

What I especially like about Berlin, is the outdoor life and that there are people outside despite the cold. There are a lot of markets, from food, to very originally themed markets and events, even in winter.

2. If you could do one thing to improve winter life in your city or community, what would it be?

It would be great if there could be an inspiring lit park where you can run and walk after dark. I like to go for runs even when it’s cold and I don’t like running in the streets, as most parks are closed after dark or unlit. And running at a track is just boring. It would change my options from just running on the weekends in winter, to also running in the evenings.

3. What is your favourite outdoor winter activity; what makes you want to get outside when it’s below zero?

There are so many activities! As mentioned above, I like to run, but also keep on riding my bike thought the city, it just should not be too icy. But the lakes freeze then that’s my season’s highlight! Then I can go ice-skating in nature.

4. What is your favourite winter city destination and why?

Besides Berlin, the place where I live, there is not directly a winter destination I could think of that is my absolute favorite. I’ve lived in cities like Barcelona, Zürich and Antwerp and they all have their particular winter vibe and bits I loved. This year I’ll be going to Amsterdam for example, to visit the light festival.

5. How would you describe winter to someone who has never experienced it?

Seeing your breath as a cloud of smoke.

6. What are you most looking forward to about the Winter Cities Shake-Up Conference?

I think it’s going to be a very inspiring mix of talks. Shedding light on a wide range of topics that involve winter.


Sabine's talk, "Design the Nightscape – Shaping Darkness", is part of our plenary session on Making Cities More Livable in Darkness on Friday, February 16, 2017. Did you know that individual plenary tickets are now on sale for $65 each? Sign up to snag your ticket if you can't join us for the full conference!

You can follow Sabine on Twitter at @sabine_ds.

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Daniel Firth

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Daniel Firth

Our next interviewee has provided us with our favourite "toothbrush-oriented" definition of winter and brings us our first Swedish perspective on best practices for winter cities. Before sitting down to read our interview with Daniel Firth, project manager for the Stockholm’s Sustainable Urban Mobility Strategy, we recommend brewing your own steaming mug of glögg to set the tone. Skål!

1. How does your city or community celebrate and/or embrace the winter season?

Stockholm is a northern city – a couple of degrees latitude further north than Fort McMurray – so winter means darkness as much as snow and ice. For most of December the sun goes down before three and doesn’t come up again much before 8:30. So we generally embrace anything that generates light: Christmas decorations start to go up early and homes are filled with candles. We get through a lot of tea lights: that’s why the Swedish furniture chain IKEA sell them in mega-packs! 

Sweden, like Canada is a big winter sports country so as well as hockey and downhill skiing, lots of people both watch and take part in cross country skiing, bandy or skating on one of the many frozen lakes.

Snowfall is not always reliable in Stockholm anymore. Although as I write this we just broke a 100 year record for snowfall in November – around a half metre of snow fell in less than 24 hours which caused some pretty severe disruption. But the snow reflects the light so even if it’s been a pain, many people welcome it – especially as sledding weather is forecast for the weekend! So we wrap up warm and get on with it: as the Swedish saying goes “det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder” – “there is no bad weather, just bad clothes”. 

2. If you could do one thing to improve winter life in your city or community, what would it be?

In the summer with long days and warm weather Stockholmers spend time outdoors and socialise more in public places, cafes, restaurants. The city organises events and is actively working to encourage tactical urbanism. In winter the socialising tends to move into people’s homes. That’s great if you have a large network, not so great for people who have newly arrived in our city. So I think getting more social activities open to more people winter time would be a great initiative. We’ve recently been given a political objective to develop a strategy to make Stockholm come alive in the winter – inspired by some of the work done by the City of Edmonton. 

3. What is your favourite outdoor winter activity; what makes you want to get outside when it’s below zero?

A perfect sunny winter day, with snow on the ground and frost in the air I like to go for a bracing walk and soak up some vitamin D before the sun sets – when I can retire to a pub with an open fire and test some of the latest winter ales from local breweries

4. What is your favourite childhood winter memory?

I grew up in England where we didn’t get anything like as much snow but I have a clear memory of an unusually snowy winter, must have been in the early 1980s, building a snowman in the garden at home and trying to protect it from my brother who wanted to knock it down with snowballs.

5. What is your favourite winter beverage?

Apart from the winter ales I mentioned earlier, I like glögg, a kind mulled wine, in our house usually drunk accompanied by gingerbread and blue cheese. A new version of glögg is produced every year with different flavours – last winter there was a rather lovely Earl Grey-tea flavoured glögg.

6. How would you describe winter to someone who has never experienced it?

At its best winter makes everything feel fresh, like when you’ve just brushed your teeth after a long flight. At its worst it’s like being stuck at the airport waiting for that long flight which is very very delayed – without a toothbrush.


Daniel will be joining out last featured speaker, Bartek Komorowski, in the session entitled "Plenary - Vision Below Zero: Walking and Cycling in Winter Cities" on Friday, February 17. Follow him on Twitter @JoliUrbaniste.

