This being only my fourth winter in Edmonton--and the worst winter Edmontonians have seen in more than 20 years, I feel like I've been coping pretty well. (Although maybe that has to do with the fact that we skipped town for a month in December.)
This city knows it has crappy weather, and crappy winter roads, and winter weather services, but one thing it has tried to do to make up for that is to have lots of winter festivals, celebrating the best parts of winter. For three months, during the coldest of winter, the "Winter Light Festival" brings something every weekend to help locals take the edge off: evening light shows, bonfires, parades, pond skates, ice sculpture contests, lantern-lit walks, etc.
Kevin and I have been to a number of the events over the years, our favourite being the Ice on Whyte and the Deep Freeze Festival, but having a toddler in tow has curtailed our outings a bit--especially this year. During most of the highlights of the festival, we've been getting dumped with three feet of snow or else it's been in the -20s and much too cold to take a toddler outside (especially one who refuses to wear his mittens!).
But recently, we had a weekend with a "warm" day, which in our northern nomenclature means above freezing, so we all headed downtown for the final day of Ice on Whyte. Unfortunately, every family in Edmonton had the same idea, so it was a little crowded. Also, warm temperatures are actually less-than-ideal for a festival built around snow and ice. The walkways were mostly dirt and slush and the ice sculptures were beginning to melt. No matter. It was warm and the sun was shining and everyone in the city, it seemed, was smiling. Ah, if every winter's day could be so beautiful, I wouldn't mind this season in the least--although, I guess then it wouldn't be called winter.