Embracing Winter with Creative Ways to Stay Outdoors
So how do we embrace winter, while also being mindful of not attracting big crowds this year? A few key insights from the webinars:
- Shift the conversation. Let’s talk about stylish winter gear, crisp air and blue skies, powdery snow, and how it’s nice to not get sweaty when riding your bike. Leave the bleak attitude behind. Pretend you are a kid again. Winter can be a delight!
- Keep the sidewalks clear. As Gil Penalosa said, in all seasons, “sidewalks are the most important infrastructure in any city.” Prioritizing snow removal from sidewalks help make it safe and enjoyable (and always free!) to venture out on foot!
- Think programs, not events. Events often mean crowds, or a one-time party. This year, ongoing, steady programming will spread out visits and aid in physical distancing (and may also better cater to different ages).
- Celebrate the season. Winter offers the excuse to warm by a fire pit, sit in the sun, drink a warm beverage, and keep moving to stay warm. Installations and programming that bring in elements that celebrate the season make it all the more special.
- Get creative. Government has adapted throughout 2020 – allowing things like more outdoor dining – and this type of fresh looks at old regulations is often needed to get creative over the winter.
Creative wintery outdoor projects in Winnipeg
Manitobans built snow maze, ice tower, curling rink and zamboni to smooth river
City of Toronto launches ShowLoveTO Winter Activation Grant Program to support Toronto’s main street businesses by promoting events celebrating art, culture and community to encourage business during winter
ShowLoveTO Winter Activation Grant. Business Improvement Associations (BIA), community groups, not-for-profits and charitable organizations are eligible to apply. The program will fund 50 per cent of eligible project costs such as winter lighting, additional marketing and advertising, and supplemental sidewalk snow clearing. Applications are now available and the deadline to apply for the ShowLoveTO Winter Activation Grant Program is Monday, November 30 at 4:30 p.m. Applications are available online.
ShowLoveTO Partnership Program
The ShowLoveTO Partnership Program is intended for community activations in Toronto between January 1 and December 31, 2021. Registered not-for-profit organizations, community groups and charities that serve Toronto residents and promote opportunities for the community to give back are eligible to apply. Activations may be online or in person and may include performing arts, dance, drama, comedy, virtual-online events, music, visual arts, literary arts, interdisciplinary arts, photography, craft, design, as well as expressions of history and heritage. All activations must demonstrate the capacity to follow current provincial and municipal public health guidelines. Applicants can apply for one-time support of up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs. Applications are now available and the deadline to apply for the ShowLoveTO Partnership Program is Friday, December 11 at 5 p.m.
City of Toronto launches Welcome T.O. Winter parks plan
To help people stay active this winter season, the City is highlighting its offering of new and enhanced exercise-based recreation activities in parks locations across Toronto. The Welcome T.O. Winter plan provides safe ways for people to get outside in Toronto’s parks, including at our 54 artificial ice rinks and five golf courses. This includes:
- 23 toboggan hills in neighbourhoods across Toronto
- 8 snow loops for walking and snowshoeing at the City’s five golf courses
- Free, leisure skating at the City’s 54 outdoor ice rinks
- Six disc-golf locations
- New guided outdoor Walk Fit programs, including 45 sessions each week
- High Park car-free weekends
- City parks with additional 60 kilometres of paved recreational trails and pathways with snow maintenance
- 100 parks with winter maintenance, including 60 with enhanced maintenance this year including cleared parking lots and paved pathways
- Up to 30-plus natural ice rinks – the City is accepting applications until December 31 for community-built and maintained natural ice rinks in City parks
- The City will more than double its supply of winter park washrooms from 64 to 143 as part of its ongoing response to COVID-19
- ShowLoveTO Winter Activation Grant. The ShowLoveTO Winter Activation Grant Program will support Toronto’s main street businesses by promoting events celebrating art, culture and community to encourage business during the coldest months of the year. Business Improvement Associations (BIA), community groups, not-for-profits and charitable organizations are eligible to apply. The program will fund 50 per cent of eligible project costs such as winter lighting, additional marketing and advertising, and supplemental sidewalk snow clearing. Applications are now available and the deadline to apply for the ShowLoveTO Winter Activation Grant Program is Monday, November 30 at 4:30 p.m. Applications are available online.
The City of Montreal is rolling out new winter activities for the pandemic for the entirety of the 2020-21 winter season.
- implementation of 25 “winter stations” designed to allow Montrealers to enjoy the city’s outdoor public places — including squares, parks or vacant spaces near commercial hubs — during the winter. The winter stations were designed in collaboration with local architects and designers and are part of the city’s effort to encourage Montrealers to buy local, as the downtown stations will be situated near shops.
- winter activities in Montreal parks and beyond. This will include winter markets, but also winter sporting activities in almost every major Montreal park beginning in December. Since sports-related activities are prohibited in COVID-19 red zones, the city is allowing for outdoor play by making cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, ice skating and fat biking available. Montrealers can borrow equipment for free.
- heated areas and restrooms will be available to allow Montrealers to warm up after a day of activities.
- parks will also offer an outdoor “ocean” expedition presented by the Biosphere, to allow Montrealers to observe the birds, flora and fauna of the area.
Activities can be booked online through the city’s website. More details will be made available in the coming weeks on the city of Montreal’s web portal.
WinterCity Edmonton, a City of Edmonton initiative aims to draw Edmontonians together to make winter more vibrant and exciting, and to fully embrace the winter spirit.
