Take a “Jane’s Walk” and hear Lynn Valley history

Jane’s Walks are coming to Lynn Valley,  just in time to celebrate the 100th birthday of the person after whom they were named.

Writer and activist Jane Jacobs had a significant influence on urban planning in the 1960s, when she introduced concepts such as “social capital” in designing communities that better served the overall needs of their residents.

LV Rd by Ross Rd c 1920s NVMA

Lynn Valley Road by Ross Road, circa 1920s. Courtesy of NV Museum & Archives.

Today, Jane’s Walks are free, citizen-led walking tours, in which people get together to explore, talk about, and celebrate their neighbourhoods. On Saturday, May 7, North Vancouver Museum and Archives Curator Karen Dearlove will lead a tour of Lynn Valley, which will be illustrated by historical facts, anecdotes, and historical images, many pertaining to the neighbourhood’s history as a logging and shingle-building community.

The tour will begin at the Community History Centre located in the former Lynn Valley school building at 3203 Institute Road. The tour will begin at 10:30 a.m. and last approximately one hour.


Gardening season is here, and LV plant sale, too!

With the recent (on and off!) spate of sunny weather, Lynn Valley green thumbs are itchy to get out into their gardens.

gardenIt’s too early to get annuals out, but we have a great list of gardening tasks that can (and should!) be tackled right now, thanks to our friends at Endless Summer Landscaping. Have a look, then roll up your sleeves!

With  flowering spring bulbs cheering the gardens and roadways, inspiration is everywhere you look – and who doesn’t love cherry blossom season? You can learn more about our many local cultivars and where to see them, and the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, by reading this super article by Michael McCarthy over at our sister site, LonsdaleLife.

After your garden is in shape for the spring and summer, you can reward yourself with a trip to a local plant sale. The Lynn Valley Garden Club annual plant sale is always a popular pick, and takes place this year on Saturday May 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Clement’s Church, 3400 Institute Road, on the east side of Lynn Valley Park.

You will be able to choose plants for sun, shade, and container gardening, as well as herbs and veggies. Plants are grown by members in their own gardens, so are proven to be “tried and true” for the North Shore! Proceeds go to local community and charitable gardening projects. The club will only be equipped for cash-only sales, so please arrive prepared! For more information, email lvgcplantsale@gmail.com or visit the club website. (And p.s. – did you know the Lynn Valley Garden Club has been part of our community since 1943? In fact it’s been such a popular group that at times there is a waiting list for membership!)

We hope Mother Nature cooperates with local gardeners this year! If your hard work pays off and you would like to share some photos of your garden, please send them our way! We’d love to use them on our site or put them out on our Facebook page!




Hot-weather tips for local lawns

New “Phase Two” water restrictions were announced today, so this article on hot-weather lawn care is just in time! Check out the water sprinkling rules here – and take note of the following advice from Matt and Rob Boyd of Endless Summer landscapers (you can find more of their articles for LynnValleyLife by clicking on the link!)

If spring lawn care is about getting your lawn healthy and green, summer lawn care is about KEEPING it healthy while temperatures soar and rainfall becomes a fleeting memory. It’s also about maintaining a lawn that can withstand all the barbecues, games, parties, and running feet that summer has to offer. Here are some tips for keeping your lawn in shape over those long, hot days of summer.


Divide your perennials to keep them perky

Spring is well upon us, so it’s time to tune into the local experts for some garden tips.  Here is some advice on keeping your perennials looking perfect, from Matt and Rob Boyd of Endless Summer landscapers.

Many perennial plants grow in an ever-widening clump. After several seasons of growing, these perennials will begin to die out in the center and look more like a ring than a clump.


Celtic spiritual practices introduced at workshops

Lynn Valley is home to nearly a dozen churches and congregations of various types. But in this age that is often described as “spiritual but not religious,” church leaders are increasingly being found outside their buildings, helping people of all backgrounds find the sacred in everyday life.

Lynne McNaughton is the priest at St. Clement’s Anglican Church on Institute Road, and an avid learner and teacher of Celtic spirituality. Lynne, who has a doctorate in spirituality and has led  pilgrimages to several ancient Celtic sites in Europe, is looking forward to introducing interested locals to the tradition of Celtic practices that serve to inject an appreciation of  nature and holiness into the everyday tasks of living.

