Expect to hear that iconic cry a few times this week at Vancouver’s Trout Lake.
For the first time in more than a decade, Vancouverites will get a rare taste of that most nostalgic of Canadian pastimes: an outdoor skate on a local pond.
The Vancouver Park Board says it’s been regularly measuring the thickness of the ice at the city’s ponds, and Trout Lake is the first to pass the requisite 12 cm safety mark.
Board chair Michael Wiebe says he’s thrilled the city is able to find a fun spot in what’s been something of a dreary winter.
“We’ve had this cold snap, and there’s been a lot of negativity with it, and I think that it’s an opportunity for us to get outside, so I’ve been waiting every day we’ve had our crews out testing ice and just haven’t had the right amount of ice.”
Wiebe says safety will be a top priority, and city aquatics staff will be at the lake drilling samples multiple times a day to ensure conditions remain safe.
He says they’ll also have ice patrols on hand, drawn from summer lifeguards who are trained in first aid.
The park’s public washrooms will also be open to skaters.
But if you’re thinking of lacing up for a quick game of shinny on one of the city’s other ponds, Wiebe says think again.
For varying reasons, from running water to partial cover, none of the other ponds have frozen enough to skate safely on.
Wiebe says he understands that people are excited — even trying to test Trout Lake before it was ready — but says it’s not worth the risk.
“It was one of those things that people tested a little too early. And it was tough to watch, even I guess a week ago, the skate patrols kind of taking people off the ice because people were trying to get on there.”
Wiebe says he’s hoping this year’s freeze will give a new generation of kids winter memories they can hold onto for a lifetime.
With files from Niamh Anderson