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?