While ice is causing headaches in many parts of Vancouver, at the frozen Trout Lake on the East Side it’s bringing nothing but smiles.
It’s been 20 years since the lake has frozen enough to be safe for skating, and locals are making up for lost time, with hundreds dodging school, work, or otherwise to slap on skates and enjoy the winter sunshine.
The crisp, clear air was packed with memories – some tinted with nostalgia, others new in the making.
“When I was a kid, we booked off school, skipped out, my friend and I came down here, the only two on the whole ice,” said Allan Doolin, recalling one adventure.
“Some monitor from over there screamed ‘get off the ice!’ And we skated right for this corner here and we hit a log… face first into the snow.”
Decades later, Amy O’brien, two kids in tow, was aiming for some of the same fun.
“It’s amazing, we never thought we’d see this in our lifetime. So we pulled them out of school early to try it out. Once in a lifetime opportunity, playing hooky to play hockey,” she said.
For many who now call Vancouver their home, it’s a taste of childhood elsewhere.
“I’m from Ottawa so this is like my back yard,” said Chris Proulx, laughing.
He says today was an unexpected chance to share that experience with his young son Graydon.
“This is, well I hope it’s not a once in a lifetime thing for him, but it’s amazing. He’s having a great time, we’re playing hockey, playing in the sled, it’s really fun.”
The city gave the green light to skate on the lake as of this morning, with the thickness measured at 13 cm/ 5″, the minimum for safety.
It says it will be monitoring conditions several times a day to ensure it remains safe, and ice patrols with first aid training are on site.
No other ponds in Vancouver have been declared safe to skate on yet.