1,000s flock to The Forks as frigid cold loosens icy grip on city
Temperatures rose as high as –1 C in Winnipeg after several days of extreme cold, wind chills
Thousands flooded into The Forks on Sunday as warm weather brought Winnipeggers out of hibernation.
The city saw sunshine and a high of –1 C after weeks of sub-zero temperatures in the double digits.
Cars waited in lineups to park and people were shoulder to shoulder inside The Forks Market, some waiting in line to rent skates for over an hour.
In total, about 30,000 people went to Winnipeg's meeting place Sunday, The Forks spokesperson Chelsea Thompson said Monday morning.
"That doesn't account for those visitors that may not have come inside," she said. About 22,000 people visited The Forks for New Year's Eve, she said.
The Red River Mutual Trail was packed with skaters, finally able to make use of the trail without being bundled up in layers.
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Rumbolt wasn't fazed by the massive crowds and said it was great to see so many others out enjoying the mild weather.
"It's such a great place for everyone to come together and bond as a city and celebrate when it's not –30," he said.
Rumbolt was there with Hailey Campbell and her brother who was visiting from Gimli. They began their trek in Osborne Village and made their way down the Assiniboine River.
"It's nice to be able to skate to The Forks and enjoy the things that the local shops have," she said.
Keith Milar seized the opportunity to take four-year-old Gabriel out for a skate.
Visitors from Holland take to Winnipeg's trails
Simon Kostar is in Winnipeg with a friend visiting from Holland. The pair wanted to get out and see the city and take the opportunity to ride a fat bike, something they don't have the chance to do back home.
The fat bike gets its name from broad tires that measure 10 to 12 centimetres in width; it's used to cycle through snow.
Holland has many bike paths and trails, but most of them are paved and don't require a fat bike, he said.
Kostar was glad the weather co-operated to make his bucket-list ride happen. The cold temperatures have kept him and his friend doing most of their vacationing indoors, he said.
"Very cold, never had so much cold in Holland, so we stayed a lot inside and played games and watched ice hockey," he said.
Kolesnik said he was put in touch with the Netherlanders through "a friend of a friend of a friend" and decided to show some Winnipeg hospitality to fellow fat bikers.
He said while the warm weather is great, the cold never stops them.
"Those of us hardcore Manitobans have been out all dressed up with all of our heavy-duty gear and balaclavas and we've been riding and actually having a really good time," he said.
Fat bikers use trails on and along the rivers in the city, as well as venturing to places such as Birds Hill Park and FortWhyte Alive to make use of groomed trails, he said.
The warm weather is set to stick around for a couple of days, before turning cold again by the weekend.