Fraser River freezes from coast to coast between Langley and Maple Ridge – Surrey Now-Leader

In a rare incident, the Fraser River froze across its entire width from Langley to Maple Ridge at Derby Reach this week as deep freezing continued across the lower mainland.

Pieces of ice are common in the Fraser River during cold, but the surface freezing of the entire river is more unusual.

River freezing was more common in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

In 1862, Fraser froze as far west as Lulu Island – the island now better known as Richmond. The ice was between 13 and 25 inches thick from wide to wide, blocking all river traffic. American cattle importers landed a herd at Point Roberts, drove it through the Delta, and took the animals just across the river to New Westminster, then the largest community on the mainland.

In Langley, pioneer documents mention people crossing the ice on foot in Langley, and photos from New Westminster in the 1920s show when the river there froze solid enough for people to skate and play hockey.

The last freezing of the Fraser River to Surrey and the North Delta was in 1962.

The river is not frozen that far to the west this year, as video images indicate that around Surrey and New Westminster, it has broken up into ice floes instead of solid.

The ice does not appear to hinder operations at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s docks in Surrey.

“At present, we are not aware of any high concentration of ice within our navigation jurisdiction,” said Matti Polychronis, a spokesman for the port. “But we continue to monitor weather conditions, including forecasts and warnings issued by Environment Canada.”

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Canada geese land on the frozen Fraser River near Derby Reach Regional Park, between Langley and Maple Ridge.  (Matthew Claxton / Langley Advance Times)
Ice piled up along the coast at Derby Reach Regional Park in Langley.  (Matthew Claxton / Langley Advance Times)

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