Thursday August 21, 2014

EDITORIAL - Time to embrace winter


One of the roles in an editorial in a community newspaper is to look at the community and at times dew the seeds for ideas which could add something to the city’s fabric.

One of those missing elements in our city is an event which brings everyone together to enjoy winter.

Having come through one of the coldest December’s the city has ever experienced the idea of getting outside and embrace the season, which perhaps more than any other defines being Canadian, may seem a bit of extreme folly.

But perhaps that is even more reason to create an event which brings us all back to our roots of looking at the thermometer, seeing the mercury hiding on the south side of zero, and heading out the door anyway.

It was not that long ago when sliding down any hill, building a snow fort in the front yard, or playing street hockey until bedtime were about as Canadian as the maple leaf.

In a world where one hand seems constantly clasped around a cellphone, and a big screen television is now the centre of our entertainment universe, going outside to do anything more than going to and coming from school, or work, we simply don’t face down the cold to enjoy what winter can be.

It wasn’t that long ago Yorkton had a winter festival, a January event which included a bonfire of Christmas trees.

There were events such as ‘shooshing; a group of people 2X6s strapped to their feet in a sort of bizarre ski race, and apparently a mustache growing contest, among other things.

In a re-birth of sorts, a winter carnival today could aspire to something a big larger, a bit more all encompassing for the city.

Snow fort competitions among schools would be an obvious way to get young students doing something we have done for years, find fun with what is close at hand. In winter that is snow.

The ability to have a major street hockey event is intriguing.

One could easily see various venues created across the city, the mall parking lot, Gallager Centre, the Casino. Such broad support could help attract teams from a far larger area than the city itself. That suddenly makes the event a tourist draw, and that means economic activity for hotels, restaurants and business.

Snow drag races would seem another natural as a winter tie in.

And then you look to make the event one where everyone joins in with related events.

A snow/ice sculpture competition among residents, the Godfrey Dean and pARTners art galleries with winter-themed exhibits, fireworks and hot chocolate, sleigh rides, a public skate at JayCee Beach or York Lake, seminars on cross country skiing for beginners, with a ‘loppet’ event in the area (a fun, sociable cross country ski event for all ages and abilities), and likely a dozen other ideas the community could come up with.

In the long days of January, that time of post holiday let down, and before the days lengthen noticeably in February, Yorkton could use an event where we just bundle up and face winter head on and come away from the effort with a collective smile on our face.

Some food for thought at least on a chilly winter’s night.



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