Hey Vancouverites!

Have you noticed that, after what seems like four or five years, the lights have finally returned to the fountain at Lost Lagoon?

They went back on in mid-July 2010. My neighbour (who also provided the retro post card, above) rang me up and said, excitedly, “The fountain lights are working again!” I, too, was thrilled to have the lights back after such a long absence.

To get the story, I called the city’s switchboard and was eventually guided to Joe Snadel, Superintendent of the Electrical Shop. He gave me the details:

The new fountain has had a major retrofit and upgrade (a “massive restoration” is how Joe put it. He also called the fountain’s old plumbing “antique”). This has been going on behind the scenes for the past couple of years for a total cost of between $50-60K.

The fountain’s jets and lights are now controlled by computer and can be activated remotely from the shoreline. The bonus to all of this is that the centre jet now blasts higher than ever before.




The fountain at Lost Lagoon was erected to commemorate Vancouver’s Golden Jubilee in 1936.

There are differing versions of the fountain’s history, but I defer to the iconic Chuck Davis and his fantastic History of Metropolitan Vancouver’s take on the fountain’s past.

According to Mr. Davis, the “fountain” was purchased from the A Century of Progress International Exposition, the World’s Fair held in Chicago from 1933 to 1934.

Searching for images of a fountain at A Century of Progress International Exhibition resulted in these pictures of a fountain spouting at the fair’s North Lagoon:

“The lagoon fountain at A Century of Progress, billed at the time as the largest fountain in the world, was 670 feet long and was illuminated at night by colored lights.”

COP_17_0006_00256_003, Century of Progress Records, 1927-1952, University of Illinois at Chicago Library.




This is Wikiality’s version of how the fountain came to be:

So, did the fountain come from Chicago or spring from the mind of Robert William Harold?

I’m a bit confused by the fountain’s history, but the main thing is that the lights are back on, the jet d’eau is shooting up higher than ever, and Lost Lagoon looks majestic again.

Kudos to the City of Vancouver’s fantastic Board of Parks and Recreation and its great staff!

Note to the Parks Board: Please keep the fountain’s lights going until at least three in the morning. You’re turning it off too soon! Thanks!

Photos > GT

City of Vancouver Public Art

17 July 1936 | Two views of the fountain at Lost Lagoon, St Pk N142.04

17 July 1936 | Two views of the fountain at Lost Lagoon, St Pk N142.03

17 July 1936 | Fountain at Lost Lagoon, St Pk N142.05

17 July 1936 | The Fountain in Lost Lagoon, St Pk N142.01

ca. 1946 | Lost Lagoon Stanley Park – Leonard Frank Photos, St Pk P197

Panoramic view showing Lost Lagoon, the Stanley Park Causeway under construction and the Vancouver Rowing Club

6 November 1917 | Coal Harbour Vancouver: Height of Water in Upper End – 9 Feet Above Zero, PAN N54

27 July 1927 | View of Stanley Park causeway showing Lost Lagoon and the Vancouver Rowing Club building on Coal Harbour, PAN N199

189- | Stanley Park entrance arch – Bailey Bros., VPL 19796

191-? | Coal Harbour Improvements Suggested Treatment of Inner Basin, CVA 789-122

ca. 1938 | The Causeway Stanley Park, CVA 371-2847

Between 1936 and 1945 | The fountain at Lost Lagoon at night, CVA LP 219

Wikipedia | Lost Lagoon

City of Vancouver Public Art Registry | Jubilee Fountain

City of Vancouver Public Art Registry | Lennox Mackenzie

Stanley Park Nature House | Lost Lagoon: FAQ

Spokes Bicycles | Map of Stanley Park PDF

The Swans of Stanley Park | Salt water should flow in Vancouver’s most prominent artificial lake

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