A Christmas wish list for our community


If you’re like many of us heading towards, or comfortably settled into, middle age, Christmas has ceased being a time at which we wonder anxiously what Santa will bring us. When it comes to more ‘stuff,’ most of us need nothing.

Instead one’s thoughts turn toward others; hampers of gifts and food are prepared for those who truly do need them, cash is donated to the Salvation Army or other charitable cause, and invitations are sent to ensure no one spends the holiday on their own.

Lynn Valley is full of people who obviously care about their community, as evidenced by the hours spent volunteering for fundraising or planning projects, on children’s sports teams, the community association or the Lions. If those people could ask Santa for something for their neighbourhood, we wondered, what would it be?

So we asked some local citizens just what they’d put on their Lynn Valley wish list for 2012 and beyond.

Our first, most fervent response came within minutes, from Sue McMordie, office manager of the Black Bear Neighbourhood Pub, and was clearly heartfelt:

“More park benches all over the Valley for seniors and sisters to sit and have a rest, lunch, chat or coffee on a nice Lynn Valley day. And a mailbox in the LV Library Square, please!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Then we heard from Barb McLean from the Arts Office, which is located in the heart of Lynn Valley Village and promotes arts and culture on behalf of the City and District of North Vancouver:

“The Arts Office envisions a new year filled with creative energy, ideas and community input as they embark on the development of a new Cultural Plan that will seek to invigorate North Shore arts and cultural activities for years to come.”

Another person thinking about community planning is John Gilmour, past-president of the Lynn Valley Community Association:

“I’d like to see a mixed-use lifestyle community developed right in the heart of Lynn Valley on the 11-acre Lynn Valley Centre mall site.  It would include residential, commercial and lots of community space for all to enjoy.”

No list would be complete without input from Bob McCormack, a man born and raised in Lynn Valley and whose family has done volunteer work here since 1920. Bob is actively involved in everything from the LV Lions to the Community Association to the Seniors’ Association, and much more besides. He writes:

“My wishes are to build a community that will provide the opportunity for persons to live out their lives in a dignified manner; that will be a place for all ages, and a place that allows a person to live out his or her life within the community regardless of wealth or health.
“I hope we can provide a forum for debate on what does make and will further allow Lynn Valley to become that community where everyone has the amenities to live their lives to the fullest.
“I hope we can provide a simple way of life that we can all agree on, and that we make sure our politicians are aware and are duty-bound to provide the leadership that will give those who choose to live in Lynn Valley the feeling of security in the future.
“I wish that we can all live out our dreams in a perfect world and to dare to dream to make it happen.”

Bob is one of those people who rolls up his sleeves and makes things happen, and we hope he gets lots of help to make all his wishes come true. Jay Knutson, another Lynn Valley native, is another person who enriches the neighbourhood with his labours. Jay is a founder and director of the North Shore Celtic Ensemble and is often picking up his guitar for a good cause, most recently the Lynn Valley Christmas Crawl that saw $600 raised for North Shore Harvest. Here’s what Jay has on his wish list:

‘With this new year of 2012 in front of us and the whirlwind of global activity that was 2011 in a tsunaminous wake, it may be a good time to take stock of what we’ve got here.
“The world has come together in the aftermath of some of the biggest natural disasters of our lifetime. The outpouring of relief (both financial and humanitarian) has been unparalleled. This all bodes well for our “human condition.”  Is it possible that multinational, self-serving initiatives are being displaced by public displays of sympathy, generosity and compassion? One can only hope.
“The combining of this spirit, the re-unification of soul, and the exchange of life’s energy results in the rebirth and emergence of a whole new spirit, an altruistic spirit of revolution.
“This revolution starts in our hearts and in our minds. It is one of accountability, responsibility and environmental sustainability.
“A revolution with no hidden agendas and no ulterior motives; a free, equitable and just transformation of society, based on Love, Truth, Compassion and Peace.
“It starts here in our own community.”

We couldn’t agree more – it starts in our own community, and each of us plays a part. So whatever yearnings you have for our neighbourhood, we at LynnValleyLife wish for you the imagination to dream big, the clarity needed to translate dreams into actions, and the strength to persevere until all those dreams come true.

LVL thanks conscientious carriers

It takes a village to raise a child, they say, and we’ve found the very same philosophy applies to a new business.

So we wanted to thank some of the young people in our village who have helped us spread the word about the launch of LynnValleyLife, our community website and real estate partnership.


North Shore News Winners

Left to Right: Jim Lanctot, Conner & Dalan Cruickshank, Kelly Gardiner, Jason Pascoe.

We asked the Lynn Valley North Shore News carriers to distribute the two Sunday door-hangers that were delivered to your home last month. The notices announced that local residents could receive a coupon – one at Delany’s, or one at Lynn Valley Meats – for signing up for our free LynnValleyLife Network.

Hanging our notices on each and every doorknob in town definitely took some extra effort by the carriers, and we wanted to thank those kids who took the time to do a good job.

So the North Shore News distribution department performed a telephone survey to find out which routes had had their door hangers delivered properly, and entered those carriers in a random draw for prizes supplied by LynnValleyLife.

We were delighted to give the awards (giftcards to Lynn Valley’s Browns Social House and Romance Jewellers) to brothers Conner and Dalan Cruickshank – who share the Laura Lynn townhouse route – and Jason Pascoe, whose beat includes 80-odd homes on Dempsey, Hoskins, Evelyn and Underwood.