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Tips for First-Time Winter Cities Shake-Up Attendees

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Tips for First-Time Winter Cities Shake-Up Attendees

First things first: Winter Cities Shake-Up 2017 will not be your average conference.

Some of you may have already bitten the bullet and signed up for Winter Cities Shake-Up, having had a blast at the 2015 installment of the conference. The rest might be eyeing up our Registration page, wondering what exactly it means to be a Shake-Up delegate.

If you fall into the latter category, fear not! This post is designed to illuminate what it means to turn winter upside-down, and provide advice for making the most of your conference experience as a first-time attendee, adventurer, and winter advocate.

Tip #1: Get Revved-Up in the Morning with the November Project

Fancy a sub-zero outdoor jog first-thing in the morning? We didn’t either, until we met the team behind November Project Edmonton! Born in Boston, the November Project is a free fitness movement that has expanded rapidly across North America. With a motto of “Just Show Up”, the movement aims to inspire all people, from rookies to professional athletes, by using a system of simple verbal accountability. The Edmonton branch is a particularly hardy bunch, sweating it out on the frostiest of M-W-F mornings. We encourage you to test your boundaries and set your days up for success by joining the November Project workout on Friday morning of the conference!

Tip #2: Network, network, network!

Delegates from over 30 winter cities around Canada and the world have already signed up to attend Winter Cities Shake-Up! We’ve planned various opportunities to network so that attendees have a chance to share successes and challenges, widen their horizons, and spark new ideas that can be implemented in a number of northern communities. Ask someone from Winnipeg about their Arctic Glacier Winter Park, chat with a delegate from Rovaniemi about how they market winter tourism in Lapland, and quiz a Stockholmer about how they are improving street design to get more people walking and cycling in winter. You’ll be sure to take home some practical and creative ideas to apply in your own city!

Tip #3: Explore Edmonton

Edmonton is a city which takes pride in its identity as a winter city. With average temperatures dropping by almost 30°C from fall to winter, Edmonton is a city that has figured out how to make the most out of the chillier seasons of the year.

In walking distance from the Shaw Conference centre are the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Winspear Centre, and the Citadel Theatre – an arts and culture aficionado’s dream. Sports fans might be more interested in Edmonton’s new Ice District – a 25+ acre multi-use project that combines offices, condos, a public plaza, sports, entertainment and shopping all in one convenient location. For foodies, Edmonton’s restaurant scene has undergone a spectacular evolution in the last few years and has a delightful array of international cuisines to suit all tastes. For a relaxed coffee in the morning, or a fortified warmer in the evening, we particularly recommend perusing the Winter Patios in Edmonton list.

A final recommendation: get outdoors! The Explore Edmonton Instagram account is sure to inspire a serious case of wanderlust.

Tip #4: Check out the Winter Culture and Innovation Exhibitors

A first for the Winter Cities Shake-Up, the Winter Culture and Innovation Showcase will be a curated expo of the best technologies, practices, activities, equipment, music, art, fashion and food from winter makers, businesses, and idea-hatchers. At 6:00 pm on Thursday, February 16th, grab a warming tipple before joining your fellow delegates to browse an array of interactive, hands-on examples of inventive ways to make life in a Winter City great. A selection of the booths you can expect to find are:

  • NXT City
  • Red Frog Boots
  • Urban Poling Inc.
  • Urban Systems
  • World Snowshoe Federation
  • Canadian Birkebeiner Society
  • City of Yellowknife
  • Edmonton Arts Council
  • Elk Island National Park
  • jj wool company

Tip #5: Don’t miss out on our lineup of exhilarating activities!

We get it. After a long day of active learning and idea sharing, your grey matter might feel more like grey mush. It’s tempting to mentally check-out and spend your conference evenings catching up on House of Cards.

However…

We’re here to say that the Winter Cities Shake-Up schedule is jam-packed with activities that go above and beyond the standard Presentation + Q&A formula and are designed with fun in mind.

Take in a winter fashion show on Thursday afternoon, and spend your evening finding inspiration during the Winter Pecha Kucha Night. Join a team or lend your voice to cheering on the competitors during Friday’s Flying Canoe Races at the Edmonton Ski Club. Or, if you’ve got some extra time around Edmonton, sign up for our Pre- or Post-Conference activities which include the Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Festival, Edmonton Oilers ice hockey games, or a ski trip into the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

Pretty decent alternatives to “a quiet night in”, are we right?

Tip #6: Let the world know you’re attending!

Are you on social media? (Of course, you’re on social media!)

Help us make the conference the best it can be by championing Winter Cities Shake-Up. We're so excited about the programming and opportunities that have lined up, and we hope your networks will feel the same way!

Download a delegate badge and add it to a Facebook post or Tweet. Give us a shout out @WinterCities and use our hashtag #WinterShakeUp.