In 2012, the City enlisted a diverse group of volunteers to help create the WinterCity Strategy, “For The Love of Winter.” Working in the four areas of Winter Life, Winter Design, Winter Economy and Our Winter Story, this award-winning initiative has inspired a change in the way Edmontonians see our climate, our city and ourselves
A Mountain ski village is having 20 gondola cabins refurbished and repurposed as dining cabins in response to decreased restaurant capacity due to the pandemic
The town also will erect 20-foot yurts and temporary “pavilion” structures. Tables will have QR codes that show menu options from 12 restaurants in the village center. Some of those restaurants will send wait staff to your gondola or yurt, as if you were being served in the restaurant. Some will be offering takeout meals only.
Download The “Winter Places” Design Guide to help your community embrace winter outdoors this year with design ideas from around the world.
Centre for an Urban Future presents ideas and insights on how policymakers can help sustain restaurants and other small businesses through the colder months.
This report features their ideas. It includes creative policy recommendations from more than twenty experts. They received more than 40 concrete ideas grouped into five main areas;
- Design, build, and install winterized outdoor space for restaurants and retailers
- Rethink rules, regulations, and permitting around sidewalks, streets, and public space.
- Enlist New York business, design, and tech talent to help small businesses
- Provide microgrants and technical assistance to aid the transition to pop-up, online, and outdoor operations
- Tap vacant storefronts for land swaps, pop-ups, social infrastructure, and more
The City of Kitchener has extended its patio program to support local bar and restaurant operators to at least January 1, 2021.
Should the Province permit temporary patios beyond January 1, the City will also permit the continuation of patios. The now extended patio program allows bar and restaurant operators the opportunity to offer food services on temporary outdoor patios city-wide and expanded sidewalks patios downtown Kitchener. Since the launch of the patio program over 60 local operators have extended or added temporary outdoor patios to their establishments.
Toronto’s outdoor dining guidelines
The CaféTO program aims to provide more outdoor dining areas to help some restaurants and bars create physical distancing for patrons on patios during the summer months. A CaféTO Placement Guidebook has been created to better understand program requirements and other details necessary. Link provides details on requirements for curb lane patios, patios on private property, use of portable heaters & tents/enclosures.
Winter city design: 3 ways to save our small businesses this COVID-19 winter
There’s a lot to consider when designing for winter, but the philosophy is basic: Create places where people want to be, give them a way to get there, and create ‘sticky’ events—events that draw attendees in and give them reasons to stick around—to help people discover new places.
The City of Chicago’s 2020 Winter Dining Challenge: the 60 Innovative Designs
A jury evaluated the submissions based on feasibility, accessibility, health considerations, material and installation costs, inclusivity, climate comfort, sustainability, and flexibility. A key design principle is making sure the finalists are not only scalable for large and small establishments, but also cost effective for businesses already struggling from the impact of the pandemic. Running a restaurant in the time of COVID requires creativity and consistency to keep everyone healthy. Still, a willingness to pivot and try new off-premise options will help operators execute these restaurant innovations for COVID and stay afloat.
City of Chicago’s Fall & Winter COVID-19 Outdoor Dining Guidance
The City of Chicago has prepared a one page guidance document for restaurants and bars to continue operating outdoors safely and responsibly.
A restaurant in St. Jacobs, ON is using domes on their outdoor patio to keep patrons warm and physically distanced for colder weather
Patrons are confined within a social bubble inside of the dome. Each dome can hold up to eight people and no mixing of social bubbles are allowed.
City of Ottawa extending patio season to December 31
The city is coming up with a plan for winter that will see snowbanks removed quicker than usual in high-traffic curbside pickup areas, such as Wellington West, Montreal Road, Elgin Street, St. Joseph Boulevard and Bank Street.
Ideas for cities to prepare for COVID winter
Among the lessons we take from COVID-19 should be the importance of preventing disconnection and improving health outcomes in our cities through more thoughtful investment in our civic commons. We are more aware than ever of the importance of spending time outside for both physical and mental well-being. Beyond providing better access to warm clothing and adequate housing in the winter, this post describes ways that we can make winter more liveable by making our outdoor spaces more inviting, so that we can create community and vibrancy post-pandemic and year-round.
Ville d’Hiver is a tool for decision-makers, professionals and citizens who wish to contribute to better adapting communities to the winter reality through the development of public spaces, universal accessibility and street furniture.
Active design in a winter context aims to take into account the characteristics and constraints imposed by the cold season on the experience lived in public spaces. The objective is to develop local living environments that promote the practice of physical activity, break through isolation and reveal the identity and inclusive nature of winter.
The guide is available in French for download free of charge.
Winterlab is a Quebec-based initiative to create winter city conditions
This winter will be special and the solution to isolation will be through the design of a multitude of small places that we will want to frequent despite the cold. From now on, let’s buy good boots and a suitable coat in our local shops, because let’s hope that the next winter can be one of the places where we can create human warmth.
The City of Chicago is seeking solutions to stimulate and encourage safe outdoor dining, for both customers and restaurant/bar staff, during cold weather months
- Solutions must be centered around facilitating in-person outdoor dining experiences, rather than delivery or take out
- Solutions may relate to physical space as well as operations/service
- Winning solutions are eligible to receive a $5,000 cash prize. A total of three winners will be chosen.
- Selected ideas are eligible to access potential piloting opportunities that will be funded by corporate sponsors. Building on the success of the outdoor dining program, the City of Chicago will be piloting this in many areas, including those in the INVEST South/West program for prototyping.