Culture Days: Glorious Mountains

From zeppelin logging to secret whiskey caches, the tales and trails of North Shore mountains come alive in a new book from locals David and Harry Crerar and Bill Maurer. Highlights from The Glorious Mountains of  Vancouver’s North Shore will be shared at the upcoming Culture Days Festival in Lynn Valley.

Ninth annual Culture Days September 28-30th

Culture Days is an opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to try something new, experience something totally different, discover creative spaces in the community and meet the artists that work there. North Vancouver Parks and Recreation have centred the events at seven different “Hubs” throughout the District and City of North Vancouver.

“North Shore Culture Days celebrates the vital role that arts and culture plays in creating vibrant and connected communities. We invite residents to participate, be inspired and have some fun.” said Heather Turner, Director, North Vancouver Recreation & Culture Commission.

We have two picks for Lynn Valley:

  1. Saturday Sept. 29; 10-11 a.m. Shaketown Walk with NVMA curator Karen Dearlove , Community History Centre, 3203 Institute Road, Lynn Valley
  2. Saturday, Sept. 29; 2-3 p.m. The Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore with author David Crerar,  Community History Centre, 3203 Institute Road, Lynn Valley

Glorious Mountains

For David Crerar the love of the mountains came early. It was puttering around the neighbourhood heading off on random trails – sometimes ending up in Deep Cove at about eight-years-old after following the Baden Powell trail after school, well that was only once, he says.

Author David Crerar with giant cedar on slopes of Zinc Mountain

“My parents appreciated the outdoors and were content to let me play around in the forest and explore,” said Crerar, still a North Shore resident and now a lawyer. “We lament we couldn’t quite give our kids the same experience – more because of cars than bears, so my way was to embrace outdoor adventures. Walking, hiking, exploring – I think they did Little Goat Mountain behind Grouse by the time they were three.”

His passion for local hills lead to the creation of a contest to encourage local trail runners to hit as many peaks as they can in a single season.

“I found there wasn’t a list,” said Crerar. So he began making one, which lead to more research and now, eight years of research later, a book is complete.

From Dreams to Pages

With friend Bill Maurer, and high-school-aged son Harry, Crerar has written The Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore – a Peakbaggers Guide that goes well beyond the typical trail guide.  

“In the marvelous 105 Hikes by Stephen Hui, it covers, I think, only 10 of the hikes,” he said. “And although it is classified as a hiking book, I almost prefer to think of it as everything you need to or wanted know about these mountains in our backyard. Even folks who aren’t hikers will find history and culture.

“There has never been a book written like this which focuses on the North Shore peaks and which tries to provide not only a comprehensive list of hiking routes but the history of the mountains not only hiking use but the long industrial history beyond the obvious forestry – did you know there is an existing zinc claim in the [Lynn] Headwaters Regional Park on the Hanes Valley trail?”

The authors also recognize the history in the mountains extends well past the European contact.

“I think we have written the most comprehensive collection of local indigenous people use of and names for not only mountains, but also creeks and islands and everything,” said Crerar. “We’ve researched the archaeological finds and there is a fair bit of information on Squamish and TsleilWaututh nations.”

There a nuggets and secrets like this peppered throughout a short conversation with Crerar. The depth of his local knowledge perhaps only trumped by his enthusiasm to get outside. Take Lynn Peak for instance, right in our own backyard.

“Did you know the park sign leading to the peak – isn’t technically the peak? It’s a viewpoint,” he said. “Most people don’t know the reason it is clear and makes a nice view point is that in the 1960s there was a zeppelin logging operation there and that was the mountaintop docking station. They would basically float this big balloon up and put a bunch of logs on it and float it down again. If you bike along the Lower Seymour Conservation trail lower down and to the east, you will find Balloon Creek and the Balloon Picnic Area – they are there for a reason. It tells a relatively unknown and wacky bit of North Shore history.”

Culture Days

First ascent of the Camel August 4, 1908

Much of the research the authors undertook was at Lynn Valley’s North Vancouver Museum and Archives and the Community History Centre, which also houses the BC Mountaineering Club archive. David Crerar will be returning Sept. 29th from 2-3 p.m. to share more secrets from his book and local highlights. Pre-registration is required: call 604 990 3700 x8016.