Need some help? Use these ideas:

 

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Bartek Komorowski

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Bartek Komorowski

Vélo Québec Project Leader in the Research and Consulting division, Bartek Komorowski, will be joining us in February, fresh off the podium from the Winter Cycling Congress in Montréal. At Winter Cities Shake-Up, he'll be speaking as part of a discussion on walking and cycling in winter cities, activities of which he is a staunch proponent.

Below, Bartek shares a few of his favourite winter things, and how his love for the season can be traced back to stomping through the snow in child-sized plastic snowshoes:

1. What do you look forward to most about the winter season in your city?

I love the fresh smell and the muffled sound of the city after a snowfall. I like the squeaking sound that the snow makes under my boots or my bicycle's tires as I move through the city. I like the intense blue colour of the sky at dusk.

2. How does your city or community celebrate and/or embrace the winter season?

There are a variety of outdoor festivals and events. My favourites include Nuit Blanche in February, when museums and other cultural venues stay open all night and host various performances and happenings. I’m also a fan of Vélo Sous Zéro, a large, midwinter bicycle parade organized by Vélo Québec.

3. What is your favourite outdoor winter activity; what makes you want to get outside when it’s below zero?

I like cycling and cross-country skiing. I usually strap my skis to my bicycle to get to the trails on Mount Royal, the forest covered hill perched above downtown Montreal. I love how being active outside in the winter sharpens my appetite for hot drinks and rich foods - soups, stews, and roasts.

4. What is your favourite childhood winter memory?

I have fond memories of snowshoeing during physical education class at my elementary school in Ottawa. We would slip these plastic snowshoes with rubber bindings over our boots and hike around the sloping forest behind the school.

5. What is your favourite winter beverage?

Hot, boozy mulled wine!

6. How would you describe winter to someone who has never experienced it?

A chestful of cold air will make you feel alive.


Bartek's presentation at Winter Cities Shake-Up 2017 will take place on Friday, February 17, 2017. Follow him on Twitter at @CyclistBartek.

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Robin Mazumder

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Robin Mazumder

Our latest interviewee is a face that many Edmontonians may recognize. A former Edmonton resident and recipient of Avenue Edmonton magazine's Top 40 Under 40 distinction, Robin Mazumder will be joining us at the conference to share his research into how design affects mental health, particularly during the winter season.

Read on for our one-on-one interview with Robin:

1. How does your city or community celebrate and/or embrace the winter season?

I just moved to Kitchener in the last year, so I am still learning about how they celebrate winter here. I will say that I plan on bringing #yegsnowfight to Kitchener-Waterloo…

2. If you could do one thing to improve winter life in your city or community, what would it be?

I would advocate for separated bike lanes that were maintained during the winter. I would also advocate for more snow clearance of sidewalks to ensure that people with mobility issues are able to get out in the winter. Winter can be a challenging time for some people and we need to ensure we are doing the most we can to make it easier for them to leave their house to connect with others.

3. What is your favourite childhood winter memory?

Going to the Cabana Sucre with my family in rural Quebec for a maple syrup inspired French-Canadian feast.

4. What is your favourite winter beverage?

Probably my mom’s chai, with mulled wine at a close second

5. How would you describe winter to someone who has never experienced it?

Winter is a special time of year that brings people closer together. Although it can get cold out, the spirit of winter is really quite warm. Oh and there’s this magical white stuff called that falls from the sky that you can throw at people and ski on. It’s pretty great.

6. What are you most looking forward to about the Winter Cities Shake-Up Conference?

Besides being back in the great city of Edmonton, I am excited about learning about the amazing things winter cities from around the world are doing to promote vibrancy and playfulness.


Robin's presentation at Winter Cities Shake-Up 2017 will take place on Saturday, February 18, 2017. Follow him on Twitter at @RobinMazumder.

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Hazel Borys

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Hazel Borys

Next up in our Speaker Interview Series is President of Placemakers, Hazel Borys. Below, Hazel shares her thoughts on what makes wintertime enjoyable, and her passion for making winter cities more "-able" places!

1. What is your favourite outdoor winter activity; what makes you want to get outside when it’s below zero?

My favourite winter activity is walking in great urban places. If the first 5 minutes outside my door are interesting, that’s all it takes to get me going. That means slow, human-scale streets that create outdoor rooms that shelter me from the wind. That also means meaningful destinations within that first 5 minutes. So if it’s 40 below, there is an interesting place to duck in an grab a coffee, pick up a loaf of bread, peruse a book, or send a letter — and to warm up! If those first 5 minutes are walkable, there are usually parks and playgrounds along the way, so my partner or my son or my dog are more likely to keep me company, which always extends our winter city experience.

2. What is your favourite childhood winter memory?

I was raised in Huntsville, Alabama, so my favourite childhood winter memory is getting snowed in. Because it rarely snows, the City has no snow removal equipment. And because Huntsville is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, there are significant steep slopes. A foot of snow meant schools were cancelled, and that we couldn’t get the family car down the hillside to go anywhere. Luckily, the grocery store — and loads of friends — were within walking distance, so snow was its own sort of holiday. Even though it only happened every year or two, snowfall was a time where neighbours would gather in the streets over steaming cups of coffee, share some food, and let their kids play in the snowy streets. Pure delight.

