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Assiniboine River ‘helix path’ returns for second year

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The Assiniboine River walking trail known as the helix path has returned for a second consecutive year.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/12/2021 (520 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Assiniboine River walking trail known as the helix path has returned for a second consecutive year.

The path debuted last winter as a safe space for visitors to get fresh air during the COVID-19 lockdown and now returns for the same reason.

“It’s always a great idea to spend time in nature, but especially right now with COVID numbers rising,” co-creator Hazel Borys said.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Co-creator Hazel said organizers are planning to add music this year to accompany the return of the path’s popular poetry contest and live yoga sessions.

This year’s path extends nearly 60 metres and mimics the helix pattern from last year, which was specifically designed to promote social distancing while using the space.

Borys said organizers are planning to add music this year to accompany the return of the path’s popular poetry contest and live yoga sessions.

“We are trying to give people something positive and interesting to think about right now,” she said. “We’ll see where this year takes us; every year is a little bit different.”

Borys and her team of seven volunteers began working on the path Dec. 22 and are putting the final touches on it after a week of hard work.

“There’s a lot of heavy lifting that goes into making this possible,” Borys said. “Getting all the ice down the side of a snowy bank is a bit of a fun challenge.”

A major addition to this year’s team of volunteers was Sonja Lundstrom, who first noticed the path while skiing past last year.

“I was blown away the first time I saw it,” she said. “I’ve been creating with nature since I was born, so seeing Hazel’s shared enthusiasm toward the path made me want to join the team.”

Lundstrom previously spent time learning about ice crafts in Sweden and was the mastermind behind the most significant addition: circular ice lanterns used for light and decoration.

To create the lanterns, she fills 23-centimetre balloons with water and sits them in a bed of hard, compacted snow to freeze. Once the ice is about 2.5 cm thick, she removes the balloon and releases the excess water to reveal the final product.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS One of several poems in the ice on display along the path.

The spherical lanterns (nearly 60 are involved) are then placed on snow pedestals around the path and lit up, when the wind allows it.

Borys said ice was specifically used in order to reduce use of plastic and other unsustainable resources.

“Another huge reason we do this is to bring attention to the importance of Winnipeg’s three rivers,” she said. “We feel that the more time we spend down on our rivers, the more conscious we will be to keep them healthy and safe.”

The path, located at Hugo Street and Wellington Crescent near the boat dock, is now open to visitors. Borys said there is a good chance the tradition will continue in future years.

fpcity@freepress.mb.ca

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