Smoke rises from a sacred fire at the Occupy Winnipeg general assembly on Thursday.

The Occupy Winnipeg movement plans to maintain a camp in Memorial Park all winter, despite knowing they could be facing -50 C wind chills and several feet of snow.

Although their Facebook event shows an end-date of Dec. 31, several participants around the 25-tent camp told Metro Winnipeg they expect to stay beyond that.

“They’re talking Dec. 31, and then we’ll re-evaluate,” said Scott George, who heads the group’s food committee.

“But people say if we make it that long, then why go?”

A sacred fire running only on clean wood has been burning since Wednesday, and solar-powered ovens were expected to arrive Thursday. George is building a 20-foot-by-20-foot insulated kitchen tent to continue making three meals a day as the mercury drops.

Based in Memorial Park since Oct. 15, Occupy Winnipeg was inspired by the now-global Occupy Wall Street movement that has been often labelled as anti-corporate.

Winnipeg participants reject that moniker, or any attempt to define them.

“The strength here is that there’s no (specific) message,” said Chad Lozinski. “It’s a venue to speak about all issues. People that come here who are curious have as much say as anybody here.”

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