Here’s what sold in LV in December, and for how much

These are the latest figures on the Lynn Valley housing market. If you’d like monthly market updates and neighbourhood highlights sent directly to your inbox, please sign up to become a member of the LynnValleyLife Network to enjoy these and other benefits.

December Sales Update 

Here is your monthly snapshot of sales that occurred in Lynn Valley during the month of December. As always, if you would like specific details on any of these transactions please contact Jim Lanctot or Kelly Gardiner of RE/MAX Crest at 778.724.0112.

Single Family Homes:

  • There were detached homes sold in December with an average sales price of $775,400 (median = $809,000).
  • The average sales price achieved was less than list price by 2.98%.
  • Detached homes that sold in December took an average of 62 days to sell (median = 63 days).

Apartments & Townhouses:

  • There were 3 attached homes sold in December with an average sales price of $440,333 (median = $414,000).
  • The average sales price achieved was less than list price by 2.86%.
  • Attached homes that sold in December took an average of 58 days to sell (median = 45 days).

We are actively working with many different people trying to move into the neighbourhood.  If you ever hear of anyone looking to sell their home please let us know.

Have a great week!

Jim Lanctot & The LynnValleyLife Team

Theatre lives on in local memories

Musings from Lynn O’Malley: It’s always seemed to me that a little movie house would do well in Lynn Valley; something that would bring in the kind of interesting flicks you usually have to travel over to the 5th Avenue or Park Theatre to see. (OK, I can’t guarantee it would do well, and I don’t know where it would go, but I can promise that I would be a loyal patron.)

Then it occurred to me that we’ve already had a little movie house here in the valley, one that was very popular indeed. If you’re lucky enough to be of the right age, and a long-enough resident of the neighbourhood, you’ll already know about the Cedar V. The rest of us young ’uns have no memory of it, or we have faint memories, or perhaps just memories we think we have, but that really belong to older brothers and sisters and have been listened to often enough that they feel like our own.

The Quonset Hut-style building was located at 1260 Lynn Valley Rd., near the site of the current PetroCan station. Built in 1953, its Saturday matinees became the highlight of the week for hundreds of local schoolkids. Here’s what former Valleyite Barbara Black had to say about the Cedar V from her current home in Victoria:

“I was just thinking about the old Cedar V Theatre, where I saw my first terrifying movie: Bambi. I think I was six. I remember they sold popcorn in little kiddie-sized paper bags and the butter soaked through the sides before you could finish it. Saturdays were the double-bill matinee. If it was your birthday you were called up on stage and given a prize. I also saw “The Three Lives of Thomasina” there, another heart-wrenching movie complete with witch and a cat funeral.”

And in this online essay, Vancouver writer Michael Hayward reminisces about the almost magical power the theatre cast upon him, his cousin and the other kids who were drawn to it “like moths to a fire.”

Unfortunately, the fire went out on October 31, 1971, when the theatre was demolished to make way for new development.

Would a small movie house today have the same allure for our kids, accustomed as they are to the more modern on-screen entertainment constantly at their fingertips? Hard to say. But there are some things that Playstations, HDTVs and iPads just can’t offer: Theatre popcorn. Getting together with dozens of friends. Having someone pull you up on stage because it’s your birthday.

Cedar V, you are missed.

Thank you, Lynn Valley, for 500 new friends

Glad tidings from Lynn O’Malley: When Jim Lanctot first assembled some like-minded souls to talk about creating this community website, our goals were both grand and humble. Yes, we hoped to reach a lot of people and be of great help to local organizations, businesses and individuals wanting to spread the word about their activities. But at the same time, we were determined to give LynnValleyLife a small-town feel; to be an online gathering place for the same kind of conversations you’d have at Waves or Delany’s. Just a few months later, we have tipped the 500 point in our number of Facebook friends, and thanks to your support we think we are managing to make great progress toward both goals.

A recent column in the Globe and Mail reports research showing that a top concern among Vancouverites is a sense of isolation from neighbours, and that part of the blame may lie with our growing reliance on online social networking. But we hope and believe that LynnValleyLife works the other way around. Thanks to our online presence, we see more and more real-life relationships being formed. We are delighted that through our Facebook page we see people partnering up to work on good causes, or share info about bird sightings, or coming out – in person! – to support local events.

We hoped the page would become the locale for online water cooler conversations, and you folks have come though in spades. Thanks to every one of you who pushed that ‘like’ button to join the fun!

