Edmonton’s Expanded Freezeway Set to Reopen for Second Winter

  • Come winter, Alberta’s second largest city, Edmonton, is a cold and icy place.
  • Matt Gibbs, a landscape architect and former Edmontonian, let the city’s frigid climate inspire him: for his Masters thesis, he designed an 11-kilometer greenway with a freezeway that would allow Edmontonians and visitors to skate around the city.
  • The city government caught wind of the idea and decided to implement a 400-meter trial run in Victoria Park for the 2015-2016 winter.
  • The freezeway was a smashing success, so Edmonton leaders decided to not only bring back the what’s now dubbed the IceWay, but expand it.
  • The possibility of a second skating trail in Victoria Park and adjacent river valley is also being considered.
  • The IceWay will be directly connected to the existing Victoria Park Oval, a large ice surface open to the public.
  • Admission to both the oval and the IceWay is free, and the IceWay will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
  • In an interview with Edmonton AM earlier this month, Gibbs said he has not been consulted by the city on plans to expand upon the project for the future, but he’s still promoting the freezeway as a commuting alternative.
  • While this idea is inspiring, it’s also stirred controversy in local Edmonton politics. The treatment of Gibbs by the city turned sour this fall and has exposed a perhaps systemic issue in the way the city engages with its volunteer citizens.

“it obviously had room to improve to be a little bit bigger. People do skate to work, as I do in Ottawa.”

-Matt Gibbs, landscape architect and freezeway envisioner.

The pilot project's route. Photo by The Edmonton Freezeway/Facebook.
The pilot project’s route. Photo by The Edmonton Freezeway/Facebook.

The project as envisioned by Gibbs:

Author: Nicholas Efthimiadis

Seattle grown. Avid skier and occasional ski racer. Passionate about all things urban (particularly transportation & housing). University of Washington 2016 graduate: BA in Economics and a minor in Urban Design and Planning. Extensive experience in fictitious cartography and sand-city molding.