“I’ll be talking about waterfalls you don’t know about, First Nations history, wildlife – there are still mountain goats in our local mountains,” said Crerar. “If you hike back there you will see old mining claims, old mining stakes, old metal stoves – there is so much mining history back there and Vancouverites really have no idea. There are a bunch of plane crashes in mountains. There has been a fairly recent phenomena of whiskey caches – there are so many unique things to learn about.”

David Crerar’s book The Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore is available now and he will be speaking Sept. 29 from 2-3 p.m. at the Community History Centre 3203 Institute Road, Lynn Valley. Pre-register: 604 990 3700 x8016.

Photos courtesy of David Crerar and Rocky Mountain Books. 

For all the Cutlure Days events check out the  NVRC website at (for Lynn Valley events, click on the Lynn Valley Hub accordion on the webpage) or the national website at

Looking for more?

There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

3 pieces of homework to do this Fall to take advantage of a changing real estate market

There have been some changes and lots of chatter about the local housing market in the last few months. LynnValleyLife’s experts believe strongly that for some it may be the perfect time to make a long awaited move. While some segments of the housing market are going strong, others are measurably dropping and every indication is they will continue to do so. Combine this with the new tougher lending rules which have taken many buyers out of the market and the result is a unique opportunity to “move up” for those who have or can gain access to some funds.  There is no time like now to do your homework and see if you fit into this group.

Step 1 Explore your capacity (“Could I do it, if I wanted to?”)

“We know from our experience current statistics and trends – this is absolutely time for a certain part of the market to make a move up,” says Jim Lanctot, realtor and LynnValleyLife’s founder. “But we also know it is not worth the stress and heartburn if the new lending rules make it impossible, even though your cash flow says you can do it.”

Take a look at the last few years and assess your life changes – promotions, additional income, less debt – and how they have impacted your borrowing capacity, says Lanctot.

“The rules brought in on January 1st have changed the lending landscape and your life may have changed too,” said Lanctot. “Go in and have a chat with a mortgage broker to fully understand the new rules and get a clear picture of purchasing capacity. It’s invaluable information and the mortgage brokers do it for free.”

September is a great time to reach out to your broker or touch base with one of several experienced LynnValleyLife’s mortgage brokers such as:  Mortgage Dave,  Tim Hill or Linda Findlay.

Step 2.  Take advantage of market changes (“Do I want to do it?”)

“For those that can afford to move up from the $1.25M – $1.6M bracket to the $1.75M+ bracket this is a time to put some cash in the bank,” says Lanctot. “It looks like the next 90 days offer a unique opportunity sell while buying in the next six months could have you measurably ahead.”

The fluctuations and changes in the real estate market haven’t been affecting the different price segments equally.

“The market is healthy – to very healthy – below the $1.7M mark,” explains Lanctot. “If you have been looking to move up from below $1.7M to above $1.7M it’s the time for you.”

The typical balanced ebb and flow of a buyer’s vs. seller’s market isn’t happening in Lynn Valley right now. Above the $1.7M mark the market shifts dramatically towards a buyers market, he said.

“If sale prices are dropping at certain percentage –  for example a $2.5M home last year looks like it will be selling for less and you are selling your home for $1.6M it means you now have a smaller step up to buy,” adds Kelly Gardiner, LynnValleyLife founder and realtor.

Step 3.  Talk to Your Local Experts (“Make a plan and do it”)

“A lot has happened in 2018 – government policy has changed, mortgage rules tightened and the market has shifted,” says Lanctot. “There is no crystal ball or guarantees, but all signs are pointing to a unique opportunity for some families – and you don’t have to fly solo.”

September is a great time to harness the momentum of summer’s end  and reassess the future.

“Come in and have a cup of coffee,” says Lanctot. “There are good opportunities locally. Together, we can help you understand where you are in the market with what you currently own and create that plan to get you in the home or investment that fits your current needs and financing capabilities.”  

The LynnValleyLife office is located at 3171 Mountain Highway. Jim Lanctot and Kelly Gardiner can be reached at 778-724-0112 or at or

Looking for more?

There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Get active getting to school

The streets and local schools will soon be buzzing with small, medium and large feet.

This is a great time to think about how your children are getting to school. Studies show that students who are able to have some physical activity before class are more mentally prepared to learn, have better physical fitness and moods, and improved safety from less cars on the road.

The North Vancouver School District is encouraging students and parents to leave the car behind.

