Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hot House

Winnipeg is an inhospitable icebox throughout it's winter cycle. Block heaters, fanny friers and miles of underground pedestrian tunnels do their best to bolster sun-starved spirits but, how long can folks keep warm inside by line dancing and munching on flaming prairie oysters? At some point humans need to engage the elements beyond "Rock and Rolling" their neighbors out of slick tire ruts.

So, I was tickled when I learned of an initiative geared to enrich the hinterland experience. Yearly, the Assiniboine River becomes an iced bonspiel of activity that attracts kamikaze skaters during a 6 week blitz. To keep the wannabe Gretzky's from hypothermia, an architecture competition has been launched calling on "warming hut" entries to be considered for rinkside hospitality. This year, starchitect Frank Gehry submitted his abstract igloo concept to the Ice Capades of yurtdom. During the day, it blends into it's surroundings and at sunset, it becomes a beacon of warmth to those freezing their butts off. Genius.