Welcome to the Vancouver Lexicon. Its purpose is to pin down the patois of the City of Vancouver by recording its toponyms, nicknames, slang terms, personalities, places, and other Van-centric things. Full A-Z here.
Barrier, The | geology | The ancient lava dam that helped form and continues to retain Garibali Lake, which is located between the communities of Squamish and Whistler. It was formed at the end of the last Ice Age and is up to 1,000 feet thick in places and approximately 2.5 kilometres wide. Forty years ago, the stability of “The Barrier” was deemed so uncertain and precarious that the government forbade any construction directly beneath it. If it gave way and collapsed (eg. in the entirely possible event of a major earthquake), it would drain Garibaldi Lake as if from a spout, the violent flow of which would devastate everything in its path down to the waters of Howe Sound, including the Sea-to-Sky Highway 99.
Usage: “When I’m camping near Squamish and I feel the distant rumble of a train, I worry for a moment that it might be The Barrier collapsing…”