Argyle Secondary

Students come from all over North Vancouver to attend Argyle Secondary – whether for the French Immersion program, special sports academies or its unique education programs. While much of the school population does live within walking distance, there are plenty of commuters that need to make their way school.  

With construction vehicles and congestion from the school’s new build, consider SD44’s Transit/Carpool/Drive-to-Five campaign: ​If students cannot walk, cycle or roll to school, then public transit, carpooling and ‘drive-to-five’ are the next best options. These options reduce congestion around schools, which is much safer for students (and much less stressful for parents). Public transit and carpooling are also better options for environmental preservation than driving individual cars to and from school. Drive-to-five gives students an additional five minutes of physical activity twice a day, which has both physical and mental health benefits for students. Both carpooling and drive-to-five also create community connections with other families.

With Lynn Valley Centre a five minute walk away – it’s the perfect place to take a bus.

Elementary Schools

There are plenty of active ways to get to school and school district has partnered with the District of North Vancouver to publicize the safest active transportation routes to neighbourhood schools. The Transit/Carpool/Drive-to-Five campaign also can work for older elementary students and all-round will make the streets safer for all students by reducing traffic around the congested school areas.

SD44, the North Vancouver RCMP, ICBC, the City of North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver, offer these tips for planning and practicing your active routes to school:

  • PLAN & PRACTICE! Plan your walk or cycle route in advance, and then practice it and adjust as needed. HUB has also created a cycling routes map of North Vancouver.
  • LOOK! Always look left-right-left and shoulder check before crossing.
  • LOOK! Pay attention to where you are going and do not use your phone or device while walking/rolling.
  • LISTEN! Remove your headphones so you can hear approaching traffic.
  • BE SEEN! Wear reflective materials or bright clothes and use lights after dark.

VISIT! Visit the Active and Safe Routes to School website section on the North Vancouver School District website for more walking and rolling tips.

Looking for more?

There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Trail Tales

The North Vancouver District Library has launched a new program to get families outside and active all the while enjoying a good story. 

Trail Tales will take families to Princess Park Aug. 17 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. for a literary walk and the story Two Sisters by E. Pauline Johnson and illustrated by Sandra Butt. It’s a story that fit naturally into the goals of the program said Danielle Wing, a children’s librarian at NVDPL.

The Legend

“Chief Joe Capilano told the legend to E. Pauline Johnson, a Canadian poet, who retold the legend in her book Legends of Vancouver [published in 1911],” said Wing. “ Now, it has been illustrated and presented as a children’s picture book.”

The story is rooted in the mountains of the North Shore.

“Since the book is being presented outdoors, it is fitting that the story focuses on the land and landmarks that families can explore after reading the story. We acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples and this book showcases the Salish Sea and explores themes of Creation, courage and peace,” said Wing. “It also includes supplemental information that will enable readers to further immerse themselves in the rich history of Coast Salish cultures. We hope that this book will inspire families to learn more about the land we live on.”

The library was inspired to create Trail Tales after being inspired by library in Vermont and others that have started similar programs.  

“Stories come in many formats and can be presented and experienced in many ways,” said Wing. “North Shore families are active and excited to explore the outdoors already, so we wanted to provide a unique literacy opportunity that took advantage of this while celebrating the remarkable nature we have in our community.”

Presenting the story on a walk allows each family and child to experience it uniquely and coloured by the ways they learn and engage with it.

“We know that children are diverse learners and that each child will take a different approach when reading or listening to a story,” said Wing. “The wonderful thing about engaging with a story outdoors is that everyone can take their own approach: they can walk quietly and read while listening to the sounds of nature around them, or, they can leap and bound between the signs and react as noisily as they’d like!”

The library is debuting a number of new programs that engage patrons in different ways and in different places. They also have a new Brews & Books series which takes melds a pint with author discussions at a local brewery. The Trail Tales program aims to show reading isn’t necessarily a passive activity.

“We hope that families will recognize that literacy and reading can be active and fun,” said Wing. “The North Vancouver District Public Library aims to connect our community, share knowledge and inspire stories: Trail Tales will allow families to interact, share a literacy experience with one another, learn something new and inspire them to explore literacy in all of its forms.”

