Social planning

Could anything be more Canadian than building an ice-skating highway?

Probably not, eh? Well, unless you’re skating to a hockey game with a Tim Hortons roll-up coffee eating a nanaimo bar but that’s really beside the point.

Back to the whole ice-skating highway thing. You might be thinking it’s some crazy nut with an improbable plan but it might not be too out-of-this-world after all. Canadian landscape architect Matt Gibbs proposed something he calls the Edmonton Freezeway — a trail that will stretch for 6.8 miles through Edmonton, Alberta. The route would link two existing transportation roads, creating a loop that connects several neighborhoods, downtown Edmonton and most importantly (at least to Edmonton natives) the hockey arena built for the Edmonton Oilers.

Surprisingly, the proposed ice-saking highway would not be the first of its kind. Ottawa, Ontario has had one since the 1970s with the Rideau Canal, which passes through the heart of the city for 4.8 miles. It can also be found in Winnipeg, Manitoba at the Red River Mutual Trial over the course of 1.5 miles. There’s even something similar in New York with its elevated park.

If you’re still confused about what exactly this is, it’s essentially a massive bike lane but instead of pavement, it would be ice. And instead of cyclists, skaters would have the right of way.

Gibbs told Wired Magazine that there are many paths this idea could take. It could be multi-functional, where you skate in the bitter, cold winter and cycle during the warm summer days. It could also add a cooling system or artificial ice to maintain it year-round. It could be the foundation for a new transportation system or it could simply be a tourist attraction.

Nothing seems to be set in stone at the moment but it’s certainly a potential idea that doesn’t seem totally implausible. If anything, you have to admit it’s a fun idea that makes winter a whole lot more attractive.

“I’m trying to find ways to make people fall in love with winter,” Gibbs told Wired. “As opposed to as if it was some unbearable curse.”

[h/t Wired; img via Matt Gibbs]