In this dreadful, Prairie blue-skied cold, the last thing people want to think about is going outside for a long walk.
But this is Winnipeg, where people can put a good spin on even a long deep freeze. The colder the weather gets, the quicker the Red River Mutual Trail freezes over and the quicker
Winnipeggers can enjoy treks from the Forks along the Red and Assiniboine Rivers.
The River Trail has already earned a world class distinction from Guiness as the longest naturally frozen skating trail in the world and now it’s starting to build tributaries along the river banks into local communities.
One such community, Norwood, will host a party on the River Trail on Sunday, Feb. 2, for the second consecutive year. The event runs from 1 to 3 p.m.
Folks can access the party by following the Red River trail directly from the Forks or by scuttling down the riverbanks in Norwood (Lawndale Avenue at Lyndale Drive) or Riverview (from Churchill Drive).
Last year’s gig was a hoot. The event opened with shots from a musket brigade of La Compagnie De La Verendrye. Folks enjoyed hot chocolate and bannock, a roaring fire, a fir warming hut, a skating rink, some lively shinny and visits from Festival du Voyageur ambassadors and the Norwood Naughty Knitters. Some revellers were even flying kites. Folks of all ages attended, from Boomers to teenagers to families toting sleds or strollers with little ones. Expect more of the same this year, plus a few new surprises.
Last year, many trekkers from the Forks had no idea they were walking into a party. They were pleasantly surprised to happen upon such a festive event.
Deenie Lefko-Halas and Lynda Geary, co-creators of the party, intend to invite folks from the other side of the river in Riverview to descend the southern river bank and meet their neighbours from across the river.
Deenie notes that "Norwood and Riverview are two vibrant communities but they are isolated from one another. The frozen river offers a chance for neighbours to meet neighbours."
Lynda adds that the event promotes "old-fashioned fun that gets lost in this day and age."
Winnipeg is reaching back to its roots, taking advantage of its natural amenities to build community. The Forks has been a meeting place throughout the history of Manitoba for Aboriginal peoples, traders, Voyageurs, Europeans and countless immigrants.
Paul Jordan, chief operating officer of the Forks Renewal Corporation believes in the trail as a way to build community spirit: "The River Trail is really a canvas on which community groups may come and paint. The Norwood party is one of many the creative portraits the trail will see this year."
Businesses or individuals can contact Deenie or Lynda at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, to offer sponsorship or to suggest creative ideas for the bash.
You can also check out the Forks site at http://www.theforks.com/rivertrail for updates on activities on the Red River Mutual Trail.
Adriano Magnifico is a community correspondent for St. Boniface. You can contact him at email@example.com