Putting a stop to seasonal stress

Update, Winter 2012:

This will be a grand holiday season here in Lynn Valley, starting with the Mollie Nye light-up and continuing over at the Christmas Tree Walk in the Village. That said, it’s not always easy to enjoy all the fun (and tasks!) of the season without becoming a bit … overwhelmed, shall we say? Here’s a solution that might help. The following piece is an excerpt from Wintertide, a book of holiday recipes and stories that’s on sale at Mollie Nye and online. We think it’s good advice!

Solstice Stressation

“Stressation.” That’s the word we coined when we were sitting around the table at the White Spot at our family’s annual “Eve of Christmas Eve” dinner on Dec. 23rd. What we shared beyond the bonds of blood and affection was a fed-uppedness with the demands of the season. Surely, with our shopping and baking and wrapping and constant cavorting, we were all missing the point.

And so it was decided. From henceforth, the Dec. 21 winter solstice will mark more than the defeat of darkness’s grip upon the earth. It will be honoured by the defiant cessation of stressful seasonal freneticism, and therefore be known as the Day of Stressation.

Forgotten a gift for the soccer coach? A sincere phone call will suffice. Haven’t baked your shortbread yet? It will taste all the better when you make it next year. Haven’t got as many stocking stuffers for the kids? They’ll survive.

We’ve all been there. A neighbour brings an unexpected gift to the door, and our first reaction is to smile through gritted teeth, say “You really SHOULDN’T have,” and immediately add “Get gift for neighbour” onto our mental to-do list. We take our well-meaning neighbour’s expression of comfort and joy, filter it through a self-created lens of guilt and expectation, and practically spit it back at them.

What if, instead, we said “How kind of you to think of me! Won’t you come in and share some of these cookies you’ve brought? I’ll put the coffee on.” And because we are committed Stressation adherents, we will have the time to sit and enjoy some shared time with our neighbour, because we are refusing to fret about things left undone.

Celebrating Stressation does require some advance planning. You will want to have your turkey, or other feasting staple, purchased before the 21st. Ditto a gift for your significant others. And yes, there will no doubt be a few last-minute tasks that simply can’t be done in advance – whipped cream isn’t known for its ability to stay perky for weeks in the fridge.
But the other stuff? Let it go. It’s traditional to wish for peace at this time of the year, and yet we refuse to make space for it. There’s simply no room at the inn.

But perhaps this is the year we’ll start to change our ways. Dec. 21, the Day of Stressation, has been marked on the family calendar, and at least some of us fully intend to honour its call. Would you like to join us? We’ll be the ones at Waves or Delany’s, sipping a gingerbread latte with friends, nary a shopping list in sight.

– By Clan McMordie-Trendell-Jensen

Christmas kicks in this week in Lynn Valley

By the end of November, we’ve usually endured weeks of cold, grey drizzle. I don’t know about you, but the wonderfully sunny fall we’ve had this year has meant that the impending Christmas season has sort of snuck up on me.

So perhaps the upside to this rainy Grey Cup weekend is that it has caught our attention and reminded us that Christmas is, indeed, on the way. And just in time, too, because in Lynn Valley the festivities really start up in the week ahead (which is currently forecast to be sunny, by the way!)

I won’t list all the details here, because you can find the ins and outs on our LynnValleyLife events calendar. But be sure to take in some of the highlights of the week ahead!

You can get in the mood on Monday with a by-donation concert offered up by your very own community concert band, the Lynn Valley Black Bear Band (they even supply free eats, but you do have to go to Kay Meek Theatre to get them!).

On Tuesday, the junior band and choir at Argyle will raise the roof with some seasonal tunes in the big gym, starting at 7:30.

Wednesday the 30th is the next holiday shopping night at the End of the Line Store at the top of Lynn Valley Road. Right on the edge of the forest, the general store/gallery is just the place to enjoy a hot drink and ponder which of the café’s crafts and curiosities would suit the people on your gift list. (Wednesday is also the day to pick up your poinsettia if you’ve ordered one from Mollie Nye House, by the way.)

It’s always fun to be in the thick of things when Santa – that’s right, Santa himself – flips the switch to light up Mollie Nye House in all its gingerbread glory. That will happen on Thursday, and there will be lots of other festive stuff going on at the house that night, too. (That would be the perfect time to bring along a pair of new socks, or men’s toiletries, or warm gloves for the St. Agnes’ Scouts Christmas hampers for the Lookout Emergency Shelter – Mollie Nye House has offered to be the drop-off spot for scout leader Ken Gregson.)

Christmas jollity continues on the weekend, as merchants and organizations decorate their adopted tree in Lynn Valley Village. The official lighting ceremony will take place on Sunday at 5 p.m., and we hope you visit our LynnValleyLife tree. The team decorating elves have been busy indeed!