It seemed appropriate that we reward our 500th Facebook friend with something neighbourly, and couldn’t think of anything that would be more suitable than two tickets to the Lynn Valley Community Association Gala Dinner that will take place the night before the 100th Lynn Valley Day this May. And we also think it’s wonderfully appropriate that the surprised recipient was Carrie Boulier, whose husband Murray Bulger teaches the Digital Media Academy at Argyle, a program that is yet another unique feature of this great neighbourhood we call home.

We are looking forward to meeting even more of our Lynn Valley neighbours, in person and online. We rely on your interesting news tidbits and comments to keep our Facebook page lively, our website Events Calendar full, and our bloggers busy, so let’s continue to keep each other in the loop! One thousand friends is the next big milestone – we plan to enjoy the journey as we work toward that goal, and hope you do, too.

At LynnValleyLife we are looking forward to doing all we can to make this 100th Lynn Valley Day all it can be.  The Lynn Valley Community Association and Lynn Valley Lions who put on this great event need help.  If you would like to explore becoming a volunteer for the event please email us and we will put you in touch with the right people.

Lynn Valley ’70s counterculture recalled in colourful autobiography

From Lynn O’Malley: Inspired by our Christmas post in which we published a list of Lynn Valley residents’ wishes, publisher Jim Lanctot and I got talking about what we’d ask for if we could wave a wand and make something good come true for our community.

He thought that more programs for youth might be a fine thing; I wondered if kids – like the rest of us – have perhaps too many entertainment choices and are hungry instead for a way to get involved in something more meaningful. (In fact, as reported recently in the Globe and Mail, youth are more likely to volunteer their time than people in any other age group!)

Thinking about ‘kids these days’ made me recall tales of the Lynn Valley Crabs, a gang that roved these streets many decades ago. Thanks to Google, I was soon reading this first-person account of a dance going sideways at the Lynn Valley Community Hall, a building now replaced by the more aesthetically pleasing Lynn Valley Rec Centre. It’s written by Dave Jenneson, singer and front-man for The Burner Boys, the homegrown band playing that night:

“We had horrified one of the biggest bands in Vancouver but still our problems were not over. We immediately got a new gig at the Lynn Valley Community Center. It looked more like a bunker – a low squat cinderblock building at one end of a playing field that was covered with graffiti, but Lynn Valley’s notoriously troubled youth had to make do with it. It was almost as if the City Fathers had purposely drafted a recipe for disaster. One can imagine them at a planning meeting: ‘Let’s hold an unsupervised dance for bad teenagers at a remote spot, but within two blocks of a liquor store.’

The crowd was young and belligerent and within 15 minutes I could hear the sound of beer bottles shattering against brick walls. On the dance floor they writhed like a bag of snakes, but seemed less intent on the music than on mayhem. During the first break I walked across the dance floor, my feet crunching on broken glass. We’d just started the second set when a kid approached the stage. I leaned over to hear him.

“The Ant Hill Mob is going to wreck your van.”

I ran outside between songs. Sure enough, the van was jacked up on one side with blocks of wood and empty beer cases. It would only take a little more effort to turn it over and trash it. There was no way we could guard our van and play at the same time. The Ant Hill Mob was the second most powerful gang in Lynn Valley, but their attitude was that of every second banana organization – ‘we’re number two but we try harder.’

I ran back to the stage and got on the mike. “The Ant Hill Mob is trying to wreck our van. What are the Smiling Crabs going to do about it?” I was appealing to the better nature of the first most powerful gang.

Amazingly that produced a cheer – the first one we’d got. 

“The Burner Boys dedicate this gig to the Smiling Crabs!” I shouted. “WE RULE TOGETHER!”

Jenneson goes on to describe the ‘Smiling Crabs’: “The Smiling Crabs – actually the Lynn Valley Society of Smiling Crabs – were bigger, older and more numerous. It was a remarkable organization in that many of its members were extremely intelligent – a tragic fact considering many died young from drug overdoses or car accidents.”

Boy, it makes today’s Lynn Valley youth scene look pretty wholesome, doesn’t it? The writer, Dave Jenneson, was a fellow I met briefly at work a long time ago; at that point I had no idea about his hard-rockin’ past. Unfortunately, Dave passed away early in 2009, but luckily for us the Lynn Valley native has left behind and freely shared a fascinating account of his band’s place in North Van’s 1970s free-wheeling counterculture.