3. What is your favourite winter beverage?

That’s a time-dependant question: latte with heavy cream, if it’s morning; green tea with lemon and honey, at lunch; or in the evening, a mulled wine with cinnamon and orange.


4. What is your favourite winter city destination and why? 

Québec City, because the skinny streets and “woonerfs" quickly make you lose yourself in a deep community of art, culture, architecture, and food. The local history is profound, as the only actively fortified city in North America. A close second is Montréal, in all its snowy goodness. I like the way Montréal changes the order of its streets, depending on the season. Most of its pedestrian streets are summer only, opening up auto traffic in the winters to assist with mobility. Of course, Ottawa and Winnipeg both trump when it comes to skating and warming huts, with their rivalry for who can have the longest outdoor skating rink. Calgary’s wealth of main streets and neighbourhood centres are compelling summer or winter. And the Winter Cities ShakeUp will be my first trip ever to Edmonton, so who knows, perhaps you’ll give the other great Canadian Winter Cities a run for their money. The Edmonton Freezeway idea is certainly one of the most interesting I’ve seen lately. However, all of these places disappoint when it comes to the suburbs and ex-urbs, where the auto takes control and the feeling quickly changes to something similar to Siberia. I’m hoping for a future that sees character-based development by-laws that take the best of our inner cities and enable this walkable urban character by right in our fringes. In this way, we can complete our bedroom communities with essential services, and give people an alternative to their cars in the winter. Because cars and winter really don’t mix well.

5.  How would you describe winter to someone who has never experienced it?

Just come to Winnipeg. I’ll show you. Winnipeg is the third coldest city of its size on earth, and is a great place to live. But winter is not for sissies. It requires a significant amount of respect and preparation. One quick trip to the Arctic will tell you that winter requires community. An engaged, committed community. In some Arctic communities, people leave their keys in their cars, to assist with polar bear attacks or quick and disorienting snow storms. No one is stealing a car in a place where everyone knows everyone else, and there are few roads out. The Arctic peoples are quick to share their “country food,” including seal, whale, and arctic char, realizing that winter communities excel when they stick together, and when we live lightly on the land. Winter creates a sense of sharing, because survival often depends on it. Winnipeg has embraced that fact that a significant amount of its brand comes from its wintriness: "Winter-peg, Mani-snow-ba" has become a badge of honor, as our kids chant the phrase with pride. Full-body refrigeration or full-body heat aren’t really that great for the environment, and it becomes clear that this artificial environment is less essential when we dare to live outdoors!

6. What are you most looking forward to about the Winter Cities Shake-Up Conference?

I’m really looking forward to hear about how other winter cities are embracing winter, not just in their regional festivals and policies, but also in their every-day development by-laws, to enable walkable, bikeable, livable places — that are also sled-able, ski-able, and skate-able. I’m looking for winter city ideas on the neighbourhood scale.


Hazel will be speaking on Saturday, February 18 during the plenary session, "Winter Design: Build It". Follow her on Twitter at @hborys and @PlaceMakersLLC.

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Why You Won’t Want to Miss Joining Us at Winter Cities Shake-Up 2017

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Why You Won’t Want to Miss Joining Us at Winter Cities Shake-Up 2017

Can you believe that it’s almost the end of October already? This month has brought with it crunchy leaves, frostier temperatures, and most importantly, the opening of registration for Winter Cities Shake-Up 2017! If you’re trying to decide whether to sign yourself up as a delegate, we have a number of reasons why this conference is the “can’t miss” meeting of the year:

1. You’ll be joining an international community of impassioned delegates.
At the first Winter Cities Shake-Up in 2015, we had over 400 urbanists, entrepreneurs, artists, makers, innovators, cultural and community organizers, and other lovers of winter who joined us in Edmonton for three days of learning, networking, and activity. Delegates of 55 different cities from the icier-reaches of the globe came together to discuss best practices and brainstorm new approaches to improving urban winter life.

This year, you might find yourself “netwalking” beside a Copenhagenite, dining on Northern delicacies with a delegation from Fort St. John, or winter fat biking with a visitor from Ulaanbatar. You will have the chance to compare notes on urban challenges and solutions while forming meaningful relationships. Pro tip: make sure that you leave room in your bag for a stack of business cards!

2. Our speakers are pretty darn impressive.
From a Professor of Structural Engineering whose work has been featured on the Discovery Channel, to an award-winning Canadian First Nations author, to a Fulbright Scholar recipient whose research on wintertime mindsets has been featured internationally, our conference speakers are bound to impress and inspire. We are releasing new speaker names every day, each of them experts and thought-leaders in their respective fields.

Check out our current speaker list!