Everyone is welcome to participate in the hands-on workshops, which will take place at Mollie Nye House, 840 Lynn Valley Road, over a series of Monday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. Topics to be explored include:

Celtic knot.jpgApril 20: Smooring the Fire: Mindfulness in ordinary everyday physical activity

May 11: Illumination: Beauty as spiritual practice

May 25: Celtic Knots as Spiritual Practice: Interweaving life and the sacred

June 8: Holiness of Rocks and Trees, Skies and Seas: Cultivating awe as a spiritual practice (This session will begin with a Celtic dinner at 6 p.m.)

Cost is $10 for each of the first three sessions, $20 for the June dinner session, or $50 for  the whole series. Register by calling 604-988-4418 (St Clement’s Church, where messages are checked frequently) or email at admin@stclementschurch.ca. Please inquire about babysitting should that be helpful.

LynnValleyLife recently caught up with Lynne to ask her some more questions about the workshops and her thoughts about Celtic spirituality in general. We’ve shared her answers, below:

What is it about Celtic spirituality that intrigues you? What do you think it has to offer people in the church and in the wider community?

Celtic spirituality has intrigued me for decades, as I have led pilgrimages to ancient Celtic sites in several countries.  Although I am fifth or more generations Canadian, I have Irish, Welsh and Scottish heritage (as you might guess from my last name!)   I see Celtic life as part of my own roots, my aboriginal heritage.    My study of Celtic spirituality deepens my understanding of myself, who am I, how do I relate, and what matters in life.

Lynne McNaughton

I see Celtic spirituality as embodied, that is, having to do with our physical bodies.  Spirit and body are connected, and I think this is something we are reclaiming today; that spirituality is not some separate ethereal thing, but our whole beings.

Celtic spirituality is also very communal.  Our hope with this whole series is to have conversation in our neighbourhood that work against the isolation in our society, or a sense that our spiritual lives are only private and solitary.

What parallels might you suggest between the Celtic culture and ours on the Pacific coast?

I think that we are aware, as we live in the immense beauty of nature around us and at this moment are recoiling in horror at an oil spill, that we all need to reclaim a spirituality of deep connection to Earth;  Celtic spirituality gives us some roots in that, some ways of tending to that.

One of the sessions will be about beauty and spirituality.   Celtic spirituality honours and builds our imaginations.

When I have taught Celtic spirituality in Indigenous communities in Canada, we have talked about how Christianity arrived in Ireland in the fourth century with a much more respectful (less colonial and imperial) stance than it did in our country.

Christianity was strongly influenced by Celtic culture when it blended in to Ireland’s rural life, a life that was far more connected to the earth than early continental and urban Christianity.     Earth and everyday life are, after all,  infused with the sacred.   I am fine if people call me pagan;  it simply means “people of the Earth”  – and aren’t we all!

What will people learn/experience in the workshops? 

These aren’t lectures! I will give an introduction to a spiritual practice, some background and context, but this will be experiential learning.  There will be practice, action, and discussion about how we might adapt these insights from the Celts into our real everyday lives. Be prepared to be playful!

Any hints about what a Celtic dinner might entail? 

We are creating the closing dinner from foods that were traditional and considered sacred to the Celts.  The food will be local, as much as possible – we’re not importing anything.  Is that enough of a hint?  Think apples, for instance!

Are you planning other community workshops in the future?

Yes, we plan to have offer other themes to engage people in developing a healthy spiritual practice. One example is embodied prayer – I know I pray best when I am moving!

Streamkeepers report boom in Hastings Creek smolt

IMG_4918While many Lynn Valley residents may have been coming home to a welcome dinner or stretching out in front of the TV Friday night, a handful of enthusiastic citizens were on the banks of Hastings Creek carefully placing a number of bucket-shaped, black mesh traps. And the next morning, they donned their gum boots again to see what had transpired while they slept.

They were volunteers from the North Shore Streamkeepers, surveying the numbers of year-old smolt in the creek to survey whether the fish population was healthy. What they found swimming in the traps put smiles on everyone’s faces.

As the fish were carefully released out of the traps and into a bucket for measuring and counting, Jan Lander tallied the numbers. The result? The best smolt trapping since 2006, with 27 coho smolts being counted, a large increase over the five or so that have been typical in the past few years. These are a sampling of the fish that were born in the Hunter Park area of Hastings Creek last year and have survived since then. Four crayfish and 12 cutthroat trout – many measuring 16 or 17 cm – were also amongst the fish counted and released.

IMG_4926The relationship between human society and waterways has not always been a respectful one. In  earlier decades, the enthusiastic growth of industry, building booms and road construction commonly resulted in polluted streams, blocked spawning routes, and diminished fish populations. Even home gardeners had a negative impact, by introducing invasive plant species such as ivy, lamium, and periwinkle to stream-side environments.

