Those who satisfied their outdoor skating bug on Saturday and over the last few days at Trout Lake are lucky to have already done so as the ice surface will be closed until further notice beginning on Sunday due to safety reasons and warming temperatures.
Several thousand people descended on East Vancouver’s John Hendry Park throughout Saturday to enjoy a rare outdoor frozen pond skate that hasn’t been experienced in the city in 20 years.
Heavy foot and vehicle traffic circulated the residential neighbourhood that surrounded the park throughout the clear, sunny day. Crowds of skaters and people watchers gradually grew, thickening by noon and reaching thousands of by mid-afternoon.
In contrast, at the very most, there were just hundreds on the ice at anytime over the last few days since Wednesday, when the Vancouver Park Board covered the ‘Danger’ signs and announced that Trout Lake was officially open for ice skating.
The ice thickness is sampled daily using drills, and the last known measurement puts the ice thickness at just under eight inches – well above the minimum five inch thickness required for a safe ice surface for skating. But this does not for the weight and any stress the ice has been experiencing from heavy usage.
Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park and the pond at Vanier Park remain unsafe due to thin ice.
The Park Board will reassess the condition of Trout Lake’s ice surface on Sunday and determine whether skating can resume on Monday. Officials initially hoped they could keep the ice surface open through the weekend.
People of all ages, including many children, were seen skating on the ice today, and there were also plenty of dogs with their owners.
People shovelled snow to the side, making snow banks nearly half a foot high in some areas, to create clear and relatively smooth ice skating surfaces. In fact, there were dozens of rinks ranging in size from an average backyard-sized rink for families and their young children to rinks as large as a tennis court where a 10-person hockey game was being played.
Some rinks were interconnected with narrow skating paths from one rink to another. And on the eastern side of the link, some people had even shovelled snow aside to create a skating oval about 80 metres in length. The oval was one of the most popular areas with dozens of skaters circling the surface in a calm and orderly fashion.
At last count just after sunset, there were still roughly 1,000 people on the ice.
Skating on Trout lake today in Vancouver. It doesn’t happen often in Vancouver so it was the place to be today! And what a beautiful setting! Stunning! The last time I skated outdoors in Vancouver was in the 80s on lost lagoon! We didn’t do much skating as it was pretty bumpy but was a beautiful day to wander about on the ice! #troutlake #vancity #outdooriceskating #vancouver #whataday