"When I was the mayor, I tried to create a park along the Mackenzie." Hill says. "I said that this was a resource, that we shouldn't build next to the water. I was thinking of a park, say, like the one in Boston along the water. I was voted down. The big argument was, 'Why should we have a park? The whole world where we live is a park.' I couldn't fight it."
The rose-colored line on the horizon that appears once per day to indicate that the sun still exists will grow wider and wider in the coming days and weeks. The sun itself will begin to appear. It's as if it is trying to reacquaint itself with the residents. It will stay for a few minutes today, a few more tomorrow, a few more on the day after that. Eventually, in June and July, it will become an around-the-clock resident—24 hours of sunshine, everybody awake for as long as possible, parties everywhere, kids on the streets at midnight, aluminum foil placed over the windows so one can sleep.
This will happen in the future. The darkness is here now.
"They tried downhill skiing here once, built a rope tow and everything," says Harold Cook, a government employment counselor. "It didn't work. Too cold. Your nose would be frozen by the time you got to the top. There were problems just starting the engine to the towrope. Didn't work at all. Cross-country was much bigger here. Always. I was on the Canadian cross-country team. We had a big meet here every year. The Top of the World championships....
"The Americans showed up at our meet one year—this was the early '70s—and they really didn't have the newest cross-country technology. They were all wearing those bulky down parkas. We were wearing this light Danish fishnet material that kept you pretty warm. We wore it under T-shirts and went out to practice. The Americans thought we were crazy. They didn't know how we could practice in the cold like this. We told them the secret was ice cream, that we ate a lot of ice cream....
"The next day," Cook goes on, "the Americans were all out there eating ice-cream cones. Thirty below and they were licking those cones. Silliest thing you ever saw."
The Winter Olympics? The Winter Olympics may be in Calgary.
The winter is here.