How to keep your winter wonderland alive
By Laura Smith, CBC NewsThe winter wonderlands of Vancouver are disappearing.
The city is losing ground to Calgary, Toronto and other major Canadian cities.
The number of outdoor events in the city fell from 9.2 million in 2016 to 7.7 million in 2019, according to city data obtained by CBC News.
The decline in winter events is a reflection of the city’s growing reliance on snowmobiles and snowmobilers to keep visitors engaged in their neighbourhoods.
The city’s snowmapped and interactive snowman project has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to its snowmapping areas.
It was started in 2009 to give the public a more interactive and fun way to discover the city.
But now, the project is struggling to find a way to keep the snowmappers active.
“The winter has really been a really tough time for us.
The last year we’ve been losing about 10 per cent of the snowmobile event, which means we’ve lost a significant portion of our event calendar,” said John Loo, the snowman manager for the City of Vancouver.
“So we’ve kind of got to find something to keep on top of that and we have to do it on a budget.”
The City of Burnaby is struggling with the same problem.
It lost about a third of its event calendar last year, but this year, the city is looking to hire snowmowers to keep up with the demand.
The City is asking the public to submit ideas for how to keep snowmowing in Vancouver alive in the future.
If you or anyone you know would like to volunteer to help out with snowmocking, please submit your name and contact information below.
Snowmowing can be expensive and difficult to find.
Many snowmow operators rely on volunteers.
So far, the City has raised more than $2.6 million in donations to help pay for snowmobs, snowman maintenance and other costs.
Volunteers are needed to make sure snowmover operators are paid, said Sgt. Ryan D. Macdonald, the department’s snowmobile operator.
“We want to keep our snowmovers safe, keep the community safe and make sure they can have a fun winter,” he said.
“We’re not asking anyone to bring any equipment into the city, we’re just looking to have a safe operation and a fun operation.”
The city is also looking to find ways to make the snow, which has a tendency to melt into the ground, last longer.
The department is looking for people to take a sled out on the roads and bring snowmoves back to the street.
“It’s going to take some time to figure out the right balance between safety, accessibility and fun and to make it all work,” said Macdonald.
The department is also offering discounts on the cost of snowmopers, so you can bring your own equipment and make a donation to keep them operating.
If your family member is looking after a snowmower, please bring a shovel and shoveling kit and let us know what you need, Macdonald said.
If you or someone you know has an interest in volunteering for the snow machine, please contact Sgt. Macdon at [email protected] or 416-393-1055.