3. Winter Cities Shake-Up is for BIG ideas.
Delegates who attended the conference in 2015 might remember a presentation by Helen Marriage of the Artichoke Trust, who famously paraded a 42-tonne mechanical elephant through the streets of London, England. At this conference, Brent Christenson presented on Ice Castles made from 10,000 icicles – an idea that then came to life in Edmonton’s Hawrelak Park during the 2015/16 winter.

Obviously, Winter Cities Shake-Up has been a forum for the exchange of some extraordinary ideas. However, sometimes, ideas that seem much smaller in scale can also have just as profound an impact. Maybe you have an idea for how businesses in northern cities can capitalize upon the snowy season, or a fresh strategy for bringing a community together outdoors in the winter. Look out for opportunities for your community to present through our City Champions Package, and an upcoming Pecha Kucha night submission process with Edmonton’s NextGen!

4. Explore Winter City Edmonton

If you haven’t yet heard, Edmonton will be featured in all its glory on the cover of Canadian Geographic’s November issue! Our city of more than one million residents is at the forefront of the Winter Cities Movement which seeks to make northern communities more livable and sustainable. Edmonton, or #YEG, has its own WinterCity Strategy and Implementation Plan that provides a pathway towards transforming Edmonton into a more liveable, inviting, creative and prosperous winter city.

What this means for conference-goers is that you will have no shortage of activities to take part in and areas to explore. Explore Edmonton offers a great starting point for visitors to the city and Travel Alberta provides pointers to those who might wish to branch out further afield during their visit. From snowshoeing and visiting the bison herds in Elk Island National park to immersing yourself in Edmonton’s burgeoning foodie scene or checking out the newest exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Alberta, there is plenty to entertain everyone, both visitors and residents alike!

5. Winter Cities Shake-Up is not your average conference.

We are guessing that you’ve probably attended a conference, symposium, or forum in the past and have come to expect what these types of meetings are like. We’re going to ask that you throw all those notions out the window!

Winter Cities Shake-Up 2017 is an idea factory, connection-builder, and innovation showcase all rolled into one. The last Shake-Up saw dancers, choirs, bands, poets, and even a flying canoe experience. This time, delegates will network, learn, dine-around, share inspiration, enjoy local talent, get active outdoors, and even sit alongside a fashion catwalk.

With all this and more, can you afford not to be a part of it?

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Tina Varughese

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Tina Varughese

Tina Varughese, President of tWorks, is certainly a winter expert, having devoted much of career to assisting in the relocation of new immigrants to our chilly province of Alberta. Tina took a few minutes to share her favourite parts of the season and her thoughts on where her hometown of Calgary could improve its winter offerings.

1. What do you look forward to most about the winter season in your city?

My 12 year old son plays hockey so I always look forward to watching him play, meeting new parents and cheering his team on! I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d become and embrace being a hockey mom.

2. If you could do one thing to improve winter life in your city or community, what would it be?

I’m Calgary-based and though we do have excellent public transit it could be more far reaching, especially in residential areas. For senior citizens, it can be unnerving to drive in winter conditions so I would like to see public transportation improved upon.

3. What is your favourite outdoor winter activity; what makes you want to get outside when it’s below zero?

I’m a winter walker. I have a good friend that walks regularly with me. As long as we ‘layer’ accordingly - we’re good to go. There is nothing like a fresh snow on the ground.

4. What is your favourite winter beverage?

I make my own masala chai tea which I only enjoy in the winter time. When the spices, such as cardamom, fresh ginger and cinnamon are brewing, the aroma spreads and warms the whole house. My neighbours have purchased ‘to go’ cups for me to fill for them!

5. What is your favourite winter city destination and why? 

Canmore, AB. To be in such close proximity to the mountains is amazing. We would often spend our New Year’s Eves there with close friends tobogganing and warming up with hot chocolate and Bailey’s after.

6. How would you describe winter to someone who has never experienced it?

Having worked with the Province of Alberta’s Immigration department then starting my own relocation and settlement firm I had to describe winter many times to new immigrants and expatriates who had mixed feelings about winter. Some were extremely excited to experience world-class skiing, skating, snowshoeing and even mushing for the first time. Some were terrified of how cold and icy it could truly get. Experiencing anything for the first time is both scary and exciting. Winter can certainly be challenging- especially driving in icy road conditions without winter tires. However, if prepared with the right clothing, tires, heating etc. it can be an exhilarating experience. There is so much fun to be had in a province like Alberta! It’s a great place to live, work and play!


Tina will be presenting her imaginatively titled "50 Shades of White:  Learning to Love Winter" after lunch on Thursday, February 16.

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Paul Jordan

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Paul Jordan

Our first guest on the rebooted Speaker Interview Series is Paul Jordan, CEO of The Forks, Winnipeg's meeting place at the junction of the Assiniboine and mighty Red rivers. Here's what Paul had to share about winter in Winnipeg:

1. How does your city or community celebrate and/or embrace the winter season?

Winnipeg has always been a winter city, but over the last 10 years, we have seen more people getting outside and utilizing the season for its potential. And I feel that The Forks has been at the heart of that shift. Our Red River Mutual Trail, the skating trail on the Red and Assiniboine rivers, has become a catalyst for innovative ideas like the Warming Huts: an Art + Architecture Competition on Ice; RAW Almond, a fine dining experience on ice; to fashion shows on ice, and sporting events on our frozen rivers.