The passage above is taken from Chapter 7 of the online work, but I bet you’ll enjoy reading a lot more of this well-written, colourful autobiography. A Band is a Beautiful Thing is even accompanied by audio files of the band in its heyday. Enjoy!

Church adds to yoga roster for new year

As reported earlier by LynnValleyLife, drop-in yoga is now being offered at Lynn Valley United Church, and 2012 brings with it yet another bendy option.

Children, Youth and Families Minister Christina Kinch – who trained in India as a Hatha yoga instructor – has added an intermediate class to the roster. The schedule for 2012 is as follows:

Mondays 11:15-12:15 a.m.
Thursdays 6:00-7:15 p.m.
Tuesdays 6:30-7:45 p.m.
Girls ages 8-18
Tuesdays 5:00-6:15 p.m.

Youth classes are freely offered; adult classes are by donation. For more information, visit the Lynn Valley United Church website or email Christina at


Our List of One-Mile Resolutions

Coming to You From Lynn O’Malley: Even those people who staunchly refuse to make New Year’s Resolutions must, like the rest of us, look forward to the new year and see all the potential it offers. Whether it is waistlines that need contracting or minds that need expanding, all seems – and indeed is – possible.
Some years ago a Vancouver couple made the 100-Mile Diet a household word; this year, LynnValleyLife is adapting that concept and publishing a list of One-Mile Resolutions. Whether you want to improve body, mind or spirit, we’re confident that self-fulfilment is – literally – just around the corner.

1. Beginning in January, the Lynn Valley Community Room adjacent to the library will come alive with a variety of new rec centre programs. Check out this listing of classes that offer up a variety of fitness options, from Nordic pole walking to belly dancing to self-defense.

2. If this is the year to spruce up your yard, get a hand from the GardenSmart programs of the North Shore Recycling Program. Whether it is a veggie gardening workshop at the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre or the provision of an expert gardener for your neighbourhood garden party, GardenSmart is the go-to resource for green thumbs.

3. Stretch your think-box by attending a Philosopher’s Café at Lynn Valley Library. The topic for January is relativism: Are there objective moral truths?

4. Then stretch your legs with a walking club – join up with the Mollie Nye House seniors on Wednesdays, or the Sun Run Walking Group on Tuesday mornings, HQ’d in the L.V. Community Room.

5. You can stretch everything else with a yoga class – YYoga is a popular choice in Lynn Valley Village, and new drop-in, by-donation classes (including one for girls) are offered by the new youth and families minister at Lynn Valley United Church.

6. Resolve to make your neighbourhood an even better place to live by volunteering your time. Create your own neighbourhood improvement project, or join one of our local groups such as the community association or the Lynn Valley Lions.

7. Like the song goes, Climb Every Mountain – but start with our own. When conditions allow, follow in the footsteps of pioneers who walked up the Old Grouse Mountain Highway, a three or four-hour hike up the 13-km gravel road that leads from the top of Mountain Highway to the Grouse Mountain chalet.

8. How long has it been since you dropped in on your neighbour? If it’s been a while, surprise them with a banana-bread visit or some impromptu help washing the car.

9. Adopt one new healthful diet habit – ask the fine folk at Country Health in the mall or Nourish Market in the village for tips.

10. If you’ve accomplished any or all of these One-Mile Resolutions, you deserve a reward. Treat yourself to the view from Fromme Mountain (pictured at top), which is one of the best in Lynn Valley. Only one catch: you’ll have to doff your drawers. This particular vista is only seen from the grassy grounds of the Van Tan Club, the nudist colony up Old Grouse Mountain Highway that has been in operation for almost 75 years. Consider your Van Tan membership another adventure for the new year!

Hastings Manor restoration unveiled

From the desk of Jim Lanctot:

I was out walking my kids to school one morning in mid-December when I stopped to look at the renovations just finishing up at Hastings Manor, across the street from Lynn Valley Elementary. Like many people in the neighbourhood, I had wondered what had been happening underneath the blue tarps over the preceding number of months. I struck up a conversation with one of the foremen and he spoke highly of the project and the level of professionalism shown by the strata counsel. Curious, I tracked down strata Vice President Brian Kroeker and asked him to tell us more about the building’s rejuvenation. Here’s an edited version of our Q&A.

