While technically no longer part of the Vancouver waterfront, Lost Lagoon was once a shallow cove at the end of Coal Harbour until the causeway through Stanley Park was completed in 1916 and turned it into a salt water lake (and a truly lost lagoon). Later in 1929 the pipes carrying salt water from Burrard Inlet were closed off and the lake was filled instead with fresh water and stocked with trout for the local fly fishing association. In 1936 the lake was temporarily drained so a fountain for the City's Golden Jubilee could be installed, and then in 1938 it was made into a bird sanctuary. Up until the 1960's you could still rent row-boats in Lost Lagoon and enjoy a few hours on the water but this eventually came to an end and the lagoon was strictly set aside for the animals.
|Inside the Stanley Park Nature House
|Small beaver suitable for petting
|Lost Lagoon photo by Junie Quiroga
|River otters on the boulders by 2nd Beach photo by Junie Quiroga
|Canada goose and red-eared slider turtles photo by Junie Quiroga
|Mother Goose & her goslings photo by Junie Quiroga
|Ice on Lost Lagoon photos by Junie Quiroga
|Killer Whales trapped in ice off coast of Inukjuak, Quebec January 2013
Because it's fresh water, ice occasionally forms on Lost Lagoon when there's a winter cold snap and then the creatures are kept busy either maintaining an open swimming hole or cleaning the ice so they have a nice skating surface. At least they aren't in the life or death situation a pod of east coast killer whales found themselves in at the same time last week with their pitiful attempt to keep a breathing hole open. Once again the old saying "West is best, East is least" makes Vancouver the envy of the country.
|January 1993 skating on Lost Lagoon
Every 20 years or so the elements do combine for enough snow in the City to make life interesting for a few days and skating on Lost Lagoon a special treat. It takes quite a few very cold days for the ice to thicken enough for skating, and thankfully it never lasts, but there is something special about a cold, sunny day outside on a frozen pond. The West End feels like a real old fashioned neighbourhood with everyone laughing and playing together.
|Beaver logging in Beaver Lake
A little further into the Park is the other freshwater lake called Beaver Lake, for reasons that are quickly apparent to anyone walking in the area. Unlike Lost Lagoon which is in no danger of ever disappearing, Beaver Lake is following the demise of all forest ponds that slowly but surely fill in with rotting vegetation which, in this case, is aggravated by yet another introduced species, the water lily, that has taken the place over. While a hungry moose would quickly help turn things around, the beavers in the meantime are doing their best to destroy all of the surrounding vegetation. In spite of efforts to slow their logging operation by wrapping the base of trees with protective wire, the beavers have managed to build themselves quite a monster party lodge in the middle of the lake that, by all reports, is quite cozy when things freeze over.
|Monster beaver party lodge in Beaver Lake photo by Junie Quiroga
|Great Canadian beaver on display at the Nature House in Lost Lagoon
There is, however, one other body of fresh water in the Park that has nobody skating on it when it freezes, no lodge built in the middle for throwing parties, and nobody swimming in it either, and that's the 2nd Beach pool. Lively all summer long, with the best sunset and ocean views, now it sits empty, deserted and cold as ice. Oh well, only five months to go.
|2nd Beach pool covered with ice photos by Junie Quiroga