Welcoming the cold winter hug – The New York Times

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<pre><pre>Welcoming the cold winter hug - The New York Times

As I mentioned in Canada's letter last week, the terrible aftermath of the missile attack on Flight 752 of Ukraine International Airlines took me to Edmonton because I was reeling from the loss of 27 residents.

Despite their shock and pain, those who knew the victims and members of the Iranian community in the city welcomed me with exceptional grace and generosity.

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(Read: Plane crash leaves the Iranian diaspora in Canada grieved)

After I finished my article (for those of you who read it now: it was published before Iran admitted that its missiles shot down the plane), I went for a run at night in the vast river valley that is the defining geographical feature of Edmonton

Like other Canadian communities, he told me, Edmonton was part of a winter city movement during the 1980s that failed with few achievements.

In 2012, Ben Henderson, a city councilor who came from the vibrant theater community of Edmonton, began to press for a renewed effort and headed for a winter tour of the Scandinavian cities to see how they approach the season.

A key conclusion, Ms. Tanaka said, was "that you have to remind people every year that winter can be fun."

A group of citizens charged with developing the city's official winter strategy created 64 programs that will be implemented over a decade.

They cover a wide range. Some of them involve thinking about using color to make public spaces more attractive during the darkest winter period. Ms. Tanaka and her colleagues work with restaurants in the design of outdoor patios that may be open year-round (at least two were serving outside during this week's freeze). New facilities are being opened with baths in the river valley that do not have to be closed in winter. And the city now considers things like protecting itself from winter winds when placing skating rinks and sledding hills.

"If we don't design these spaces to be comfortable in the winter, people won't go outside," Tanaka said. That is particularly a problem in the city center, where the open air competes with a network of heated indoor "alleys,quot; linking most of the buildings.

Here in Ottawa, where plans are often fragmented between two municipalities in two provinces and the National Capital Commission of the federal government, volunteers have driven some of the recent efforts to get more people out in winter.

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