I’ve always valued Manitoba winters. To me, the bright, clean, snowy city scenes are worth the price we pay in frigid temperatures.
Without those cold temperatures we wouldn’t be able to wake up to the sight of our city’s trees encrusted in a sparkling layer of hoarfrost. It’s breathtaking! And well worth the necessary bundling. However, I know it can be a long winter, and when you have two young children in the house like I do, the term "cabin fever" becomes all too real.
Luckily, we are armed with a few activities for when the winter begins to feel a bit too long.
Assiniboine Park is easily accessible from St. James. Just a short walk across the foot bridge and you will promptly find yourself at the newly expanded duck pond. There you can skate for hours, intermittently heading inside the warming shack — a misnomer for the beautiful, airy all-glass viewing space — to sit by the fire and grab a hot chocolate.
You can even make a day of it and go tobogganing right next door, if you don’t mind bringing a sled which you know you will end up pulling the kids home in.
The Assiniboine Park Zoo has two new residents, the recently rescued polar bear cubs Kaska and Aurora. We’re looking forward to seeing the new polar bears and have high hopes for the Journey To Churchill exhibit that Hudson, Storm and their two new companions will be residing in when it opens later this year.
If these outdoor activities aren’t drawing you out of that February slump, then do what we do at my house — hit every winter festival and pancake breakfast being held at local community centres. The Sturgeon Heights pancake breakfast took place this past weekend and there are still many more to come. Make sure to check your community centre’s website or newsletter for dates.
The Red River Mutual Trail has officially opened at the Forks, and our fingers are crossed that once again the river will freeze thoroughly enough that the winter river path will reach Assiniboine Park. Last year the trail was long enough to set a world record, but what really mattered was how much joy it brought to families in St. James.
While I saw many simply enjoying the different perspective from the frozen trail, others really did skate, ski and walk to work via the river! It just goes to show what a committed, hardy and practical bunch Manitobans are. Enjoy the coming weeks as best you can!