We complimented all the boys on going the extra mile to make sure the notices were hung on the doors as requested – not stuffed in the paper, or left on the step – but they shrugged off the praise. “Just part of the job” was the common refrain.

But jobs can be done well, or they can be done poorly, and we were proud of these guys for choosing to do theirs well. And grateful – because a community website isn’t much use unless the community knows about it!

We’ll be counting on carriers like Jason, Dalan and Conner to deliver a third coupon that’s coming to your door in late January. Thanks to the first two doorhanger campaigns, we were able to meet with hundreds of new LynnValleyLife Network members when Kelly and Jim dropped off their coupons.

If you missed out on the chance to get your coupon, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help you out if quantities allow. And if you know a person, young or old, who would bring the same high standards to a newspaper route, the North Shore News invites you to fill out this application!


After-school art starts again in January

After-school art programs are once again coming to Lynn Valley schools in the new year! Have a look-see at this schedule and you’ll find everything from watercolours to digital storytelling. Then in January watch for our story about the new Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian art, and how some Lynn Valley neighbours are involved in this exciting Artists For Kids venture!

Girls offered free yoga

Who wants to get stretchy?

Christina Kinch, the new youth ministry leader at Lynn Valley United, is also a certified Hatha yoga teacher. She’s leading free, drop-in yoga classes for girls in Grades 5 through 12 on Tuesdays from 5 to 6:15pm. Last one before the Christmas break is Tuesday the 13th, so why not pass along this info to a girl in your life and give them a stress-busting tool to help them manage the holiday frenzy? Classes will resume week of Jan. 9. Info: christina.lvuc@gmail.com.

P.S. Adult classes are also offered, until Dec. 19th and then starting again after the holidays! Christina says:

Relax, breathe and connect to your body.  Join together to experience embodied spiritual practice.  Learn to honor your body, no matter how stiff, flexible, weak or strong you feel it is.  No experience necessary.  Please wear comfortable clothing and bring a mat if you have one. Classes by donation.
Mondays: 11:00am-12:15pm
Thursdays: 6:00pm-7:15pm

Buskers add a new element to village life


We’ve been treated to all sorts of musical offerings in our village square, from the summertime concert series to occasional performances by community groups such as the Lynn Valley Black Bear Band and the North Shore Celtic Ensemble.

Now even more lovely, lilting, lyrical life is coming our way with the addition of the Lynn Valley Busking Program, which gives performers the opportunity to put out their hat in exchange for gifting us with their unique talent – whatever that may be.

Barb McLean of the North Vancouver Arts Office (located on the third floor of the Library Building) says that it’s not just musicians who can apply for the permit. If you’re a juggler, a dancer, an actor or a fire-eater, you’re also eligible (though we might need to check with the Lynn Valley fire department about that last one).

While applying for a permit sounds very bureaucracy-bound, I can testify to the fact that people such as Barb, John and Ian at the Arts Office are truly a great resource for local artists and do everything they can to make things easy and do-able. The permits are free, and auditions aren’t required.

Right now, the Arts Office reports that students from Ross Road Elementary are ‘busking up a storm’ to help pay for an upcoming school trip to Quebec.

For more information and the permit application, visit the Arts Office site. For tap-dancing lessons, click here!


Christmas Crawl happens on Dec. 18!

Members of The North Shore Celtic Ensemble and guest musicians will perform in 3 different locations on the afternoon of Sunday Dec. 18th.
The group will be raising money for North Shore Harvest, so it is hoped that the audience will enjoy the toe-tapping tunes and donate accordingly.
The Christmas Crawl will start at “The End Of The Line”  General Store at 2 p.m., then move to The Lynn Valley Legion at 3:30, then finish at Waves Coffee House, Lynn Valley at 4:40.

Moms get a boost from Spectrum founder


Here at LynnValleyLife, we are grateful to the North Shore News for running our editor’s story about the amazing mission of Lynn Valley resident Sally Livingstone.

When you meet someone like Sally, you tend to want to do everything you can to spread the word about the work done by Spectrum, a charity she founded to match up struggling moms with caregivers and volunteer mentors.

As you can see in the story, the support the moms receive (whether it is a ride to a doctor’s appointment, a listening ear, or hands-on childcare help) has in many cases made the difference between the mom being able to successfully care for her child herself, or having to surrender her infant to foster care. In fact, two of Spectrum’s former clients are now mentors themselves!

Sally may already be familiar to some of you as she was the founding manager of the Lynn Valley Medical Clinic and worked there for ten years before becoming a full-time instructor at Capilano University.

Donations of time, money, and hampers at Christmas are always needed to help further Spectrum’s fine work amongst mothers who have few other resources. For more information, visit Spectrum Mothers Support Society.


Local author to speak Dec. 14

We’re delighted to hear that Lynn Valley author Andrea Winterbottom will be speaking Wednesday night at North Vancouver CITY Library (that’s the one at 14th and Lonsdale) at 7 p.m. Andrea will be there with Ed Griffin; together they have led inmate writing groups at Matsqui prison. Learn more about Andrea’s experience, and the anthology she and Ed published with the members of the inmates’ writing group! No registration req’d.

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!