With temperatures dipping below 30, stepping outside can feel like a pack of angry dogs is gnawing on your skin—and that’s when you are decked out in all 14 layers of outerwear. And a balaclava. And a ski mask. It’s days like these that we wonder why our ancestors decided to settle in this frigid ice box of a province, where those long languid afternoons sweltering by the pool in July feel like a distant dream.
But I am going to go out and say that these temperatures are exactly what make Winnipeg an awesome place to call home. Before you plow me in the face with a snowball for suggesting this, hear me out. Life is fast paced. With a billion different types of stimulus incessantly biding for our attention every waking hour, sometimes a person becomes numb to the important stuff. Feeling, creating, introspection get buried in an onslaught of todo lists. And this introspection stuff? That is key to the creative process.
One thing most Winnipeggers can agree on is that the arts and culture in this city is world class. Dancers, flock from around the world to dance with the RWB. We have produced so much musical talent, that it is impossible to blame it on chance. As a designer, I am proud to see the visual ideas and art that comes out of the firms and agencies in this city every day. And while we are on the topic of creativity, check out all the “local talent” section of your bookstore, we produce some of the most well respected authors around too.
So what is it? What makes our geographically isolated little city in the heart of the country such a hub for creativity? Andrew Lloyd Webber was quoted once for saying
“…I chose Winnipeg to create my next play, because this place is the creative incubator of the world”. And you know what I think he is right. With winter, comes a few physical perks: whiteness, slowness and silence.
Without white space, there could be no art. Without inertia, dancing would be unremarkable. Without a blank page, words would have no meaning, and music only exists because of silence. So go walk on the river and take it in. This frigid whiteout makes your every step a little slower, and the whole city just a little more muffled and quiet.