Culture Days: Shaketown

Lynn Valley will be buzzing with activity for the ninth annual Culture Days September 28-30th. Events and activities will be happening throughout Canada, North Vancouver and in our very own neighbourhood.


North Shore Culture


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

Shaketown


At the turn of the last century, Lynn Valley isolated, forested and at the edge of the frontier.

“It really was in the mountains,” said North Vancouver Museum and Archives Curator Karen Dearlove. “Before bridges it was a fairly remote. Just to get up here traveling from Burrard Inlet was difficult. It was mostly skid roads for the mills.”

Ca. 1909. Hastings Creek bridge and boardwalk on Lynn Valley Road, with flume running overhead.

The heavily treed landscape was bisected by Tote Road, a rugged skid road that allowed oxen to haul felled logs down to the Moodyville waterfront, “Centre Road” (now Mountain Highway), and Pipeline Road, a plank road along which a pipeline was installed to carry drinking water from Rice Lake into North Vancouver.

Its relative remoteness and difficulty did not keep people away. The community was first called Shaketown because of the mill – on Mill Street – producing cedar shakes or perhaps it was because of the the shake-sided shacks housing the necessary workers.

“Because the workers at the mills wanted to live close by, homes were built, stores opened, clubs and churches were formed. There was an influx into the area and quite quickly it became a community,” said Dearlove.

The appeal of good jobs, land and a community drew a diverse group of workers from early Chinese and Japanese workers, to industrialists from Vancouver and a number of families from Finland, plus many others, she said.

“Many were like Walter Draycott – they had a sense of adventure,” she said.


Shaketown Walk


Ca. 1910. Depicting the new streetcar line at Lynn Valley Road and Ross Road. The Lynn Valley general store is at the right.

The September 29th Shaketown walk will take participants on an hour-long stroll through Lynn Valley, centring on the intersection of Lynn Valley Road and Mountain. Dearlove will present historical images alongside today’s environment to explore juxtaposition of then and now.

“We have some really great historical photos that show how buildings have changed or moved,” she said.   

The guided walk should be easy for most abilities. It begins at the Community History Centre, 3203 Institute Road, Saturday,  Sept. 29, 10-11 a.m. Participants must pre-register by calling 604 990 3700 x8016.

For all the Cutlure Days events check out the  NVRC website at https://www.nvrc.ca/arts-culture/culture-days (for Lynn Valley events, click on the Lynn Valley Hub accordion on the webpage) or the national website at https://culturedays.ca/en.

All images courtesy of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives.

To learn more about Lynn Valley’s history check out this page.


Historic images


ca. 1950s. Panoramic image along Lynn Valley Road, across from Mountain Hwy. Buildings depicted from left to right: the Brier Block; the Triangle block; the Fromme block. Lynn Valley United Church can be seen behind the Fromme block. This image was taken after the streetcar lines had been removed.

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 https://www.nvrc.ca/arts-culture/culture-days (for Lynn Valley events, click on the Lynn Valley Hub accordion on the webpage) or the national website at https://culturedays.ca/en.


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.

More than 100 years of Lynn Valley Days

Lynn Valley is a neighbourhood rich with history; the tales of our long-age neighbours are interwoven through our very forests, steams and streets. For a primer on our past, visit the LynnValleyLife History page … or, even better, pop into the Community History Centre, located in the former Lynn Valley elementary school heritage building at 3203 Institute Rd. 

This is a great post from our archives by Bob Rasmus.


Lynn Valley Days gone by


In 1912 the residents of Lynn Valley worked hard. There were trees to fall, buck up and transport to the mills. And once they reached the mills, there was still a lot of hard work remaining in order to turn the raw logs into lumber for transport to market or to build local houses.

By today’s standards, every task that was carried out was accomplished through hard physical labour. It only made sense that a few community-minded individuals took it upon themselves to create an event that gave the local residents an opportunity to play.

The first Lynn Valley Day was held 100 years ago, in September 1912. Featured events include Pin the Tail on the Donkey, a Tug-of-War, a ‘Fat Men’s’ race and a Men’s Handicap Competition for Merchants Trust and Trading Co. Cup. For a look at the actual 1912 program of events, click here!

Lynn Valley Day 1915

Lynn Valley Day 1915

Also included in the day’s activities was the official opening of Lynn Canyon Park by Reeve William May, with assistance from the Mayor and Council. (For a story about the park’s early history, click here.) Following the opening of the park was the inaugural opening of the Suspension Bridge. Later in the evening, there was a dance that was led off by the Reeve and distinguished guests. The president of the organizing committee was John M. Duval, and the Vice-President was J.M. Fromme.

Lynn Valley Day continued to be celebrated over the following decades. (For a newspaper account of the 1946 community fair, click here.) By 1949 the event had moved to June 25th and had grown in importance with the advent of hundreds of new residents. From 9 a.m. until midnight there were activities for young and old alike.

Track and Field events for all ages got underway at 9 a.m. with one of the features being a community tug-of-war, in which winners were awarded with a special trophy. The afternoon featured the crowning of May Queen Norma Damgaard, in addition to folk dancing, Maypole dancing, a children’s fancy dress parade, a band concert by the North Vancouver School’s Band, boxing matches and whist drives and concert.

