Communities can work together to create magic in winter. Callingwood North neighbourhood worked with their Neighbourhood Resource Coordinator to light a dark walkway. Read about how strings of lights not only helped people feel safer, but brought community together in our blog, Lighting Up Arrowhead Trail. Westmount residents also got their creative juices flowing, decorated their windows and created the first local Window Wanderland in early 2019. And be sure to check out the Back Alley Arctic art gallery in our sister winter city of Winnipeg!
Did you know that community groups, businesses and schools can take part in the Front Yards in Bloom: Winterscapes program, too? In fact, Windsor Park School has taken part for several years and now has more than one classroom competing!
Business can be creative in other ways, too. The Downtown Business Association holds an annual Holiday Window Decorating Contest.
Designing Cities for Winter
5 Winter Design Elements to Adopt
How we design our cities and neighbourhoods plays an important role in how comfortable, inviting and beautiful our communities are in winter. There are five basic principles of winter city design that can be used from the large-scale neighbourhood plans right down to your own backyard.
If you’re renovating or building new, consider applying some winter design elements to your home. They are:
- Block Wind – Protect sitting and gathering spaces from the wind. If your patio or deck is a windy space, see if you can block the wind by planting coniferous trees, putting up fencing, or even some fabric wind screens.
- Capture Sunlight – Watch where you get pockets of sun in your yard. Place your sitting spaces there. If you can block the wind and capture sunshine, that space can feel up to 15°C warmer than the daytime air temperature!
- Use Colour – Splashes of colour will make your house more inviting year-round. Colourful deck chairs, blankets, and tree ornaments will add character and brighten the outside of your house.
- Add Lights – A few ornamental lights outside your home during the long nights will give off a cozy vibe. Be mindful of brightness and light spread, though, and make sure you keep the lights pointed into your yard, not your neighbours’ windows!
- Install Infrastructure – Having features that can be used year-round will allow you to enjoy your yard in all seasons. Firepits, for example, are a great place to entertain friends and keep warm even in winter.
Neighbourhood revitalization projects offer a unique opportunity for residents and the City to incorporate winter design principles into older neighbourhoods. If your neighbourhood is up for renewal, consider integrating some year-round features. Look at our page on sneckdowns for a different way of looking at your neighbourhood and to the Winter Design Guidelines for inspiration.