Squint Lake Park is located in the northeastern section of the city of Burnaby in British Columbia. It’s an interesting mixture of a suburban park and the original forested habitat in the area. The park contains trails bordered by forest and a creek that enters a small lake (Squint Lake). It also contains recreational facilities. I enjoy walking along the trails and exploring the park. I make sure that I always have some kind of camera with me. My photos in this article show the park at different times of the year.
The park is located at the base of Burnaby Mountain, which is another interesting place to explore. The mountain is mainly forested, but it has trails for walking and mountain biking. There’s a cultivated area and a restaurant at the top. The view is wonderful there. The golf course by Squint Lake Park and a trail that I mention near the end of the article are named after the mountain.
Squint Lake was created before the golf course was built. According to the City of Burnaby website, in 1910 a real estate company advertised the desirability of the area because it contained the beautiful “Quinte Lake”. The local people heard the name and were highly amused. They said it was far too grandiose for a body of water that was so small that people had to squint to see it. At that time, the “lake” was a beaver pond. The name “Squint Lake” stuck.
Though Squint Lake is technically on the site of the Burnaby Mountain Golf Course today, the public has access to it. It’s nice that a strip of land between the lake and the golf course path is allowed to remain wild. When I visit the lake, I enjoy looking at the birds on the water, the wild plants beside it, and the cultivated borders of the golf course entrance area. The birds on the lake are often mallards, though I sometimes see other species of duck. Crows and other land birds are frequent visitors. Benches are present for people to sit and admire the lake. Some people like to feed the ducks, who quickly head towards the visitors to get the food.
Eagle Creek runs through the park and drains into Squint Lake. Another creek drains water from Squint Lake to the much larger Burnaby Lake. The fountain shown above is located where Squint Lake starts to narrow as the water continues its journey to Burnaby Lake. The narrowing of the water channel can be seen more clearly in the photo below. The area has an interesting collection of plants in summer, including yellow flag iris flowers and horsetails.
Burnaby Mountain Golf Course
In order to visit Squint Lake, a visitor will need to pass through the golf course entrance area. Fortunately, this area is interesting to see. Though the golf course contains the lake that the park is named after, it’s not part of Squint Lake Park. Since I often visit the lake when I visit the park, however, it always seems like the golf course belongs to the park to me.
The course is run by the city of Burnaby and provides free Internet access to everyone, whether or not they are a golfer. There’s a small outdoor seating area beside the buildings for golfers and other visitors to rest. Someone who hasn’t paid to golf can explore the buildings and the grounds, but they must stay off the grass.
The cultivated plants by the parking lot of the golf course and in the entrance area are lovely in the spring and summer when they are in bloom. I look forward to seeing the hellebore flowers in spring. The rhododendrons are lovely as well. The hydrangea photo at the top of this page was taken at the golf course in August. A few flowers are in bloom even in the wetter and colder parts of the year. The landscaping in the area is interesting.
Some interesting eco-sculptures are present by the outdoor seating area of the golf course in summer, including the bear shown above. Burnaby eco-sculptures generally represent animals. They consist of a mesh-like metal frame that has been packed with soil. The frame is covered by landscape fabric, which forms the “skin” of the animal. Small plants are pushed through the fabric and into the soil through the gaps in the frame in order to create the impression of fur or feathers.
Specific eco-sculptures are placed in a particular park each season. The three bears have been at the golf course for several seasons, however. Owls, sandhill cranes, frogs, salmon, and other animals are represented in the sculptures. I include more photos and details about the eco-sculptures in another article that I’ve written.
Trails in the Park
The gravel trails in the park are interesting to explore, especially for a nature lover. They are popular with walkers and runners. Occasionally, I see cyclists in the park, but most people on bicycles stick to a nearby trail system. The trail entrance that I use includes a bridge that spans Eagle Creek. The creek is narrow during most of its journey through the park, but it widens in the area shown below. The water is easy to reach in this section.
There are always interesting things to see along the trail, including trees, shrubs, ferns, flowers, fruits fungi, mosses, and lichens. In a wet location located beside one section of the trail, skunk cabbage is visible in early spring. I look forward to seeing it. I’ve seen the plant elsewhere in the park, but the specimens right beside the trail are easier to observe.
Birds, squirrels, and insects travel through the park when humans are around. More animals probably visit when people aren’t around, or they hide when human visitors are common. Salmon can sometimes be seen in the creek.
Other Recreational Activities in the Park
The park contains a large field for softball that is lighted at night when games are being played. There’s a popular playground for children next to the field. Washrooms are available near the playground. Tennis courts are located by the parking lot.
We don’t get much snow at sea level in the Greater Vancouver region. When the snow does collect, I sometimes see cross country skiers on the park trails, as in the year when I took the photo below. I don’t like driving in the snow, but I have to admit that it looks lovely on the trees.
The trails that border the golf course and the softball field are interesting to explore. One section of the route travels beside the golf course. The route doesn’t go completely around the course, however. I find it no hardship to turn around at the end and walk in the other direction.
There is one loop that can be followed by travelling along connected paths in the park. If a walker wants to keep travelling beside the golf course without branching back to the beginning, they will eventually reach an urban trail outside the park. Part of the trail is shown below. Turning left on the urban trail takes the walker back towards the park entrance, though they will have to eventually turn left again and travel down a wide area of grass (or on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street) to get to the road going to the parking lot.
The Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail extends across North Burnaby. An urban trail is a paved pathway for pedestrians and cyclists. It’s usually wide and is often bordered by plants. It’s very often a pleasant route that is nicer to explore than a sidewalk.
Burnaby Mountain and the area at its base are worth exploring. I live near enough to Squint Lake Park to visit it quite often. Though I think spring and summer are the nicest times to visit, I think the park is worth seeing at any time. I’m looking forward to my next trip there.