How Others Have Made Cities More Vibrant in Winter

Many cities around the world offer inspiring examples of how creative Placemaking allows people to enjoy public spaces and lively city streets in winter.

• Quebec City, famed for its winter carnival and street vendors selling hot bread, is a prime example of making winter into an asset.

• Same for the Canadian capital of Ottawa, where the Rideau Canal becomes the focal point of civic life in the winter as folks strap on their blades for a chance to skate through a wintry landscape rather than just making circles around a rink or pond. People even commute to work that way.

• The Toronto suburb of Mississauga fashioned a long-distance skating course by flooding a walking trail.

• New York stands out among American cities. Rockefeller Center is famous for its ice rink, which becomes the beloved heart of Midtown Manhattan by attracting a handful of skaters and the crowds of onlookers who love to watch them glide back and forth.

• Large European cities keep their street markets open up to Christmas, taking on a holiday theme (with tree growers, artisans, hot beverages, chili, toasted sandwiches, etc.). This has spread to many large markets in the U.S., as well.

• St. Paul, Dartmouth, and Quebec City are known for their amazing winter carnivals or festivals, each lasting more than a week.

• Paris and Edinburgh are the beacons of the creative use of light in business districts, public squares, and key gathering points.