News / Canada

Metro Cities: How to build places that acknowledge, and embrace, winter

Some cities can have outdoor escalators. Canadian ones can't. But there are cool innovations popping up for cold places.

Andres Plana / Metro

As Quebecois singer-songwriter Gilles Vigneault sang: Canada is winter. But our cities haven't always been designed with the reality of snow, cold, darkness and bitter winds in mind — until now. Edmonton is leading the charge with its Winter Design Guidelines, endorsed by council in 2016.

Here's a look at what the Prairie city, and other snowy stops, are doing to keep people safe, and happy, all season long.

Heated bus and transit stops: Halifax unveiled its first in December as a pilot.

Heated sidewalks to cut-down on snow clearing: Google sister company Alphabet pitched these for Toronto's Sidewak Labs development.

Bright colours: Cold towns like Copenhagen and Reykjavik are bursting with colour to punch up dreary days.

The brightly-coloured buildings of the Nyhavn district in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Torstar News Service

The brightly-coloured buildings of the Nyhavn district in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Narrow buildings: Edmonton's design guide calls for this to allow more sunshine through to street level.

Wind shields: The Edmonton plan suggests strategically placed snow piles, evergreen trees, or breaks in building frontage to duck into escape and cut down on blustery winds

Seasonal fun: Winter is the only time to skate, ski and sled. Some cities regulate sledding, while others map tobaggan hills. Outdoor skating rinks are popular across the country, with Toronto stepping up its game with more skating trails, including one under the downtown highway.

The Bentway skate trail let's Torontonians ice dance under the highway.

Justin Greaves / Metroland

The Bentway skate trail let's Torontonians ice dance under the highway.

Snowy commute: Edmonton boasts cross country ski rack at Century Park LRT station since 2015.

Edmontonians can take the skis to work thanks to an LRT station ski rack.

Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press

Edmontonians can take the skis to work thanks to an LRT station ski rack.

Light shows: Montreal's Luminotherapie light festival brightens up downtown.

People play on a series of 30 interactive seesaws with light and sound that changes when in motion at Montreal's annual light show.

Paul Chiasson / The Canadian Press

People play on a series of 30 interactive seesaws with light and sound that changes when in motion at Montreal's annual light show.

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