Thanks, however, to greater awareness, tighter bylaws, and good working partnerships the health of urban streams has improved in many areas. Leading the charge in Lynn Valley have been an active group of North Shore Streamkeepers who safeguard and enhance the ability of local creeks to support healthy fish stocks.

People of all ages converge on the streams throughout the year to tackle a variety of tasks, from culling invasive plants, installing and maintaining fish ladders, testing water quality,  restoring habitat and performing surveys. One volunteer even takes it upon himself to find out about new construction projects taking place near creeks; he then visits each site to ensure waterway protection rules are being followed and that filters have been placed in the storm drains. He returns to the site again once construction is complete to ensure the filters have been appropriately removed.

The North Shore Streamkeepers were established in 1993, and is a member of the Pacific Streamkeepers Federation. The Streamkeepers are a program of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which provides a multi-module training manual for those volunteers who wish to learn everything from performing a habitat survey to sampling water quality to trapping and identifying fish.

Mayor to take part April 25

The Streamkeepers’ work has been recognized in a number of ways – Morten Creek was named for longtime volunteer Zo Ann Morten, and Mayor Richard Walton will be at Hunter Park at Donovan’s Pond on Saturday, April 25 at 11 a.m. to dedicate a new fish ladder installed by North Vancouver District in response to lobbying from the Streamkeepers.

What they’d really like, however, is for more volunteers to swell their ranks and learn for themselves the satisfaction of keeping our waterways healthy. To learn more, visit the North Shore Streamkeepers website or email zoann@pskf.ca.


Free wellness activities kick off the year!

From the North Vancouver District Library press office:

This January, North Vancouver Recreation and Culture and North Vancouver District Public Library invite you to celebrate your health and wellness with a series of workshops and programs designed to get you active and living healthfully. [Ed. note: FYI, sign up for an annual or three-month rec centre pass between January 2 and 31, and you’ll receive a free personalized 45-minute coaching session!]

All activities are free, and no registration is required.

Yoga with Martine Fox
Wednesday, January 7, 10:45 a.m.–11:45 a.m.
Community Room, Lynn Valley Village, 1277 Lynn Valley Rd., North Vancouver

About Martine Fox
Martine Fox has been passionately teaching yoga since 2008. Creating a self-accepting and nurturing space allows her students to find their personal authenticity within the practice.

Walking the Trails with Barb Pichler
Tuesday, January 13, 10 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Tuesday, January 20, 1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
Walks meet at the End of the Line Café in Lynn Valley.

About Barb Pichler
For over 23 years Barb has led trail trekkers in exploring the magnificent trails of the North Shore.

How to Start a Garden with Emily Jubenvill
Thursday, January 15, 1 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Community Room, Lynn Valley Village, 1277 Lynn Valley Rd., North Vancouver

About Emily Jubenvill
Emily guides the efforts of the North Shore Neighbourhood House’s Edible Garden Project (EGP) staff and fundraises and nurtures the partnership that keeps the EGP well-watered and growing. She comes to this role after four years as the EGP’s Community Coordinator and many years of teaching and growing vegetables gardens.

Stretch Class with Penny Stratas
Sunday, January 18, 4 p.m. –5 p.m.
Community Room, Lynn Valley Village

About Penny Stratas
Penny worked as a fitness instructor in Ottawa for many years, and, since coming to British Columbia, on the beautiful North Shore. Penny teaches Body Sculpt, Step, Strength and Stretch classes and is a Weight Training Specialist and Personal Trainer. She is also the owner of a corporate fitness and wellness company, Preventacare Health Services Inc.

Film Night: Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story
Wednesday, January 21, 7 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
Lynn Valley Library

“It doesn’t require a complete revolution in the way we treat food. It’s just tweaking it slightly and usually in delicious ways.”

Nutrition Workshop with Tracy Wakaluk
Friday, January 23rd 3:15 p.m. –4:15 p.m.
Community Room, Lynn Valley Village

About Tracy Wakaluk
Tracy is the Fitness Centre Supervisor at John Braithwaite Community Centre.  She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and is passionate about living and eating healthy.  She has done nutrition workshops for a variety of groups, including USA Hockey.

Tai Chi with Brad Wyatt
Tuesday January 27, 1 p.m.–2 p.m.
Community Room, Lynn Valley Village

About Brad Wyatt
Brad Wyatt has been teaching Tai Chi Chuan and Qi Gong healing exercises for the North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission, the District of West Vancouver, and many local Seniors and Care Centres since 1987.


