Vancouver History: Snow Days

Comments 7 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Update December 21, 2008: I’ve promoted this post to the front page of my site in honor of the 20cms of snow we’ve received over the last 24 hours.

When I was younger we would get some real snow days – the kind where you’d spend all day in your one-piece snow suit and only come in periodically to fill up on hot chocolate before heading back out to guard your fort from the icey snowball onslaught of your big brother.

Photo credit: Loxy on Flickr

However, it seemed as though our snowy days melted away in the 90s and we’d have Pineapple Express, El Nino and every other type of dreary rainy tropic-influenced weather under the cloud cover.

Photo credit: Loxy on Flickr

Over the last few years snow has returned to the streets of Vancouver in small doses yet 1cm is about enough to send people scurrying indoors and abandoning their cars on the sides of highways.

Photo credit: Loxy on Flickr

With all of this in mind I’ve decided to look up a few frosty stats from the halls of Vancouver History.

  • October 12, 1894: A small party of hikers including idney Williams, a surveyor, G.W. Edwards, a photographer, and Ernest Cleveland, later to become chief commissioner of the Greater Vancouver water district (and the man for whom Cleveland Dam is named) trudged through the snow of what they named “Grouse Mountain” on the north shore of Burrard Inlet.
  • January 21, 1935: Vancouver got 43 centimetres (17 inches) of snow, still the 24-hour record for snowfall. One result: the roof of the Hastings Park Forum collapsed. There were no injuries.
  • November 14, 1982: The roof of BC Place was inflated. Fact: There are two layers of fabric with a four-foot space between them. When it snows, hot air is pumped between these layers to melt six inches of snow per hour.
  • In 1900 the Canadian Pacific Railway financed a film to promote Canadian immigration to the west. It took two years to film because the film-makers weren’t allowed to show snow.
  • Nobel Prize-winning writer Rudyard Kipling used to own land in Vancouver. “In one poem, he called Canada “Our Lady of the Snows,” a description that’s said to have had a great damping effect on immigration to the country.”
  • December 13, 2008. The Jamaican boblsed team arrives in Vancouver and will head up to Pemberton to train over the next few months for the 2010 Olympic games. [CBC]
  • Growing up, some of the best snow days were those spent playing with friends (even if we were fighting over the toboggan or the super saucers). Today they’re either spent snuggled up on the couch, traversing the slushy city streets, trekking through the muffled silence of the park under dusted evergreens or carving up the mountain. Come to think of it, when it wants to be, Vancouver can be quite the winter wonderland.

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    7 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

    1. LoxySunday, December 14th, 2008 — 5:01pm PST

      I never thought there was much snow in Vancouver… but, then again, the only Christmas I spent out on the West Coast (before moving here) was in ’96 in Victoria.

      That’s when this happened:

    2. Taris JSunday, December 14th, 2008 — 7:49pm PST

      Those are some pretty interesting facts!! I definitely know what you mean about the snow days being few and far between. My grandma lives in Sudbury, and I sometimes wish we did too just so I could experience the good ol’ days hehehe 🙂

      I wonder why those filmographers couldn’t show snow – did the government really think that people didn’t know that it snows up in Canada?? Out of sight out of mind doesn’t quite work with the weather patterns lol!!

    3. TawcanSunday, December 14th, 2008 — 10:52pm PST

      Coming back from Whistler area I was a bit surprised to see snow in Van. Seems like a localized snow dump as we didn’t get any snow in Callahan Valley/Whistler overnight.

    4. RobMonday, December 15th, 2008 — 2:03pm PST

      That’s a lovely photo, Loxy! 🙂

    5. WaxySunday, December 21st, 2008 — 12:50pm PST

      It’s so beautiful down at English Bay. A total white-out! It’s cool at night too. Normally I cannot see people at the beach when it’s past sunset, but when the ground is snow-covered, they really stand out.

    6. AntoineMonday, December 22nd, 2008 — 11:41am PST

      Amazing the palm trees covered in snow. Like usual, I went out and took some pictures of the west end and english bay. If you want to see them.


    7. sayahFriday, December 11th, 2009 — 4:51am PST

      you know Miss604 ijust come from a dasert ( saudi arabia ), we in december( today is 11 ) weather ok temp, around 16C .

      thank you,
      see you ([email protected] )

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