These were all topped off with the annual Lynn Valley Day Dance. Officials in 1949 included M.E. Sowden, James Sinclair, Johnny Cates and MLA W.M. Draycott – the latter, of course, still well-known to us as the community builder who is commemorated with a bronze statue sitting on a bench in Pioneer Park.

In 1962, the 50th Anniversary was a special event held on Saturday, June 2. The day began with field sports, including races, jumping competitions for children of all ages, some pole vaulting and some discus throwing for older children.

The afternoon was reserved for adult races which culminated in a “married couple’s pie-eating contest” with a $2.00 prize. While the afternoon races were going on, there was also a full slate of concessions to take part in and a parade to watch, as well as the coronation ceremonies for the Lynn Valley Day Queen of the year.

The evening began with a ladies softball game at 6 p.m., followed by a square dance at 7:30 and a dance at the community hall at 9:00. It was a full day of activities – just check out this schedule of events!


Historical photographs


Lynn Valley Day historical images courtesy of North Vancouver Museum and Archives.


Lynn Valley Day 2018


More than 100 years later, this annual community event is still very much alive and entertains up to 10,000 people. In latter years, it has grew to the point that now both the Lynn Valley Lions Club and the Lynn Valley Community Association were required to manage it.

This year’s event kicks off with a gala dinner and dance under a huge tent on Friday night. Saturday morning begins the community parade.  There will be the fantastic Lions’ Cook Shack, balloon artists, face painters, music, along with rides, public displays and a collector car show, will be entertaining crowds all day long.

The residents of Lynn Valley still work hard, and deserve a chance to relax and enjoy time with their family and friends. Lynn Valley Days still provides that opportunity.

Remembering 25 years ago: Lynn Valley Little League at the World Series

In 1993 a team of 14 boys from Lynn Valley – just ages 12 and 13 – made their way to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to represent Canada at the Little League World Championship.


A milestone 25 years later


This is was a first for a North Shore team and has not been matched since. It was also a first in Little League history because it was first team helmed by a woman to qualify – a moment so important Coach Kathy Barnard’s Canada hat hangs in the Little League Museum.

The run has been documented in an engaging post by North Vancouver’s Len Corben to celebrate the 20th anniversary. Today, for the 25th anniversary we caught up with player Scott Carlson.

“It was a once in a lifetime sort of thing,” said Carlson, now a investment advisor. “We were playing in Lynn Valley and then provincials and then a couple of weeks later grown men were asking for our 12-year-olds’ autographs in Williamsport. I didn’t even know there was a world series until after nationals.”

The 1993 Lynn Valley Little League all-star team at the Little League World Series. Scott Carlson is back row, second from left.


Local and international history


It was a whirlwind summer for those selected as 11/12 all-stars. They had to win regionals, provincials, turn 12 and 13, head out to Nova Scotia for nationals and after a hard-fought victory head down to Pennsylvania – just three days later – for the World Series.

“Personally I found the Canadian championships more stressful – we were playing to be the best in our country,” said Carlson. “The world series was extremely fun – and extremely competitive. But we got to spend a lot time with the other teams. There was lots of fun to be had. It wasn’t just ballpark – hotel – ballpark.”

The team from LV received special attention from media upon their arrival. Coach Barnard’s glass ceiling-breaking achievement created quite a buzz around the tournament.

“She was the coach of [my regular-season team] the Pirates and her son Spencer was my best friend. They lived three doors up from me,” said Carlson. “She was always there – a great coach.”


Memory of a lifetime


Scott Carlson

Barnard’s milestone, along with the entire team’s journey wasn’t something that hit home until later years later.

“I don’t think I realized how big it was until I was in my 20s when ESPN and TSN started showing all the [Little League World Series] games on TV,” said Carlson.

Now a North Shore dad in his own right, Carlson looks a back – a bit astonished that it has been 25 years.

“It doesn’t feel like yesterday, but it is the most vivid memories I have. It is really hard to reach that level of play – the world championship. It was such a unique experience,” he said. “It is great to sit back and think about it – and to dream of being on of the boys of summer again – just playing baseball.”

North Van Museum wants YOU!

As you are probably already aware, the historic Lynn Valley Elementary School building was preserved and transformed into the North Vancouver Community History Centre, part of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives. The Community History Centre currently has a Canada 150 display, and its second-floor archives are open to the public from Thursday through Saturday (other times by appointment); it’s well worth a visit to look through our community’s collective “photo albums.”  

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North Vancouver Archives offer great gifts for Christmas

The North Vancouver Archives are not the first place you would think to go to find a special present for a special person at Christmas. The kind of present you wouldn’t find for sale anywhere else, for that person who has everything. In fact, most people don’t even know where the Archives are located, or even what the staff does there.

Head north of the intersection of Mountain Highway and Lynn Valley Road (that’s along Lynn Valley Road toward the mountains, for those of us who are directionally challenged!) A block later, turn left at Institute Road. The Community History Centre is found immediately to your left at 3203 Institute Road in the old stone Lynn Valley Elementary School. The ground floor holds offices for the North Vancouver Museum and Archives; the museum itself is currently located at Presentation House at 209 West 4th  and will soon  move into a purpose-built new space near the waterfront. The North Vancouver Archives are on the top floor of the Community History Centre.

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