Vancouver’s Snow Lifeguards


Tuesday, February 12th, 2019 — 6:42am PST
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After the first major snow storm of the year, I texted my friend Laura: “Photo walk? I want to catch those Lost Lagoon cherry blossoms in the snow.” She replied back with a thumbs up emoji, a snowflake emoji, and a camera emoji and then met me over on Lagoon Drive during her lunch break.

Snow Cherry Blossoms

Indeed, the cherry blossoms were no bigger than they were about 2 weeks ago when I first discovered them in late January, with the cold stunting their ambitious early growth. We got the snaps we wanted then continued down to the waterside path where signs: “DANGER THIN ICE KEEP OFF” were laid around the shore of Lost Lagoon.

Then we noticed a bit of a crowd around one person in particular: Someone in a big red parka, sitting on top of a bench against which a rescue ladder rested in the snow. “Is that a… lifeguard?” As we got closer the words on the back of their coat became clear.

SnowLifeguard_Miss604

The lifeguard was very friendly but said they were necessary at this time of year. Apparently when the snow starts to fall, folks get the notion that the ice is ready for skating and they walk (or attempt to skate) out over the open water.

lostlagoon_snow

There were some tell-tale holes in the ice, which I hope were from animals and not from humans, but once we got over to the Stanley Park Nature House I really did have to raise my palm to my cheek and gasp. Someone had indeed been ice skating as well.

From the Vancouver Park Board on Facebook: Please keep off the ice! Despite all the cold weather, it remains thin on lakes and ponds across Vancouver. Our lifeguards are out this week making people aware that the ice isn’t safe. 

To be clear: Lost Lagoon is NOT frozen over. There may be snow on it, but it is NOT frozen. It is NOT safe for skating or walking on. Please do NOT attempt this.

Miss E. Robinson and Pete Pantages, Royal Lifesaving Society members pose at snowy beach
1927: Miss E. Robinson & Pete Pantages (founder of the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club), Royal Lifesaving Society members. Vancouver Archives #CVA 99-1784. Photo by Stuart Thomson.

Live vicariously through these archive photos from almost 100 years ago when Lost Lagoon did in face deep freeze but really your best bet for outdoor skating in Vancouver this winter is the Robson Square Ice Rink which is open for FREE skating until February 28th.

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