Winter in Winnipeg can get seriously cold: February's average temperature has been –21.7 degrees C so far, with lows dipping to a ridiculous –31.9. But the "Warming Huts" in the gallery above have been offering hardy Winnipegers a colourful reprieve from the weather for the last few years.
More than 100 teams of artists, engineers and architects submit proposals each year to be part of the public art project, and the winning entries are installed along the Red River Mutual Trail. This year, the winners include: Nuzzles, a giant Koosh ball–like installation with a heated core; Red Blanket, a series of dense wool panels draped from under a bridge to protect skaters from the wind; and Windshield, a five-metre tall wind vane on a rotating steel base.
The competition was devised by a group of local architects in 2010, who partnered with the organization that oversees The Forks, the 22-hectare public space at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. Clare MacKay, a spokesperson for The Forks North Portage, told Strombo.com that the project has been steadily growing each year, starting with five commissioned huts in 2010 and eventually encompassing the juried competition, a music festival and a pop-up restaurant serving five-course meals. "It just keeps growing and adding layers and we LOVE it," she said.
The huts were installed in January, and will stay out as long as the Red River Mutual Trail, a 6.5-kilometre winter park, remains open. MacKay says that's generally early March, but could extend later given this year's frigid temperatures.