2. If you could do one thing to improve winter life in your city or community, what would it be?

As leaders in winter cities, we need to understand that winter can be a positive thing– that it’s a part of what makes us unique, special, and exciting. That we can’t hide winter, but instead, we should put it on display. And when we do that, we will spark imagination and gain collective inspiration.

3.    What is your favourite childhood winter memory?

Growing up in Winnipeg, I spent endless hours playing ball hockey on the front street with the kids in our neighbourhood. Nothing could beat that, except for the two weeks we spent digging in snowbanks looking for the stolen gold Kenny Leishman, the Flying Bandit, had buried in a snowbank somewhere in town.

4. What is your favourite winter beverage?

Single-malt whiskey.

5. What is your favourite winter city destination and why?

It can’t get any better than Mount Shasta, California. Beautiful scenery, great weather, and it doesn’t matter what season it is, winter is just a short trek into the mountains.

6. How would you describe winter to someone who has never experienced it?

Relax, breathe, don’t panic- because even when your nostrils stick together, you will get through it. The season is really quite beautiful.


You can catch Paul's presentation during the Winter Business breakouts on Thursday, February 16 at Winter Cities Shake-Up 2017.

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Bojan Mandaric

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Bojan Mandaric

Bojan Mandaric of the November Project had these awesome things to say about winter life:

1. What do you look forward to most about the winter season in your city?

Working out in the cold weather, rolling in the snow, creating long lasting memories. As adults, we forget how much fun we had as kids playing in the cold. We would stay out sledding, tobogganing, ice-skating, until our extremities went numb or ur parents called us in. Now we have a chance to relive those moments with our "grown-up" friends and its as magical as it was back then. 

2. How does your city or community celebrate and/or embrace the winter season?

November Project cherishes cold weather. We cosntantly talk about how our tribe is weatherproof, how our workouts never get canceled for the weather, so when the cold days roll in, we embrace them with excitement. The colder and snowier it gets, the more excited our members are, as they are earning badges of honour for being out when most of the city is tucked into their warm bed sheets. 

3. What is your favourite winter beverage?

An IPA beer. 

4. How would you describe winter to someone who has never experienced it?

Winter is the time of the year that many despise but few love and cherish. I love the feeling of the cold brisk air filling up my lungs on every inhale and seeing the white cloud of steam exiting my mouth on the way out. I truly enjoy going for a long walk or a run through the snow covered trails feeling the crunch under my shoes. During winter, we get to experience - without any human influence - water turning from liquid to solid before our very eyes, and that's amazing!

5. What are you most looking forward to about the Winter Cities Shake-Up Conference?

Hearing and sharing thoughts and ideas about motivating more people to enjoy winter and all the wonderful things it has to offer in our respective communities. 

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Can't Attend the Whole Conference, but Want to be Part of the Action?

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Can't Attend the Whole Conference, but Want to be Part of the Action?

If you’re not able to attend the entire Winter Shake-Up Conference, don’t fret! We’ve created more space for people who only want to attend one or more Keynote Presentations, and there are plenty of activities that you can take part in without joining us for all three days. 

Catch these great speakers and their presentations for just $75:

Mikael Colville-Andersen, Copenhagenize Design Company, Wednesday, January 28, 3:30 – 5:00 pm

Helen Marriage, Artichoke, Thursday, January 29, 8:45 - 9:45 am

Terry O’Reilly, CBC Radio, Friday, January 30, 10:30 - 11:45 am

For more information on these wonderful presentations, visit: http://www.wintercitiesconference.com/program/

Did you know that you don’t have to register for the Conference to check out these awesome Edmonton activities? You can sign up for them for only $15 each!

Bison Tour at Elk Island National Park, Tuesday January 27, 11 am – 3 pm
Experience Bison Backstage, your behind-the-scenes access pass to bison conservation at Elk Island National Park. Hands-on, fun, and entertaining, this guided tour at Elk Island's Wood Bison Handling Facility will have you stompin' to the beat of Parks Canada's bison conservation legacy.   The field trip will include the Wood Bison Handling Facility Tour in addition to a snowy winter wonderland hike through Elk Island National Park trails. Transportation from the Shaw Conference Centre will be provided. 

Skiing and Snowboarding at Snow Valley, Tuesday, January 27, 10 am – 4 pm
Come skiing or snowboarding at the facility named “Ski School of the Year” by the Canadian Ski Instructors' Alliance. Share a vibrant outdoor experience in Edmonton's scenic river valley and enjoy the benefits of outdoor winter activity. Join a one-hour lesson tailored to your ability level and then enjoy the rest of the day exploring Snow Valley Ski Resort.