Argyle principal thanks community for flood support

In the wake of Monday night/Tuesday morning’s flash flooding that closed Argyle Secondary, required the evacuation of at least 17 Lynn Valley homes, and has left some in our neighbourhood temporarily homeless, school principal Liz Bell sent out this Tuesday late afternoon update. It is reprinted here with her permission:

Hello Argyle Community,

I thought I would take a moment to bring you all up to date on the current condition of our school.  As you know, the banks of Hastings and Fromme Creek could not withstand the tremendous amount of rain last night and resulted in flooding.  I am certainly aware of the damage and devastation for some families in the area and I wish them all the best as they dry out.


Dog only hero in Lynn Valley forest saga

This “lost-in-the-woods” story has become my mother’s favourite, and she pushes me to tell it to people at parties ALL THE TIME. If I demur (having told it a zillion times already), she just launches in and tells it herself. But she gets all the details wrong, which bugs me, so of course I end up telling it all over again. So, in honour of my mother, Chris, (who is glad I made it home), and as a cautionary tale to others who might be going for  a wander, here is my story…


It was high summer (not autumn, Mom), and my neighbour’s brother, David, had just knocked on the door to return a borrowed cooking pot. He was just on his way up the street to take a walk in the woods off the top of Hoskins, as he wanted to see if he could locate an unauthorized biking trail he’d heard about (this being a number of years ago, when mountain biking was at the ‘wild west’ stage in its development).

Suddenly joining him seemed like a brilliant idea. Not because I was interested in illicit trails, but because my dogs were long, LONG overdue for an outing and the thought of company made putting down my book a bit more palatable (Please note that I am not famously athletic in my leanings.)


Exhibit A: Footwear

Not wanting to keep David waiting, I quickly leashed the dogs, shouted up to my boys that I was heading into to the woods with David, and was out the door in 15 seconds. Of course I didn’t change my footwear, because my comfortable slip-ons were perfectly fine for the half-hour walk I envisioned ahead of us.

We accessed the Baden Powell trail from the the top of Hoskins Road, David, the dogs and I chugging steadily up through the familiar woods. Shortly before reaching the old Mountain Highway, though, David plunged off the well-worn track and headed north in search of the reported biking trail. (Please note that throughout this tale I use “north” to mean “up” the mountain,  which does not necessarily mean I am actually travelling north. Or it might; I wouldn’t know. “South” means “down.” My admittedly underdeveloped sense of geographic awareness may explain some of what follows.)

I followed David 40 or 50 feet into the woods, where he was examining a trail that snaked up further “north.” Excellent, I thought. We found it. Time to go home.

David, however, was determined to trace its upward path, and investigate what planks, jumps or teeter totters might have been erected along the way to tempt bikers into risking their necks. I was not at all enthusiastic (see previous note regarding lack of athletic leanings), but thought that as I had invited myself along on HIS adventure, it was only fair that I play along.

This selfless philosophy did not last long. After only a few minutes of hauling myself over logs, untangling leashes from branches, and retrieving my slip-OFF shoes from under ferns, I was beyond noble sentiment. Some whining about going home may have taken place (my memory is not clear on this point). David’s enthusiasm, however, remained undimmed.

I could have turned back. I could have been sensible; remembered my footwear, my domestic responsibilities, and the fact that I had little patience for these kind of tramps through the forest. But the meek little acquiescent part of me that “goes along” so as not to be a nuisance held sway. (Note to my husband, should he be reading this: Yes, I DO have a part like that, it is often just deeply hidden.)

Caution: Actual mountain not as it appears in diagram

Caution: Actual mountain not as it appears in diagram

I grumbled a little, but carried on, travelling “north.” When I turned around again a few minutes later, all familiar landmarks had long disappeared.  Mountains, which in my head are all structured like a child’s line drawing with two straight, 45-degree angles meeting at a right-angled summit, are not nearly that simple when you’re standing on the side of them as opposed to looking at them in the distance from your living room window.

That hillside that looks smooth from afar contains trenches, knolls, and other unexpected landforms that make “north” and “south” far less obvious than one would imagine. At least that was the case on this particular hillside, and I was soon not sure that I could have found my way back to the trail even had I decided to rebel against my companion (or I realized later, if he had turned an ankle and I needed to fetch help).

We carried on – him curious, me cranky – until I finally did get more assertive in my complaining. Constantly struggling over logs and dogs had not made me a sanguine traveller, and whatever amazing/alarming mountain bike constructions he had hoped to find were long passed. To his credit, longtime pal David recognized that She Who Must Be Obeyed was making an appearance – but, he assured me, it would likely be faster and easier to get back to the proper trail by continuing our climb rather than by retracing our steps. So we carried on, struggling through undergrowth and downed branches.

