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.
(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
It was the beginning of a cold wave that this week caused a the railroad to break the Edmonton transit system, caused a general chill in the prairies and caused significant and unusual snowfall in southern British Columbia.
There was already a good amount of snow in Edmonton. Upon leaving the hotel, I was a little worried if the valley trails would be passable. But that concern increased when I reached the dramatic staircase next to the relatively new funicular that goes down into the valley. All 156 steps had been completely cleared of snow and ice. Ottawa, where I live, does not even try to clear many exterior stairs with only half a dozen steps and simply chains them for the winter.
Down in the river valley, every road, and there are many, had been plowed. Again, that's new to someone from Ottawa.
Nothing I found was random. For the past eight years or so, Edmonton has been implementing an official strategy to encourage its residents to adopt winter rather than hibernate.
This week, I spoke with Tanaka Island, who is Edmonton's "winter city planner," a publication that he believes nobody else has in the country.
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.
Ms. Tanaka said Edmonton discovered that consistency was the key to encouraging winter cycling. If the bike paths and paths do not clear quickly and regularly after each snowfall, he said, cyclists quickly store their bicycles for the winter.
For Ms. Tanaka, the biggest surprise has been the public embrace of winter. She and others initially thought that winter would be difficult to sell.
"But that came very, very fast," he said. "Maybe people were ready to be outside."
While other cities, of course, have many programs to encourage citizens to go outdoors in winter, Ms. Tanaka said she doesn't know any with a plan as complete as Edmonton's. And increasingly, he is listening to other cities seeking winter advice.
Winnipeg, Ottawa and neighboring Gatineau, Saskatoon and, above all, Quebec City celebrate winter carnivals with a variety of events. And everyone has, like other cities, outdoor winter activities throughout the season, even if they don't follow Edmonton's comprehensive approach.
This week's Times travel section presents a tour of some of Elaine Glusac's Quebec skating trails.
(Read: Where the trails are for skating, not for walking)
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.
In particular, Dave Adams, a cross-country skier, began preparing a path for your sport along the Ottawa River in a more or less solo effort. Now in its fourth year, the trail has become an institution almost as important as skating on the Rideau Canal. Two other volunteer-based trails will appear in other parts of the city this year.
All this is coming, of course, is climate change and erratic climate. Last winter, it was often too cold to comfortably skate on the Ottawa Canal. This year, a series of thaws means that the ice is not yet thick enough to open.
But for now, at least, much of Canada is a winter place. Edmonton's recognition of that reality is one of his strengths.
While it was somewhat overshadowed by the national duel over the deaths in Iran, Canada also made international news for being the future part-time home of Prince Harry and Meghan, his wife. Dan bilefsky I took the national temperature in that news while looking at the practical considerations facing the couple, which is formally known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Mark Landler, our London-based colleague, reports that "Megxit,quot; is almost as divisive as Brexit in Britain.
Michael McCain, executive director of Maple Leaf Foods, turned to Twitter in anger and frustration at what he saw as President Trump's role in the missile attack in Iran.
For Sports, Gerald Narciso traveled to Whitehorse to tell the story of Dylan Cozens, who last year became the fourth Yukon player to be recruited by an N.H.L. equipment.
International Real Estate toured a house in Canmore, Alberta now in the market for 3,795 million Canadian dollars.
Millions of people in Ontario received a timely and false alarm last Sunday.
This month's Netflix offers in Canada include "The Post," Steven Spielberg's political thriller based on the publication of the Pentagon documents.
Born in Windsor, Ontario, Ian Austen was educated in Toronto, lives in Ottawa and has reported on Canada for The New York Times for the past 16 years. Follow him on Twitter at @ianrausten.
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