Trout Lake

Trout Lake was a popular skating spot, easily reached from the Cedar Cottage interurban stop nearby. Photo here is from the Archives in 1929.
2017 was the first time in 20 years the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation opened Trout Lake for ice skating. At 12 cm thick, the ice is considered safe enough to skate on.

Plaque

Trout Lake was a natural peat bog lake fed by many streams and home to abundant trout, salmon and beaver. In the pre-contact era, Aboriginal trails passed alongside. From the 1860s until the city built its Capilano water system in the 1880s, the lake provided water, via a flume, for the boilers at Hastings Mill on Burrard Inlet and was a popular skating rink during cold winters. The lake and surrounding land were donated to the Park Board in the 1920s by Aldyen Hendry Hamber on the condition that it be named for her father, John Hendry, one of the industrialists who had owned the Hastings Mill.

History

The Lake

Trout Lake served as the water supply for the boilers at the Hastings Mill from the 1860s until the city built its Capilano water system in the 1880s. A flume on a trestle connected the lake by an easy grade to the mill at the foot of Dunlevy Street on the waterfront. As its water was slightly acidic, the boilers didn’t have to cleaned as often, but beaver in the lake kept damming the flume’s entrance. In cold Vancouver winters, Trout Lake was a popular skating spot, easily reached from the Cedar Cottage interurban stop nearby.

John Hendry Park

In 1917, the Park Board expressed its first interest in Trout Lake, and three years later began to assemble land nearby. Following a donation by Aldyen Hendry Hamber, the board gave the lake an official name, John Hendry Park, in honour of the industrialist who had owned the Hastings Mill company and consolidated the province’s largest lumber company of the day, the B.C. Mills, Timber & Trading Company. But the improvement of the park was slow: in 1932, a peat-mining operation was underway to provide the Park Board with revenue.

After the Second World War, Trout Lake continued its evolution as East Vancouver’s only beach. Its field house was built in 1951. More recently, portions of the shoreline have been allowed to return to a natural state and the park has become popular for public gatherings, as well as becoming the site of a weekly Farmer’s Market – harbinger of the trend to local food and urban agriculture in the modern city.

Trout Lake Community Centre

A legacy of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the new Trout Lake Community Centre provides a gathering place for community to enjoy recreational activities and is jointly operated by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation and the Grandview Community Centre Association. A LEED Gold Facility designed by Walter Francl Architecture Inc. the facility includes: ice rink, gymnasium, 4000 square foot fitness centre, training room, dance studio, 2 large multipurpose rooms, art studio, pottery studio, teen/seniors centre, mat room, music room, licensed preschool, meeting rooms, café and an outdoor performance plaza.

Annual Celebrations at Trout Lake

John Hendry Park, or Trout Lake, is the site of year round festivities and recreational use. Since the 1980s, Public Dreams Society (no longer in existence) hosted its annual Illuminares in July at John Hendry Park. This event, amongst others like the Parade of Lost Souls, were aimed at creating community spirit through creative participation in the city.  Since 2013, National Aboriginal Day (June 21st) has been celebrated at Trout Lake with full day entertainment, festivities and learning for all ages. National Aboriginal Day is a day recognising and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Indigenous peoples in Canada.

 

VHF celebrated Trout Lake’s history during a plaque presentation on Saturday October 27, 2012. The plaque has been installed on the public seating structure at the north end of the park’s waterfront.

Nearby Sites

Sources

  • “Vancouver The Way It Was”, Michael Kluckner.
  • “The First Hundred Years, R.Mike Steele, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, 1988.
  • Trout Lake Community Centre website.

Media & Photos

plaque is on the northside bench structure facing the lake

3360 Victoria Dr.
Kensington Cedar-Cottage

Coordinates

49.25749777022789, -123.06287491003417

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