Natural features can all look mesmerizingly alike when you're lost.

Natural features can all look mesmerizingly alike when you’re lost.

I’m not sure what adjectives I would employ to describe the next FOUR HOURS in the forest, but “faster” and “easier” are certainly not among them. “Exhausting,” “anxious,” and “panicky” do pop to mind fairly readily, however. I was worried about the boys left at home on their own, wondering where the heck I was, but with all the aforementioned furrows and gullies on the mountain, it was difficult to find a cell signal. A single signal-strength bar finally materialized on my phone screen, and I was finally able to let them know that I was OK and with David – but that was about all I could tell them. David later got a call out to his brother-in-law who knows the woods reasonably well, and who (if I recall) kept encouraging the go “north” approach. (Not particularly welcome advice, when every muscle in your body is screaming “turn south!”)




North Shore Rescue: I prefer my close-ups in parades...

North Shore Rescue: I prefer my close-ups in parades…

I had visions of North Shore Rescue being dispatched to find us, and knew that my acquaintance on the team would never, ever let me live it down if he found me deep in the woods so spectacularly ill-shod and ill-prepared. I further imagined having to curl up with the dogs for warmth if we were lost overnight, and wondered who would get to sleep with Genny, the massively furred Bernese mountain dog, and who would be stuck with Toby, the eight-pound shih tzu.

I scrambled along as best I could, nearly weeping with vexation when a clearing we had thought from a distance was Mountain Highway turned out to be a dry creekbed. Total gloom soon turned to exhilaration, however, when the gravel road did blessedly appear not long afterward. We staggered out of the forest (I may have kissed the roadbed, I’m not sure) and discovered that we were up above the seventh switchback, several kilometres above the paved end of Mountain Highway. We had left home shortly after noon; it was now about 5:30.

We telephoned our loved ones and told them to stop selling our stuff as we were coming home after all. Tired but buoyed by survivors’ giddiness, we set off down (down – what a wonderful word!) the crooked gravel road towards home.

The self-congratulations and shoulder punches only lasted a few more minutes, though, before one of us looked around and asked “Where’s Toby?” Where, indeed. After sticking with us through thick and thin, his poor four-inch legs struggling over one obstacle after another, Toby had emerged onto the road and then seemingly vanished when our back was turned. We retraced steps, calling, but to no avail. Genny the Bernese, who had always been a tad jealous of Toby the Younger Interloper, may have known something, but she wasn’t letting on.

Whatever else I remember about David from that day, what I remember best is this: that, ever the gentleman, he insisted I go home, while he stayed on the mountain and looked for the dog. Too tired to argue, and thinking about my waiting children, I gratefully agreed, and made my way down Mountain Highway, arriving home in another 45 minutes or so.

Happiness at the homecoming was, of course, tempered by worry about Toby, who didn’t return with David, either. His plucky little coyote-snack-sized self was out there navigating uncharted territories. We quickly put up posters at trailheads, and my sister and others headed out for a look. Later that evening, she learned he’d been spotted on one of the trails, but hadn’t allowed anyone to approach. We went to bed, sadly aware of him alone out in the dark beyond our windows.

Toby the Plucky

Toby the Plucky

It was midnight when a daughter of the house arrived home, and she popped her head into our bedroom. “Why’s Toby sitting on the front lawn?” she asked us, unaware of all the earlier drama. Toby – what a champ! He had indeed found his way home, despite having been kilometres out of his usual territory. After drinking about half a litre of water and accepting our fond congratulations, he settled into his usual spot in preparation for a good night’s sleep.

We followed his example. I awoke the next morning with aching legs, a newfound resolve NOT to do things just because your friends are doing them, and plenty of gratitude that events turned out as well as they did.

As we all know, stories in these woods don’t always have happy endings. So, take it from me – you really can get lost after just a few minutes of off-trail bush-whacking, even in an otherwise familiar environment.* All that safety stuff that North Shore Rescue talks about? It isn’t just for extreme hikers or “other folks.” It’s for everyone who wants to get home in one piece.

Enjoy your summer treks, readers!

– Peggy Trendell-Jensen, LynnValleyLife editor

 * P.S. If you run into David, and he says “Oh, we weren’t REALLY lost – I was pretty sure I knew where we were going,” DO NOT BELIEVE HIM.

Genny, who survived this walk and many more besides. RIP, GennyDog..

Genny, who survived this walk and many more besides. RIP, GennyDog..