Roller skating has been around since the 1800s but its first real spike in popularity was between the 1930s and '50s when roller rinks started popping up across North America, The time period is now known as the golden age of roller skating.
In the 1970s, the second roller craze took off thanks to disco music. The style was popularized by Black and gay skaters and at its peak was the subject of magazines. In the late '80s and early '90s, rollerblading took over and interest in the sport waned altogether — that is until recently.
2020 was the start of a roller skating renaissance; now, there is a group of impassioned skaters in Vancouver holding free events where people can wheel and dance the night away.
Roller Skate BC and Sunset 54 host regular roller events around Vancouver, including a Roller Jam at Sunset Beach complete with DJs, chalk street art and some amazing fashion.
The '70s are back in full force with bright colours, shiny fabrics, tiny shorts and flare-leg pants at the Sunset Beach Roller Jam. It takes place in an enclosed paved rink at 1204 Beach Ave. In the past, the gatherings have had Vancouver Rolla Skate Club on-site renting out skates, polaroid pictures for sale, and outfit themes like glitter and band tees.
Local DJs DJ Groove Heart and DJ Funky Beat, regular fixtures in the Roller community, provide the music at the Sunset Beach Roller Jam. The next event is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 1. The team hopes to continue hosting them every Thursday until the weather becomes too unpredictable.
Sunset Beach Roller Jam
When: Thursday, Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.
Where: 1204 Beach Ave.