You may have a love hate relationship with winter in Canada. Dealing with icy driving conditions and shoveling the driveway of wet snow are definitely not the enjoyable bits, but there is something magical about a fresh layer of snow on the ground.

Early settlers also had lots to contend with when surviving a Canadian winter- especially for the first time. Fortunately, their Indigenous neighbours shared important knowledge on how to make life a bit easier. They were introduced to numerous tools. For example, snowshoes made walking in snow easier. Different shaped snowshoes worked for different conditions. The bear paw or oval shaped shoe was ideal for hard packed terrain and the beavertail or tear-drop shoe worked well in deep powdery snow. Snowshoes were made of hardwood soaked in water that then were bent into the desired shape. Laces were made of strips of deer or caribou skin so the settler could tie on the snowshoe. Toboggans were also very useful for transporting not only people, but also supplies. The settler also turned the toboggan into a fun activity sledding down icy hills.

Canadians still enjoy these activities, of course, using more modern versions. At Westfield we often see visitors trying out their snowshoes. We also see parents pulling their kids along on sleds while walking the village grounds. In summer it’s a wagon and in winter it’s toboggan. We have also seen recently more people using their cross-country skis. Cross-country skiing first surfaced in Canada around 1879 and became more popular in the late 1920s when a man called Herman (Jackrabbit) Johannsen emigrated from Norway and started a Canadian cross-country skiing movement. Our trails are mostly flat terrain making it a nice easy route- ideal for the whole family. Check out the Harrietha family who were out recently to enjoy the grounds on their skis.

Westfield is open everyday for fun winter activities including hiking and walking in the Village from sunrise to sunset. Admission is $15.50 per car load or use your HCA membership which you can buy at Westfield

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