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.


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.

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