How it works

Library staff  have created numbered signs that will be displayed throughout the Princess Park from 10:30-11:30 a,m, August 17, starting at the parking lot. Families can either walk with a librarian who will read the story, or they can follow the signs on their own. Trail Tales will be an interactive and engaging family experience for all ages.

Additional dates and locations can be found on the library’s website.

Harvest time bear awareness

With the summer-ready fruit we love bursting with flavour, there is no doubt it will be attracting wildlife as well. In this season of harvest in Lynn Valley’s forests and yards becoming more bear aware will help you and our furry neighbours. 

Preventing backyard bears

The North Shore Black Bear Society has some tips to make your yard less attractive to bears and other wildlife.

  • Pick fruit promptly
  • Clean fallen fruit from the ground
  • Ask for help if can’t tackle the fruit yourself

“If residents are unable to pick the fruit on their property for some reason – being away at the time the fruit matures or being unable to climb a ladder, or other reasons –   the fruit can be picked by a volunteer organization called the Fruit Tree Project and donated to those in need,” said Christine Miller of the North Shore Black Bear Society. “The resident can keep up to 25 percent of the fruit that volunteers pick.”

Some of the agencies that will receive the donated fruit are the North Shore Harvest Project, North Vancouver Salvation Army and Sage Transition House.

To arrange for fruit to be picked and donated, the North Shore Fruit Tree Project can be contacted at or 604-983-6444 (ext 640).

Bear encounters

The North Shore Black Bear Society is at the forefront of human-animal interaction education. They partner with government organizations at all levels to improve our cohabitation with bears. It will also place Bear-in-Area signs, answer questions, make home visits, and canvass areas where bears are reported.

“If you see a bear in your backyard, remember that it is in your territory so do what you can to safely discourage the bear,” said Miller.

Here are some ideas:

  • Give the bear lots of space, and go inside with your pets.
  • If the bear is eating  let it finish as eating is its number one priority.
  • From a safe vantage point, shout loudly, bang pots or throw water balloons and wave your arms to let the bear know it is not welcome. Remember to accompany the unwelcoming experience with your voice.
  • When the bear has left, remove all attractants from yard. Keep in mind that it will likely return several times to check for the same source of food that it found before.
  • Let your neighbours know about the bear and tell them to remove attractants.
  • Report your sighting.

“If you see a bear up a tree, give it some space by leaving the area or going inside if you are at home,” said Miller. “A black bear will climb a tree because it is anxious and stressed. Let the bear come down in its own time. It may wait until nightfall. Do not bring extra attention to the bear by inviting friends and neighbours.”

NSBBS recommends if you see a bear leaving a tree, from inside your home shout, make loud noises or use noisemakers to reinforce that it is not welcome.

Bear and attractant sightings can be reported to the North Shore Black Bear Society at:

If you personally encounter a bear in your yard or on a trail, these are the NSBBS’s tips on how to handle the situation:  

Remember the four S’s:

  • Stay calm
  • Stand still – Do Not Run!
  • Speak calmly  
  • Slowly back away

New green and garbage carts

This is the first season full summer season all of Lynn Valley has had the new locking garbage and green carts. The NSBBS has been working with the District of North Vancouver to help establish best practices to ensure our neighbourhoods are not attractive to bears and other wildlife.

“The lockable carts are bear-resistant, not bear-proof,” said Miller. “Therefore, people who store their carts outside should not have odorous food scraps in their carts. The odours attract wildlife and can lead to property damage.”

The DNV and the NSBBS recommend that:

  • odorous food scraps (especially meat and fish scraps) be kept frozen until the morning of collection
  • other food scraps should be wrapped in newspaper to reduce odour and mess and layered with yard trimmings
  • carts should be washed out periodically to keep them clean and as odour-free as possible
  • No carts, including those containing only yard trimmings, should be placed at curbside before 5:30 a.m. on the designated collection day.

Questions about household waste storage and collection can be forwarded to District staff at 604.990.2311. Information is also available at or from the North Shore Black Bear Society.


(Most images courtesy of North Shore Black Bear Society)

Green thumbs and others needed to help local seniors

There was a curious post circulating a North Shore Facebook group: someone was searching for people who love to garden.

Calling green thumbs

“We have people who in the past have enjoyed gardening, and would still love to do it,” said Eunice Kruse, volunteer coordinator of the Lynn Valley Care Centre. “We have a rooftop garden with raised beds that the residents can use.”

