If you’re looking for an alternative lake to Trout Lake to gratify your outdoor ice skating itch, look no further than Como Lake in an urbanized area of Coquitlam.
Trout Lake in East Vancouver was temporarily closed today due to warmer temperatures and heavy use after thousands of people descended onto the lake yesterday, but a similarly sized lake in a residential neighbourhood in the Tri-Cities remained open.
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Kathleen Reinheimer, the Parks Manager for the City of Coquitlam, told Daily Hive the last time ice skating officially happened at Como Lake was in the 1990s, just like Trout Lake and Stanley Park’s Lost Lagoon.
On Friday, Coquitlam park officials opened safe sections of the massive ice surface for unsupervised skating while unsafe sections, near some of the perimeter areas of the lake where there is still standing water, were cordoned off with yellow tape.
A number of skating rinks have been created after people shovelled snow aside.
“This is actually quite an exciting thing and on Friday it was deemed safe,” said Coquitlam City Councillor Teri Towner. “Even though it was pouring rain on Saturday, there were still hundreds of people out there skating and playing hockey and with their dogs.”
Using drills, park department crews examine the lake’s ice condition on a daily basis to ensure the safe skating areas are at least five inches thick. At last measure today, parts of the safe skating area had a thickness of nine inches.
Although it has warmed up this weekend, Reinheimer says the ice conditions should remain optimal for safe skating for the week to come.
“Looking at the forecast, during the next week we’re expecting it to be below zero or just barely above during the day, so it means it’s likely [to remain open],” said Reinheimer.
“If we can get past tomorrow, then it’ll stay thick enough. Once the ice is thick, it takes awhile for it to thaw, so we’re assuming that most of the next week will be skateable.”
More sub-zero cold weather is expected this week. Temperatures in the city of Vancouver are expected to see an overnight low -7°C from Tuesday to Thursday, and that means even colder temperatures at Coquitlam’s Como Lake given its location.
Towner says she had to park several blocks away given that neighbourhood street parking had quickly filled up. The nearest SkyTrain station to Como Lake is Burquitlam Station, which is a 15 minute bus ride away on either routes 151 or 157.
“Just come out and enjoy it, because if our Earth is really warming up we don’t know how many winters we’ll have that we can skate on an urban lake like this one,” Towner continued.