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Edmonton Embraces the Cold by Turning Park Paths Into Frozen Skating Trails

If you live in Edmonton, Alberta, you just accept that it's going to be freezing cold all winter. The city embraces the inevitable cold. While other towns have specific vehicles for removing snow and ice from streets (which Edmonton has, too), city workers go out early in the morning and spray water on park paths to make them more slippery! Quite a few layers later, there is a sheet of ice up to a foot thick over park trails. Time to strap on your skates! The man behind the frozen trails is architect Matt Gibbs.  

Gibbs dreamed up a version of the frozen trails concept as part of his master’s thesis in landscape architecture at the University of British Columbia. His idea, which he christened the “Freezeway,” involved even more frozen paths—enough glassy arteries that Edmontonians could strap on some blades and skate to work. That wasn’t quite feasible, but the city adapted the project, named it the “IceWay,” and has paved two frozen paths through parks. There’s a three-loop trail around Victoria Park, a one-and-a-quarter mile path through Rundle Park. The project is growing: Angie Blades, a project coordinator for the City of Edmonton, estimates that the Rundle Park route, which the city piloted last year, is 80 percent longer this season.

The skating trails look really nice with the colored lights shining on them at night. Read more about Edmonton's ice trails at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: Matthew Thiessen)


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