But that can’t happen on their own.

The Lynn Valley Care Centre is looking for a volunteer or two who can share an hour of gardening with residents once or twice a week. The volunteer would take them up to the garden and plant seeds, help weed and visit with the senior, said Kruse.

“We would be looking for someone who loves gardening and can help one or two of our residents at a time,” said Kruse. “It means so much – it gives good mental and physical stimulation. There is also a sense of purpose of being able to do something they used to be able to do.”

The Lynn Valley Care Centre offers intermediate care, extended (complex care), palliative care, and end-of-life care. It has a combination of government subsidized beds and private pay rooms and suites.

Have a passion – share it

If gardening isn’t your thing there are many other opportunities to interact and support the residents, said Kruse. Some volunteers visit with pets, some help organize tea time, one helps seniors get to their appointments with the in-house hairdresser, while others help with arts and crafts. Volunteers also read aloud and host music afternoons and sing-alongs.


There is another project Kruse needs volunteers to get started: a social group for senior men.

“I would like to find two-three men who would meet with our elderly men,” she said. “To talk about things that are important to men.”

Research shows that social interaction is immensely beneficial to seniors – or anyone who is feeling isolated, but recent research shows men are less likely to seek out that interaction, said Kruse. She hopes to find enough interest to run the group once a week and give residents a chance to chat about past and current hobbies, interests and adventures.

The reward for volunteers is tangible.

“You see what these visits mean to the residents,” said Kruse. “In just an hour or two you can see someone come to life. It’s a two-way street you give your time and they will give back.”

How to help

To learn more about the volunteer opportunities at the Lynn Valley Care Centre please call Eunice Kruse at 604-982-3709 (she is in Mondays or please leave a message) or visit the volunteer page of its website.

Lynn Valley Live and Local concert series

The twice-weekly concert series is returning to Lynn Valley Village again this summer. Wednesday and Friday nights local artists will hit the stage for free evenings of entertainment. Mark you calendars for the special family days and dance workshops all put on by North Van Recreation. 

July dates

  • Wednesday July 4, 6-8 p.m. – Active Antics. Enjoy a musical comedy show with the Myrtle Sisters and try games and circus arts with teh Red Fox Healthy Living Society.

    Gary Comeau and the Voodoo Allstars

  • Friday, July 6, 7-9 p.m. – Deanna Knight & The Hot Club of Mars (Swing / Jive)
  • Wednesday July 11, 6-8 p.m. – Little Mountain Brass Band. Bring the whole family for an evening of British-style brass tunes and upcycling crafts with Thrifty by Design.
  • Friday July 13, 7-9 p.m. – En Karma (Bhangra)
  • Wednesday July 18, 6-8 p.m. – Sean Ashby Live! Guitarist, singer, songwriter Sean Ashby joins us for an intimate summer evening performance.
  • Friday July 20, 7-9 p.m. – Terminal Station (Blues / Rock)
  • Wednesday July 25, 6-8 p.m. – Let’s Dance! Interactive dance workshops featuring Chinese ribbon, Middle Eastern and Hip Hop dance styles.
  • Friday July 27, 7-9 p.m. – Gary Comeau and the Voodoo Allstars (New Orleans Roots and Blues)

August dates

  • Sam Spades

    Wednesday August 1, 6-8 p.m. – Family Fun Night. A shared evening of artistic and creative workshops for families to enjoy together.

  • Friday August 3, 7-9 p.m. – Sam Spades (Rockabilly)
  • Wednesday August 8, 6-8 p.m. – Village Beat. Feel the rhythm of percussion and test out a variety of instruments with the Fairfield Music zoo.
  • Friday August 10, 7-9 p.m. – R&B Conspiracy (Classic Rhythm & Blues)
  • Wednesday August 15, 6-8 p.m. – SHINE Young Artist Music Showcase. Come out and enjoy some of the North Shore’s up-and-coming talent from Creativ Music Centre, backed by a live band.
  • Friday August 17, 7-9 p.m. – Big Easy Funk Ensemble (New Orleans Funk)
  • Wednesday August 22, 6-8 p.m. – Colours of Bollywood. Join Bollywood star, Karima Essa, for a vibrant performance and dance workshop. Enjoy henna art and a community weaving project.
  • Friday August 25, 7-9 p.m. – Adam Woodall Band (Folk Rock)