Angus and his mom watching the ice breakup on Lake Winnipeg, Victoria Beach, Manitoba.
The snow had finally vanished, an overly anxious neighbor even had his lawn sprinkler running. Crazy for March in Winnipeg. The one thing you learn living on the Canadian Prairies and much of Canada for that matter is that Spring weather is very unpredictable. Blizzards can dump a foot of snow or it can be 20C above zero. We awoke to something in the middle only amounting to a few centimeters. So remember to hold off on putting away your shovels, winter clothing and block heater cords until you’re sure it’s safe. Here’s a few random images from the past and very scenic winter season. I mention scenic only because we had an abundance of frost, foggy winter days which offered some great photographic opportunities.
Dressed for a mild winter day
Ice climber in St. Boniface
Here’s to springs rapid return.
Assiniboine Park in West Winnipeg, a large picturesque urban park, designed in the English Landscape style. Parks in London and New York’s famed Central Park also incorporate this style. The Park was incorporated well over a century ago. Plans are in place for much needed capital improvements, amounting to 180 million dollars. Recent neglect and pressure from the city’s main downtown park at The Forks have left it needing some TLC.
Hoar frost covered trees on a winter morning.
Freeze up of the Assiniboine River
Strolling the frozen river
Last year Winnipeg’s Assiniboine River Trail, extended a whopping 9.34 km’s making it the world’s longest naturally frozen ice skating trail, and a favorite winter destination for locals and visitors alike. Frazzle ice kept the trail off of the Red River last winter season, and this year may shorten the distance considerably. Winnipegger’s can usually count on the cold but when temperatures rise to a forecast +4C in the sun tomorrow the surface may suffer a temporary hiccup and be shutdown for resurfacing. There are ample winter recreation possibilities at The Forks, the starting point to the River Trail, including an interesting trail that carries you over a historic rail bridge, a snowboard park, Olympic size hockey rinks, curling rinks, ice bike racing and the market itself, which offers a wide variety of local shops and eateries.
Evening curling on the Assiniboine River.
Good old fashioned Pond Hockey, viewed from the rail bridge.
Skating on a weekday, on mild weekends the trail can be heavily congested.
Ice Fisherman returning from his shack on frozen Lake Winnipeg.
Every year an assortment of different fishing shacks are dragged out onto the lake. Some are like miniature cottages complete with stoves, little kitchenettes, and comfortable seating to wait out the fish. Others are simply wind breaks, offering protection from the harsh chilling wind of the Canadian prairie winter.
Fishing Shack under the moonlit night, near Gimli, Manitoba
Tire tracks leading out to a distant ice shack.
It still amazes me at this time of year how quickly the lakes and rivers freeze over. Only a short time ago, I can remember enjoying Thanksgiving at a friends cottage on the west side of Lake Winnipeg. It was a perfectly nice fall day, not a sign of winter yet. Although I had already experienced my first seasons winter blast in early October, while in the Rockies. Once returning to Manitoba it seemed as though we had entered a time warp of sorts, we had left Alberta in near blizzard conditions and returned to Manitoba to enjoy an above seasonal fall. Of course, weather can change very dramatically in the Canadian Prairies, now we are left with the bone chilling cold of the winter months. But not all is bad, soon the ice will be thick enough on the rivers and lakes for all sorts of winter activities that take place on Manitoba’s frozen waterways. Those that embrace the winter are already enjoying the benefits the cold weather brings with it. I for one, like the fact we can experience four distinct seasons. Do I get cabin fever? You bet; once March rolls around I really look forward to spring’s arrival, but at this time of year I’m ready to enjoy the winter season.