Winter is coming - the leaves are beginning to turn and jumpers and scarves are being pulled out of wardrobes. For many of us autumn is Canberra’s best season - cool evenings with warm and sunny days, the gardens still green and the trees golden and glowing. It’s hard not to love Canberra at this time of year.
The seasons make the city beautiful as well as offering all the fun of a range of climatic conditions. Although at times extreme - 40 degree days or sometimes hail storms! - for the most part the changing seasons bring variety and colour to Canberra as well as an opportunity to experience the city in new and exciting ways.
For some visitors though, the thought of winter in the capital gives them the chills. Our coldest months should offer as positive an experience as the warmer seasons. Tourists continue to flock to Paris, London and New York when temperatures plummet. Indeed, Europe in winter is a magical place where evening walks reward visitors with discoveries of fairy-lit squares, live music and night-time markets. The freezing cold just adds to the experience - hot doughnuts and steaming mulled wine taste so much better when held between gloved hands!
We should make more of winter in Canberra. The successes of the Fireside and Truffle festivals and the ice-skating rink in Garema Place suggest that Canberrans are more than happy to get out and about when it’s cold. Some of us still remember the wonderful winter markets once held into the night on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin at Commonwealth Place. Visitors could watch the stars through telescopes, drink glühwein and dance to music under the winter sky. We should build on this success, animating the city centre in winter with markets and entertainment during the day and night - a place for the young and old to find warmth in outdoor fun.
Celebrating the seasons in Canberra all year round is an opportunity not to be missed.
Catherine Carter is ACT Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia