British Columbia·FROM THE ARCHIVES

Skating on Lost Lagoon and other icy Vancouver memories

Lakes and ponds in Vancouver have to be at least 12 centimetres thick before the park board will officially open them up for skating, which hasn't happened since 1996.

Vancouver Park Board chair Michael Wiebe says skating outdoors used to be common when he was growing up

Skating on Lost Lagoon, 1974

5 years ago
People in Vancouver take advantage of a cold snap to ice skate in Stanley Park 2:50

Nothing says winter like lacing up to skate on a public pond, so when Metro Vancouver's moderate climate turns chilly, people are often eager to hit the ice outdoors.

But lakes and ponds in Vancouver have to be at least 12 centimetres thick before the park board will officially open them up for skating, which hasn't happened since 1996. 

The video above was taken in 1974, after a lengthy cold spell allowed Vancouverites to glide along Lost Lagoon. 

So will the current cold snap finally let the city's residents bust out their best Patrick Chan impression and create new skating-filled memories?

'We're getting close'

Park board chair Michael Wiebe says staff are currently checking the ice to see if it's safe. 

"I'm excited because we're getting close, but currently it's still dangerous to be out there," Wiebe said, noting a dog and its owner recently broke through the ice at Trout Lake. 

"But it is something that we're not going to hold back on — if it does become safe, I'm going to be the first person to yell it out." 

Wiebe, 36, said he and his family often used to go to Burnaby Lake or the ponds at Jericho Beach to skate. 

"It used to be a common practice," said Wiebe.

"This is something that a lot of people have nostalgia [about] who would just love to get out there again." 

Will the cold stay?

According to CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe, if the temperature were to stay below zero until Monday it would be a week-long cold snap — the longest stretch of icy weather since 1990.

And for those wondering how cold it has ever gotten in Vancouver, the lowest recorded December temperature at YVR was -17.8 C on Dec. 29, 1968. 

Wiebe is still holding out for the cold to last just long enough to get people skating outdoors for the first time in 20 years.

"I hope it's something we can bring back because it's something we don't do a lot of in Vancouver," he said.

Unfortunately, Vancouverites should expect a return to warmer temperatures by Monday and a messy mix of rain and slush. 

A boy plays hockey with his friends on Lost Lagoon in 1974. (CBC)


Maryse Zeidler


Maryse Zeidler is a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver, covering news from across British Columbia. You can reach her at


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