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 be 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.
Born in New Brunswick, John Hendry came to Vancouver in 1872 when the lumbering industry was just getting started. After a brief stint in the state of Washington, Hendry was commissioned to rebuild the Moodyville Mill which had been recently destroyed by fire. His most influential endeavours included the Royal City Planing Mill in New Westminster and the Hastings Saw Mill.John Hendry died in 1916 at the age of 72 having earned many titles in his lifetime some of which included: President Vancouver Board of Trade; President Canadian Forestry Association and Mayor of New Westminster.
Hendry’s daughter married Eric W. Hamber, one of the previous Lt. Governor’s of British Columbia. In 1926, the Hambers donated part of their land at the Trout Lake site to the Vancouver Park Board under the condition that it be called “John Hendry Park”.
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 and 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.
- “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.