All this frolic will no doubt put you in the mood for the decking of your personal halls, and we hope you support the Lynn Valley Lions tree lot. Look for it in the parking lot of Karen Magnussen Rec Centre, starting this weekend!

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Lynn Valley Merchant Profiles


LynnValleyLife knows that a good neighbourhood supports its merchants, and good merchants support their neighbourhood! The profiles on this page are an introduction to some of the people behind Lynn Valley shops and services. They are not endorsements, and we ask readers to do their own due diligence when it comes to their buying decisions. If you are a merchant who would like to be profiled here, please contact us for our merchant questionnaire. If you would like to nominate your own business for a profile, please click here for our Merchant Questionnaire, or pass the word along to your favourite retailer or service provider!


Lynn Valley Bed and Breakfast, Andrew and Vanessa KnowlesAndrew Knowles
Lynn Valley Bed & Breakfast

Address: 1428 McNair Drive, North Vancouver
Tel: 604.715.4207
Email: info@lynnvalleybedandbreakfast.com
Website: www.lynnvalleybedandbreakfast.com

Andrew is the man behind the pan at this Bed and Breakfast – he’s an avid cook who, along with his wife, enjoys welcoming guests to their home that borders the rich mountain biking wilderness on Fromme Mountain (yes, bikers are most welcome!)

Visitors come from all over the world. They are often visiting relatives here, and say that the best part of their stay is that they are close to their family but not on top of them! Andy says people have no trouble relaxing in his B&B. His advice to others? Always be positive – it will always attract people to you. Something else he’s learned in the business is to always be prepared for any eventuality!

Andrew doesn’t plan to do much relaxing of his own for a long time – his ‘retirement’ dream is to operate a traditional-style diner. In the meantime, if you want to experience some of his home cooking, you’ll have to book a night at the Lynn Valley Bed and Breakfast!


Go West Metal Art, Mark MentiplyMark Mentiply
Go West Metal Art

Tel: 604.988.2923
Email: mark@gowestmetalart.com
Website: www.gowestmetalart.com

Sculptor Mark Mentiply of Go West Metal Art welcomes visitors to his shop by appointment at 1266 Argyle Rd., where he has created distinctive artworks since 1999.

“I like that my customers are mostly local, and the style of my work complements our surroundings,” says Mark. His love of nature, particularly our coastal salmon, is apparent in Mark’s work and his community collaborations. He’s involved with the Seymour Salmonid Society, which benefits from a portion of his art sales, and donates sculptures for fundraisers to support the SPCA, Children’s Burn Unit, Pacific Salmon Foundation, Children in Burma, Whistler Animal Shelter and other such foundations.

“This business has taught me that when you pay it forward, it helps perpetuate more business,” says Mark, whose future plans include spending more time creating larger, more iconic, sculptures.

Mark’s favourite quotation is “A picture in the mind, backed by faith, will come to pass.” To visit Mark in his shop, please contact him to make an appointment.

Gilmour new to campaigning, but not to community

So what’s it like running for municipal council for the very first time? To find out, I cornered Lynn Valley’s John Gilmour in Delany’s and convinced him to take a break from pressing the flesh and handing out election brochures.

We found a corner table and he told me what his life’s been like ever since he stepped down as president of the Lynn Valley Community Association and threw his hat into the ring for North Van District council.

In some ways, this is nothing new for John – he grew up at the knee of mother Sheila Gilmour, a widely accomplished community volunteer in her own right, and John has spent many of his recent years helping usher events such as ValleyFest 2010, Lynn Valley Days, and community-planning workshops into our neighbourhood.

But North Vancouver District is a big place, and during his campaign John has learned the importance of having a team. “I have to really rely on them,” he said over ginger peppermint green tea (he’s currently abstaining from sugar and caffeine in a bid to keep his immune system strong in the lead-up to the election), “I just can’t be everywhere myself.”

Which is too bad, because John clearly enjoys meeting new people. He spends a lot of time in Delany’s North Vancouver locations, talking to people about their thoughts on civic issues, and is never happier than when he’s out knocking on doors. He’s been pleasantly surprised by the almost universally positive reception he’s received from strangers.

John thinks running for municipal office is actually quite welcoming to newcomers like him. There is no fee to run, and you need only two people to nominate you to get yourself on the ballot.

The big hurdle, of course, is unseating an incumbent. In municipal politics especially, voters often cast a ballot based solely on name recognition, despite not knowing a thing about that councillor’s views or track record. (Remember, you don’t HAVE to tick off six names on the ballot … if there are only one or two people you are familiar with and want to support, you are able to mark off their names only and leave the rest blank.)

But John does have a leg up in another area. Thanks to a random draw, his name will be at the top of the ballot, an advantage that is said to boost one’s tally by as much as five per cent.

