34a child and teenager, my mother offered me plentyof advice including "dressing for the weather." Heradvice on the subject served me well as a child anddidn't serve me at all as a teen. Now, as a parent often advisingmy own kids with the very same words, I'm reminded that withage comes wisdom.As an enthusiast of all things active, it's perhaps only naturalthat when winter arrives, I wish for snow --and the more thebetter. As any school child will tell you, snow createspossibilities for fun, and fun and physical activity go hand inhand. Watch upon the arrival of our first real snowfall as schoolkids take to the fields to roll massive snowballs, make snowmenand snow angels and build forts. Watch as older children andyouth defy the rules and engage in fun, friendly and evenflirtatious snowball fights. Snow creates possibilities.Snow also provides us with options: ice skating, outdoor hockeygames, XC skiing, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, sledding, andwinter hiking. But what about keeping it simple and heading to acommunity park or your own backyard with the kids? On a fewoccasions when my kids were very young, I declared "snow days"and kept them home from school in order to let them experiencethe fun of an all-day snow day --the kind that warrants extraloads through the dryer, mitten changes every hour, and cups ofhot cocoa as dusk rolls in.While many physical activity enthusiasts do spend more time inthe gym over the winter months, perhaps trading in outdoor runsfor spinning or regular hikes for swimming, winter provides theperfect playground or natural gym. Further, as so many of today'schildren aren't well-acquainted with nature and don't engage inactive outdoor pursuits, winter presents us with yet anotherseason for outdoor discovery and family fun.Peek outside and you'll see countless walkers bundled andstriding briskly as they show winter they're not about to be bulliedindoors. Runners, including myself, learn to dress for winter's fury,and with a shorter gait and lower posture, leave tracks that tell ourstory of commitment and devotion.Venture into Toronto's trail system or many parks on winterweekends, and you'll soon discover that what appears at first to bean artist's blank canvas is really a playground for people and theirdogs, Nordic walkers, snowshoe enthusiasts, XC skiers, and thosesimply unwilling to spend winter indoors. My family and I areSNOWFind the fun in Canada's mostcontentious seasonWhether your take on winter is frightful or delightful, there's little doubt that winterweather is a subject with potential to divide the nation. Anticipating winter's arrival hassome enthusiasts leaping into their long undies eagerly awaiting snow, while othersresign themselves to months of near-hibernation. Regardless of your preferred side ofthe fence, one thing is certain in Canada. winter always comes. Fortunately, uponarrival it provides us with opportunities, options and possibilities, and leaves us in thespring with the gift of appreciation and wonder as our natural world reawakens.by Catherine Cameron, Ambassador, Active Living, ParticipACTIONLET ITAs
35Opposite Photo by Bryan Mullennix. Above: Photo by Paul Morton.