Embracing the Fun of Winter

Northern Climate – Northern Fun!

THUNDER BAY – EDITORIAL – Embracing our climate in Thunder Bay could generate opportunities for fitness for local residents, generate tourism opportunities, and help create a better city.

From November to April, Northwestern Ontario gets to enjoy winter. We have a city with some amazing winter outdoor activities and the potential to have even more.

While we have a history of producing some of the best hockey players in the world, what we could be missing are opportunities for skating. While Ottawa has the Rideau Canal, we have our potential at Boulevard Lake for a long skate, or perhaps on the ice at Prince Arthur’s Landing on Lake Superior.

Winter biking on the network of trails is a great way to get around our city.
Winter biking on the network of trails is a great way to get around our city.

Moving forward, Thunder Bay has continued building a fantastic network of bike trails and routes around the city. As we continue to see the changes in our climate, there are more winter bike commuting opportunities in our city.

On a personal level, putting studded tires on my Mountain Bike has opened up a whole new fitness opportunity. Early in the discovery, I was told: “Winter Biking is like Cross-Country Skiing”. It isn’t cold while you are biking.

What is fantastic is you can partner up with Thunder Bay Transit and the bike racks on the front of the buses. If you are out and you wear out, or it gets too windy, you can simply jump on the bus.

There are places in the city where getting off the roads and onto the trails can make your winter experience really enjoyable. On a bike, you can see more wildlife, and scenery – biking slows you down slightly, and you get to see more.

If there is a negative, it is when biking on our roads. The number of vehicles that pass you on a bike with the strong stink of cannabis smoke from far too many cars is shocking. The number of drivers on our roads who are impaired is especially noticeable on a bike. This is an area where the federal government and provincial government need to put in place stronger measures it appears for impaired driving. Sadly, it seems still far too many people appear to not be following the message that impaired driving be it from alcohol or drugs is simply not acceptable. I digress.

In the winter, biking means making some adjustments, more lights are important. Keeping in mind that sadly some drivers in our city often at best appear oblivious to pedestrians let alone cyclists, you have to ride very defensively.

Still embracing winter in our northern city makes sense.

Stop fighting winter, grab a hold and slide into smiles.
Stop fighting winter, grab a hold and slide into smiles.

We have some fantastic places for sliding. Centennial Park, Balsam Pit, the hill by the District Jail to name a few. Getting the family out away from the screen into the fresh crisp winter air is a great recreation.

So are the opportunities for alpine and nordic skiing. Loch Lomond and Mount Baldy await your family coming out to enjoy the day.

At the personal, and at the leadership level, grabbing winter and enjoying all aspects of it – well maybe except for shoveling snow – will make life more enjoyable.

Excitement from Fenway Park in Boston Image: Limex
Excitement from Fenway Park in Boston Image: Limex

Down in Minnesota, there are far more winter activities. Fat tire mountain bike races in winter, dog sled racing, and in St. Paul they are a host city for the Red Bull Crashed Ice races.

Can you imagine a Crashed Ice race in Thunder Bay? It could go down Red River Road from the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law to Prince Arthur’s landing! Thousands of people flock to watch this incredible winter spectacle.

Across the country, there are amazing winter opportunities. In Thunder Bay, we should be embracing the potential. It is a part of respecting our city’s realities.

That, of course, is just my opinion – your mileage may vary.

James Murray