But here at LynnValleyLife, we’re hoping citizens won’t be voting by name recognition or ballot position, but a good understanding of the candidates and their views on local issues.

Information about all-candidates’ meetings and advance polls can be found on the municipal website here: http://www.dnv.org/article.asp?c=764, and John will be holding a casual meet-and-greet at the Lynn Valley Delany’s Tuesday night (the 15th) from 7 to 8:30 p.m. You can learn more about his views on helping residents live, work, play and retire all within their North Vancouver town centres, and check out his website www.vote4John.net for more information.

Running a campaign, whether for the first time or the fourteenth, takes a big investment of time and resources. Hats off to all the candidates, especially the new kids on the block.

LV Legion invites public to Pioneer Park

A change has happened since my childhood. Back then, Remembrance Day was usually marked by parents – the fathers, usually – taking their fathers to a cenotaph to honour fallen comrades while the rest of us stayed home. But today, parents are instead bringing their children to the November 11 ceremonies.

Across the country, attendance at cenotaph events has been increasingly steadily. TV news show crowds filled with young people – not just the Scouts and air cadets who have to be there, but those who are either there of their own volition, or brought along by parents who think it’s important their kids show their support.

Here in North Van, we’ve got a range of events to choose from, from the Maritime Memorial service in Cates Park organized by the Burrard Yacht Club, to the ceremony at Victoria Park, said to be the second largest event of its kind in Canada. (We’re proud to say our own Lynn Valley Black Bear Band will be performing there for the first time this year.)

Here in Lynn Valley, we’ve started our own Remembrance Day event in the latter few years. I recently ran into a past-president of the Lynn Valley Legion selling poppies in Delany’s, and he told me about the ceremony happening tomorrow at Pioneer Park at the corner of Lynn Valley and Mountain Hwy.

The Lynn Valley cenotaph event isn’t meant to compete with what’s going on at Victoria Park, he said. But what it does do is help those who find the crowds and parking at the larger event daunting – seniors, perhaps, or families with young children. It gives them a more accessible, shorter ceremony that offers them the chance to remember in their own neighbourhood.

There will be a small colour parade, a piper, some short addresses, words from a minister, and the moment of silence. People are asked to assemble at 10:45, and after the ceremony the public is warmly invited to an open house at Lynn Valley Legion on Lynn Valley Road.

I hope to see you at Pioneer Park tomorrow – with your kids!

Councillor Hicks gives us the village vitals

In banners and newspaper ads, we Lynn Valley folk are being told to “Rediscover Village Life.” Why’s that?
Well, those of you who follow these things know that it’s been a tough go for some of the initial merchants who set up shop when Lynn Valley Village was first unveiled a few years ago. It’s risky being the first storekeepers in a new, unknown area, and the world economy was conspiring against them, too. Some of the first businesses have done well – yoga mats and stretchy pants seem to be the prime accessories for Village visitors – but others, sadly, have had to shut their doors.
So the landlords – that’s you and I, come to think of it, in the form of North Vancouver District – have stepped in with a campaign to get more people exploring what lies behind the library edifice they pass every day on the way home.
Last week I had coffee at Delany’s with Robin Hicks, district councillor and Upper Lynn Valley resident. He talked about the revitalization campaign, which is being coordinated by NVD’s economic development officer Marten Kruysse.
The district has re-allocated money from its budget to create a $100,000 fund to put a real push on the Village for about six months. We’re being offered everything from free Canadian films to special theme days to merchant events. (Here on the website, we’re doing our bit, too, by making sure those events are listed on the LynnValleyLife events calendar!)
Robin says that things are definitely improving – they’ve now leased out most of the office spaces and storefronts (they’re still looking for a tenant for the 1,400 sq. ft space that was vacated by the Community Policing Office).
A number of companies will be moving in to the third floor of the library building, including a dental products firm and a commodities broker, and another big change has been the transfer of control of the glass-walled community room from the library to the recreation commission.
Not only will that mean the public can rent that room more easily (not being restricted to library opening hours), it means we can expect some recreation programming in there in the future, and I’m curious to see what that might entail.
Bob McCormack from the Lynn Valley Community Association wandered over to join our discussion (we’ll tell you more about Bob in another post, but just know that if something’s going on in Lynn Valley, Bob knows about it).
Sure enough, he had a great scoop for us … the L.V. Community Association will be creating a forest of Christmas trees in the Village, similar to the event held at Dundarave each year.
Organizations and individuals will be invited to adopt and decorate a tree in exchange for a donation to our fine community association. Details will follow.
Robin says the district, too, has put money aside for some Christmas fun and lights at the Village, so it sounds like we have a festive season to look forward to. But do YOUR part, too – don’t wait until Christmas to “Rediscover Village Life!”