Frozen lake skating was a seasonal pastime for much of Vancouver’s early history right through to the 1980s when winter temperatures were cold and enduring enough for ice surfaces to freeze over thick.
Historical photos pulled from the archives of the Vancouver Public Library and the City of Vancouver Archives show Vancouverites through the ages playing on the large wintertime ice surfaces at Trout Lake in East Vancouver and Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park.
Since the 1980s, warmer temperatures spurred by climate change have resulted in far less occurrences of a solid, thick ice sheet forming over the city’s ponds and lakes. Nowadays the requirement to ensure safe skating is an ice sheet that is at least five inches thick.
The municipal government’s decision to open Trout Lake for skating on January 5, 2017 marked the first time in 20 years that Vancouverites could safely skate on a local pond or lake surface. The last time this happened was in December 1996, the same year Vancouver experienced its infamous blizzard when several feet of snow fell within a 24 hour period – on top of snow that had fell earlier in the month.
Here are vintage photos of ice skating on Trout Lake and Lost Lagoon over the past century:
People skating on Trout Lake in 1900.
Man and woman skating on Trout Lake in 1900.
Men, women, and children ice skating on ice skating on Trout Lake in 1905. Some in the middle are playing ice hockey.
People sitting on the benches next to Trout Lake, watching others skate on the lake’s ice in 1905.
Men playing hockey on Trout Lake in 1914.
Men, women and children ice skating on Lost Lagoon at Stanley Park in the 1920s.
People skating and playing hockey on Lost Lagoon at Stanley Park in 1924 or 1925.
People skating on Lost Lagoon at Stanley Park in 1924 or 1925.
A group of ladies skating on Trout Lake in 1929.
Skaters having fun, forming a line by holding hands, at Trout Lake in 1929.
Skaters at Trout Lake in 1929.
Hundreds of people skating on Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park in 1929.
Ice skating at Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park in 1929, with a boy in the foreground attempting to skate fast.
Ice skating at Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park in 1929.
Ice skating on Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park on February 12, 1933.
Women ice skating on Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park in 1949.
Man and woman clearing the ice for skating on Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park in 1949.
Crowds skating on the ice at Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park in January 1985.