JL: What prompted the council to initiate the project?

BK: Every building will at some time experience water ingress issues. While Hastings Manor was built before the time of the leaky condo construction issues in Vancouver, nothing is invulnerable to the ravages of nature and time. Owners were beginning to see visible signs of the breakdown of their supporting balcony beams in some cases, while there were other signs of frequent water ingress at building corners and entry doors. Small areas of visibly degraded siding (from both sun and rain) were also apparent.
Luckily, two owners, one an engineer and one who works with engineers, prodded Council to get an engineering assessment done on the building envelope. This turned out to be a great move…. given our level of ignorance about construction, we needed leadership from people who knew what they were doing, who could be trusted.

JL: Once you’d had engineering reports done, what was the next step?

BK: The owners approached Levelton Engineering for a targeted repair project, and Levelton was indeed interested in working with Council on our proposal. For us, this made all the difference, and after the formulation of a formal proposal, Levelton was chosen by owners who accepted an assessment at one third of the cost of the first engineering firm’s proposal.

JL: What further decisions were made?

BK: We decided to prioritize work according to advice from Levelton into high, medium and low-priority work, so that owners better saw what they were paying for. Our top priority all the way through the project was to fix all visible rotten structure. If siding was removed from any wall and rot was discovered, it would have to be properly remediated. Council felt that leaving any rotten inner wall components would have been wasting owners’ money.

JL: Why did you feel having an engineering firm engaged was a good idea ­ was it worth the extra investment?

BK: Our overall ignorance of construction and who the “good guys” were made hiring engineers an easy decision. Plus, we wanted a document that the engineers would sign off on at the end of the project, assuring that the building was properly fixed. They also steered us toward the “good guys” in selecting appropriate bidders for our job.
Levelton’s frequent status reports (with lots of pictures!), along with their attendance at a number of owner meetings, were invaluable in providing owners with a sense of where their money was going. Seeing a rotten wall exposed, then seeing it properly fixed is a very comforting feeling.

JL: What construction firm did you end up going with?

BK: Our contractor was Ocean West Construction. Their personnel on site were very friendly, courteous and respectful of the owners’ privacy. They went the extra mile for us a number of times, giving us good value for our money and top-quality work.
They always seemed to work well with Levelton,  and were great at working out unique solutions to any challenges that arose.

JL: How do you feel the project has gone?

BK: Fantastic! Although we have not been able to accomplish every little thing, our project has met all of our initial expectations and then some. We were even able to do a few upgrades, and every owner got something to show for their money.
As with every complicated project … there were adjustments to be made, mostly correcting previous construction deficiencies and the extent of the rot discovered within our walls. We overspent the original budget by a long way, but in the end, we have many more walls fully rainscreened than was initially planned.

JL: What kind of investment has been made by the current ownership group?

BK: We spent about $1.7 million, or $50K per owner.

JL: What’s the general feelings of the ownership group about the work that has been done, and what the future holds for Hastings Manor?

BK: People have commented over and over that the building looks fantastic now! The future looks bright for Hastings Manor after many years of owner neglect. People are looking forward now to sprucing up the grounds and enjoying their new decks and patios when the weather brightens up and gets warmer this Spring. With the success of this project, more owners have a “we can fix that!” attitude.
Some owners will feel ready to sell now, but they do so knowing that there is much better value in their building now that all the hard work is done and the building looks so much better.

JL: Is there anything that stands out that makes Hastings Manor a great place to live in your opinion?

Lynn Valley has it all, and Hastings Manor is within walking/cycling distance of so much of it. Shopping, schools, the new library and great bus service straight to downtown Vancouver make Hastings Manor perfectly placed for everyone, both young and old.
There are great, friendly people in our buildings. Some have been here only a short time, while others are long-term residents who know a good thing when they see it. People are now volunteering to serve on committees to improve their buildings even more. Council is very proactive and is motivated to keep up the process of incremental investment in Hastings Manor that is sensitive to owners’ needs and situations.

Talking to Brian, I could tell that all the owners are feeling great now that the investment has been made and the hard work is done. Some of the owners who had put their real estate plans on hold for the duration of the project are now starting to revisit their plans to put their homes on the market. If you are interested in knowing more about ownership in Hastings Manor, please contact me or my RE/MAX colleague Kelly Gardiner at 778-724-0112. We’d be delighted to help you explore the opportunity.

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!