Starlight Bike Ride to the University of Alberta Conservatory, Thursday, January 29, 7:20 – 9 pm
Join the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society (EBC) for a short bike ride from BikeWorks South (8001 102 St), their volunteer-run community workshop, to the University of Alberta Observatory. U of A faculty will give a brief astronomy talk in the observatory's indoor education space, and, weather permitting, the observatory domes will be open to view the Moon and the stars through the observatory's telescopes. PLEASE NOTE: This activity is currently full due to our number of available bikes. If you would like to join this and have your own bike, please email us at winter@buksa.com and we’ll see if we can get you in! 

Fun with Snow Sculpting and Winterscaping, Friday, January 30, 2 – 4:30 pm
Learn how to sculpt snow creations and create beautiful and fun winterscapes in your yard using snow, ice, plants, and colour!  In this family-friendly workshop presented by Harcourt House and City of Edmonton, participants will be given tools, materials, and instructions on creating snow sculptures and winterscapes, right in the middle of the city.

‘Wacky Winter Challenge’ at Miquelon Lake, Friday, January 30, 2:30 – 6 pm
Many people are unaware that Provincial Parks such as Miquelon Lake are open year round and offer a variety of recreational opportunities such as snowshoeing, ice skating, and cross country skiing. Participants can try their hand at snow golf, test their aim with snowball throwing, and have fun with a few more creative activities! Passports keep track of individual or team scores and those with the highest score win a small Alberta Parks prize!

Tour through the River Valley with Walkable Edmonton, Friday, January 30, 2:30 – 5:00 pm
Bundle up and get outside for a Winter Walk in Edmonton's River Valley, the LARGEST stretch of urban park in North America. With hundreds of kilometres of pathways and 20 major parks, the River Valley is a natural wonder and a great place to get outside and enjoy winter. You will have the opportunity to learn about some of the local history as well as the role the River Valley plays in making Edmonton a great winter city!

Register for your choice in Keynote Presentation and for these fun activities here: http://www.wintercitiesconference.com/registration-accomodation/

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Helen Marriage

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Helen Marriage

We asked Helen Marriage of Artichoke, London for her thoughts on the magic of winter:

  1.      What do you look forward to most about the winter season in your city?  

Snow, when there is some.  Doesn't always happen!

2.       How does your city or community celebrate and/or embrace the winter season?  

There are all kinds of winter activities in London - ice rinks, decorations, light festivals, and chestnut sellers emerge onto the streets!

3.       What is your favourite winter beverage?  

Mulled wine, iced vodka or hot chocolate.

4.       What is your favourite winter city destination?  

Siena.

5.       How would you describe winter to someone who has never experienced it?

Colder, darker and shorter than you can imagine.

6.       What are you most looking forward to about the Winter Cities Shake-Up Conference?  

New ideas and new people!

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Terry O'Reilly

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Terry O'Reilly

CBC radio host, author, and advertising guru Terry O'Reilly had some interesting things to say about living in winter cities:

 

1. What do you look forward to most about the winter season in your city? 

Out in the country where we live, winter is pretty magical. We look forward to the beauty of the snow covered fields and snow tipped trees surrounding our log home. Snowshoeing the trails on a sunny day, followed by a cup of hot chocolate by the fire. 

2. How does your city or community celebrate and/or embrace the winter season?

We live near the Blue Mountains of Collingwood, a town north of Toronto where many come to ski and snowboard. Winters in the Collingwood area are all about how good the ski condirions are. Lots of winter festivals and events. 

3. What is your favourite winter beverage?

My favourite winter beverege is a coffee with Bailey's on ice. 

4. What is your favourite winter city destination?

I like Ottawa, Ontario in the winter. Skating the Rideau is a highlight. Collingwood is very winter-centric. And we like New York around Christmas, and have skated Rockefeller Square. 

5. How would you describe winter to someone who has never experienced it? 

Winter is like a snow globe. Right after a snowfall, the entire world turns white. It's very quiet, the snow crunches under foot. It's the one time where you can see all sorts of evidence of wildlife, as footprints are everywhere. A beautiful winter day can be bright and cheerful, and you have to be outside. The next day, the blowing snow can reduce visibility to almost zero, so the best place to be is inside by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate. Winter is what fireplaces are for. 

6. What are you most looking forward to about the Winter Cities Shake-Up Conference?

I'm looking forward to hearing all about the challenges various cities have convincing tourists to visit during the winter. And I'm endlessly curious about the best solutions. 

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Randy Brososky

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Winter Shake-Up! Speaker Interview Series: Randy Brososky

We asked our Shake-Up speakers some questions about their thoughts on winter life, and they had some cool things to say! Here is our interview with Randy Brososky, Marketing Strategist Extraordinaire:

1.       What do you look forward to most about the winter season in your city?

The way sound changes. With the snow, the hustle and bustle gets a little more muted. Ironically, it's easier to "stop and smell the roses" when they are covered in a blanket of snow. There is a calm to winter that is absent the rest of the year.

