On thin ice: Surrey, Vancouver, Burnaby have a warning for skaters (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)

Dec 15 2022, 3:43 pm

It is set to be very cold in Metro Vancouver next week, and that has many looking longingly at their rarely used ice skates in the garage.

But for those hoping to get back on the pond in Surrey, Vancouver, or Burnaby for a game of shinny or a chance to practice their triple axels — you might want to keep the skate guards on for a bit longer.

There’s a better chance of you practicing your front crawl than your toe jumps on the local ponds right now.

The temperature needs be VERY cold for an extended period of time in order for the ice to be thick enough to skate on.

“We could be struggling to get to zero during the day and getting well-below freezing at night,” Environment and Climate Change Canada Trevor Smith told Daily Hive about next week’s conditions.

While that sounds unseasonably unpleasant for commuters, it might not be enough to create perfect ice.

In the meantime, we checked in with a few cities and the overall message is to “stay off” of the ponds.


The Serpentine-Fen along King George Highway in South Surrey is an incredible place to skate on, truly, but it’s not cold enough to be ready for any guests this year by any means.

“This location has been a yearly attraction for ice hockey fans and recreational skaters; the calm shallow ponds create an ideally smooth and thick sheet of ice,” the nearby garden centre Artknapp wrote on its website about the nature preserve.

However, even if it does get cold enough and you decide to hit the ice, you are doing so at your own risk.

“The City of Surrey does not regulate skating on ponds. Please be aware that, although ice on some lakes/ponds may seem thick enough, the ice may not be safe and people should refrain from going out on the ice or letting pets do so,” the City said in a statement.


Frozen Trout Lake in Vancouver attracts many for skating and hockey (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

East Vancouver’s Trout Lake is a popular spot for ice skating in the rare event of an extended freeze in the city, but the city pays very close attention to how thick the ice is before it deems it safe for skaters.

“We’ve seen that any ice that was starting to form before the snow arrived has melted considerably, which means it’s very thin and unsafe for walking or skating on. The temperature will need to stay below zero for an extended time for the ice to be thick enough to support the weight of a person or pet,” the City of Vancouver told Daily Hive.

The general rule is an ice thickness of 18 cm (7 inches) is considered safe.

That hasn’t stopped folks in the past.

The city is urging folks to stay off the ice at the lake, as well as all bodies of water, and to keep their pets on a leash as well. If your dog falls through the ice, do not attempt to rescue them yourself.


Burnaby Lake


While the City of Vancouver will let you skate on the ice if it’s safe in some circumstances — there’s no such deal in Burnaby.

Even if the ice is thick enough at Deer Lake, Burnaby Lake, Central Park, and Burnaby Mountain Golf Course ponds, the city says it’s just not safe to skate on for a very good reason.

“Burnaby’s lakes are fed by streams which are moving water, creating unstable ice conditions. The winter weather can give a false sense of safety about the ice conditions and rarely creates outdoor skating conditions putting outdoor enthusiasts at risk,” the City’s website reads in part.

You might want to find another spot to sled as well. Tobogganing at Burnaby Mountain is also discouraged because “the steep slopes produce conditions for people to pick up high speeds and obstacles such as rocks and trees create unsafe conditions.”

There are lots of indoor ice skating rinks in Burnaby though!

You can skate at Vancouver’s Robson Square or North Vancouver’s Shipyards this winter without having to wear a life jacket.

With files from Daily Hive’s Nikitha Martins and Kenneth Chan. 

Want to stay in the loop with more Daily Hive content and News in your area? Check out all of our Newsletters here.
Buzz Connected Media Inc. #400 – 1008 Homer Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 2X1 [email protected] View Rules
Claire FentonClaire Fenton

+ News
+ Weather
+ Winter