With snow falling everywhere east of the Missouri River, we thought it a good time to further mention some things that make parks lighten the load of winter’s cold and ice.
Most of this actually involves embracing it. One example is the Winter Carnival or Festival. Whether it be St. Paul’s Winter Carnival, Ottawa’s Winterlude or Montreal’s pre-Lenten Winter Festival (taking place in its Parc Jean-Drapeau) or Quebec’s Winter Carnval, the idea is to provide lots of events and things to do both inside and outside. In St. Paul, the city’s European-looking Rice Park fills up with ice sculptures and residents search for a medallion worth $10,000 if found in the city’s parks.
In Minneapolis, the city recently started the only urban cross country ski marathon (called a loppet) that traverses the city’s parks and lakes. The big event includes professionals from around the world, but events occur for anyone to participate in. The Star Tribune has a video here of the “Luminary Loppet,” which involves a short ski or hiking course of lighted ice forms.
The coldest cities in the country cannot change their climates, but many of them have great park systems that are there year round. Might as well make good use of them to make living in the city during cold months a little warmer in spirit.