2.       What happens in your city that helps you stay active and play outside during winter?

Festivals. Ice on Whyte. All Is Bright. Silver Skate. Deep Freeze. All good reasons to get out and move.

3.       What is your favourite winter childhood memory?

Snow days. When nature decides for you that you are taking a day for yourself. Indulging in hot chocolate and having no commitments or cares.

4.       What is your favourite winter city destination?

Haven't seen many others, but I am interested in seeing them all!

5.       How would you describe winter to someone who has never experienced it?

Cold. Dark. Mysterious. Scary at first, but that's just until you start to understand it. Then it becomes magical, fun, and a celebration of light. Besides, it's no fun to snuggle up in front of a roaring fire with a hot beverage and someone you care about in July.

6.       How do you wish to improve winter life in your city or community?

Attitudes. More people choosing to embrace it instead of hate it. Once a city is inspired by something, the whole mood lifts. And what's great is that we're getting there!

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Winter Cities Shake-Up!: By the Numbers

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Winter Cities Shake-Up!: By the Numbers

The Winter Cities Shake-Up is an international conference on shaking up preconceptions about how we plan, design, live, work, and play in winter cities. It’s a conference for urban planners and designers, entrepreneurs and business people, artists, cultural and community organizers, and people who live in winter cities and want to take advantage of all winter has to offer.

For our Early Bird rate of $505 (and even less for non-profits!), the Winter Shake-Up package is one you don’t want to miss! Just take a look at the numbers:

3 (and a half) Days
The conference officially begins on January 28 and closes on January 30, 2015, but we encourage you to arrive on January 27 and to head over to Edmonton’s gorgeous Winspear Centre for the Welcoming Reception.  Cocktails, art displays, performances and storytelling will set the stage for three more days of creative thinking around making the most of the winter season.

60+ Presentations
Winter Shake-Up has over 60 brilliant minds coming to Edmonton from places like Iceland, Finland, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, and across Canada and its Northern Territories.

3 Keynote Speakers
Helen Marriage: Artichoke , London, England - Artichoke produces urban spectacles and large-scale, ambitious events that bring people together to be part of something out of the ordinary.  For example, the Sultan’s Elephant. 42 tons of elephant and a 20 foot girl cruising through the streets of London for four days before disappearing in a puff of smoke… 

Mikael Colville-Andersen: Copenhagenize Design Company - Colville-Andersen is a leading global voice in urban planning. He believes the bicycle is the most important tool for rebuilding livable cities: You make the bicycle the quickest way from A to B in a city, any city, doesn’t matter how hot or cold, and citizen cyclists will ride, seduced by the good design, the convenience and the safety.”

Terry O’Reilly: Marketing expert, author, and radio host - How do we effect large-scale social change? How do we change a city’s ‘story’ from being cold, dark and dangerous for half the year because of winter, to being fun, full of opportunity and THE place to be – in winter and all year round? Part of the answer lies in marketing done right: “Really good big ideas are powerful enough to change not only how we think, but what we do and the choices we make.”

30+ Market Vendors
The conference officially wraps at 11:45am on January 28. 15 minutes later, the fun continues at the Winter Shake-Up Festival & Market!  Edmonton’s downtown gathering place, Churchill Square, will light up with food, drinks, entertainment, activities for all ages and an outdoor market featuring over 30 local vendors.  The Shake-Up Festival and Market, from noon – 8pm, is a party for conference delegates and all Edmontonians.

9 Field Trips
As a Winter Shake-Up delegate, you can choose from 9 field trips, each showcasing different aspects of winter life. These include:

  • a sampler of the Ice on Whyte Festival
  • winter cycling with Edmonton Bicycle Commuters
  • a behind-the-scenes peak into the Silver Skate Festival just days before it opens
  • a visit with Edmonton’s Snow Boss
  • place-making at the community level with the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, an umbrella organization for 156 city community leagues
  • a trip to Landmark Home’s innovative indoor house production facility
  • a birds-eye view of Edmonton’s booming downtown revitalization, including plans for Blachford, one of the largest sustainable development projects being planned, and the new Edmonton Arena District

7 Pre and Post Conference Activities
Edmonton has so much to offer in the way of winter fun that we can’t possibly include it all in the Shake-Up Conference. We encourage our delegates to check out these activities, before and after the conference:

  • Bison Tour at Elk Island National Park, January 27, 11am-3pm
  • Skiing and Snowboarding at Snow Valley, January 27, 10am-4pm
  • Starlight Bike Ride to the University of Alberta Observatory, January 29, 7:20-9pm
  • Fun with Snow Sculpting and Winterscaping, Friday, January 30, 2-4:30pm
  • Wacky Winter Challenge at Miquelon Lake, January 30, 2:30-6pm
  • Tour Through the River Valley with Walkable Edmonton, January 30, 2:30-5pm
  • Cross-Country Skiing at Victoria Park Nordic Ski Loop, January 30, 3:30-8pm

We can’t wait to see you in January for this incredible conference! 

Follow us on Twitter @WinterCities

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