British Columbia

Vancouverites don skates to brave icy roads

A bout of bad weather that ushered in 2017 has left thousands of Lower Mainland residents battling icy roads and power outages on New Year's Day.

Rough weather also caused ferry cancellations and power outages across the Lower Mainland

Skating on Vancouver's icy roads

5 years ago
An East Vancouver resident skates on the road in front of his home on Elgin Street. 0:39

A bout of bad weather that ushered in 2017 has left thousands of Lower Mainland residents battling icy roads and power outages on New Year's Day. 

In East Vancouver, one street was so icy that resident Sam MacTavish filmed himself skating down the middle of it. 

"I didn't want to do the video for the fun of skating, I wanted to prove a point that it's really dangerous," MacTavish said of Elgin Street. 

"My grandparents, who live with us, they can't really go outside. It's too dangerous to cross the street — it's all ice."

MacTavish, 18, said his uncle who lives at UBC recently slipped on the ice and broke his shoulder, and now requires surgery. 

"It's the city's responsibility ... they haven't really acted," he said.

"Obviously they can't respond to every little road, but when the roads are becoming like that, it's clear that they've kind of got to do a better job of managing the roads."

He wasn't the only person upset about the icy roads in the region. Others also compared them to skating rinks. 

A City of Vancouver spokesman said anyone concerned about icy roads can report them by phoning 311 or using the city's app, VanConnect, so it can send crews to address the problem. 

Power outages

Meanwhile, some Lower Mainland residents staying home for the day had other problems to contend with.

BC Hydro said about 3,500 customers were still without power as of 5 p.m. PT Sunday — down from about 15,000 during the peak of the snowstorm that hit the South Coast on New Year's Eve.  

Spokeswoman Mora Scott said crews had been working throughout the night and day to restore power, which was mostly knocked out by snow-laden trees falling on power wires. 

She said the hardest-hit areas were Vancouver, Burnaby, Maple Ridge and Mission, but crews should have power back in those areas by the end of the day.

Cancelled ferries

One municipality that's not likely to have power back tonight is Bowen Island, where 991 households in the small community were without power Sunday. 

High winds cancelled ferries headed to Snug Cove from Horseshoe Bay, meaning hydro crews couldn't get to the island to make the repairs necessary to get the power back on. 

Cate Simpson was one of dozens of people hunkered down at Doc Morgan's pub near the Bowen Island ferry Sunday afternoon, waiting to find out if she would be able to make it back to her home in Vancouver that night. 

"I think the entire island and certainly the entire ferry lineup is in here," Simpson said over the phone. 

"They're cooking up a storm and serving lots of drinks in the pub. It's one bartender and one server and I don't think they know what hit them. But everybody's being very patient."

Simpson said RCMP had gone up and down the main road with megaphones to tell people the ferries were cancelled and to go home, but BC Ferries hadn't officially cancelled the remaining sailings of the day at that point.

"It's really hard to know whether to go back to a cold house that doesn't have any power and light a fire or to kind of stick it out down here in the cove and see if we can get out of here tonight," she said. 


Maryse Zeidler


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