1. Skating on the River Trail
2. Staying indoors
3. Festival du Voyageur
This year’s winner takes a turn for what should be obvious. Winter sports may be fun for some, but for the majority of people, being outside is necessary to travel between two warm places. Outside is cold, wet, damp, icy and unpredictable.
During long, difficult winters, filled with arctic chill and cold, the best and safest place to be is inside with a good thermostat, whether or not it’s under your personal control.
Let’s face it, the best things are inside. Blankets, warm tea, books, Netflix, other people, no people or your people. Being inside can mean blissful alone-time to read, do homework, movies or, most importantly, nap.
It’s also the easiest place to convince other people to be. Whether it is gathering with a few friends, seeing a concert/play or spending time with special someones, you can most easily convince other people to leave their homes if they know they are going somewhere else indoors.
However, in these cold months, being inside gets more and more inaccessible for some. The partial closure of the Skywalk – and the general unpredictability of the elevators at and around Portage and Main – make staying warm while accessing downtown more difficult and could force people out into what can be dangerous temperatures.
The security measures at the Millennium Library and the police’s discouragement of loitering further impede one’s ability to enjoy the best winter activity. The “I don’t know where you should go, but you can’t stay here” attitude many police officers and security guards exhibit toward people experiencing homelessness becomes increasingly dangerous as the temperatures slip lower.
Literal accessibility to buildings also becomes treacherous for people using mobility aids, as snow blocks entrances and ice makes paths dangerous. Staying inside is the best winter activity, but overcoming the barriers to being inside is winter’s worst.
Published in Volume 74, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 28, 2019)