Lynn Valley on two wheels

Lynn Valley is heading out of some significant road construction as the 29th St. bike lane nears completion and another bike lane project scheduled to come up for summer 2020 on Lynn Valley Road. Without a doubt, cycling is part of the culture of North Vancouver. The District OCP goals aim for 35 percent of trips tol be made by public or active (cycling, on foot)  transportation by 2030. We spoke with Jay Jardine, Lynn Valley resident and vice-chair of HUB North Shore


Bikes, bikes and more bikes


With access to world class mountain bike trails and half-decent transit, many families in Lynn Valley make do with just one car. 

“Many people have more bikes than cars at their house,” said Jardine. “As an advocacy organization, we know people want to use them more but the infrastructure isn’t there. We go up into the mountains and ride on all these stunts but are afraid to ride on city streets.” 

The community’s proximity to accessible outdoors attracts a certain kind of resident.

“We are an active community and that goes hand in hand with active transportation, people want to put effort in to get a bit of a workout,” he explained. “There are also people who are environmentally conscious and it’s a priority for them to be environmentally conscious with their transportation footprint.”

Both HUB and the District of North Vancouver are seeing trends of more cyclists on the road and especially more cyclists commuting.


Technological advances


One of the biggest changes to cycling is the rise of e-bikes. The motor-assisted bicycles are seeing technological advances and price decreases making the North Shore hills less daunting and more accessible. 

“We see from our count stations at Bike to Work Week the proportion of e-bikes is going up,” said Jardine. “We like to say it ‘flattens the shore.’ It’s no longer an ordeal to get home at the end of the day, it really opens the range of ages and abilities that can use the network.”

In the fall during an interview with Mayor Mike Little, he shared he has noticed a distinct increase in e-bikes and cycle commuters amongst District staff. So much so they have increased the number of District fleet vehicles as staff no longer use their own vehicles for work. Adding that the climbing numbers of all cyclists – especially e-cyclists – that makes him inclined to support projects like the 29th St. bike lane, as an essential east-west connection.

There are also trends to make cycling more family friendly with European-style cargo and longtail bikes becoming more common on North Van streets.

“People used to ask how they can bike or be car-free with kids,” said Jardine. “Of course some need to get their kids and gear to hockey practice in a mini-van but you also now see parents with two kids on the bike doing errands at Lynn Valley Mall.”


Infrastructure


With numerous projects on the books, HUB still continues to lobby for a more continuous network of cycling routes. 

“Compared to Vancouver we just aren’t there yet,” said Jardine. “When we look at the profiles of riders we are very interested in the ‘Interested but concerned’ – that’s who we want to target with more infrastructure. What we would like to see are ‘class A’ facilities, almost always separated from traffic where the volume and speeds are too high. Almost always separated from pedestrians because cyclists can be a hazard, and a network of traffic calmed neighbourhood streets.”

Casano-Loutet rendering. Supplied.

Vancouver has an extensive network of bikeways where there is a comfort for all ages and abilities to ride, said Jardine. North Vancouver has some obstacles to master with no continuous grid system and challenging geography but there are opportunities to improve.

According to the District’s website, most cycling infrastructure is completed during large and small road improvement projects. 

“[The District looks] for opportunities to include new bike infrastructure where individual project budgets allow (the bike lanes on and around the new Keith Road and Montroyal bridges are examples of this approach). Because of the project-by-project approach we take to building bike lanes, new lanes don’t always connect to existing lanes, nor do they always lead to our most popular destinations. While this may be true in the short term, over time, these individual sections will begin to knit together into a complete system, as we continue including lanes in our infrastructure and road improvement projects,” says the District. 

Jardine says HUB is happy to see what is happening in the Lower Lynn area and the forthcoming overpass linking Cedar Village and Loutet Park.

“It will be a game changer. This is infrastructure that allows for walking or riding your bike from one side of the highway to the other without interacting with traffic. It provides a whole new range of options to get around – to access CapU, the emerging town centre, the bridge.” 


Challenges


Selling more cycling infrastructure and opportunities is always a bit of a challenge. From complaints about lack of car parking to weather, HUB is even hearing how poor residential planning and strata bylaws are making cycling more difficult. 

“It’s come to our attention that people want help around restrictions like moving bikes in elevators and creating more secure bike parking,” he said.

Where weather is concerned, Jardine points to other infrastructure that is only used part of the year – like beaches. 

“Looking at Snowmageddon a couple of weeks ago – no one liked it,” he said. “Cars weren’t driving, parks and schools were closed, we don’t limit those infrastructure projects because they are shut down in poor weather. There are at least seven months where riding is ideal. When you add the comfortable lanes, the direct routes, the wayfinding signage maybe new technology, like e-bikes, you will see that riding in the rain isn’t as difficult as fighting through car traffic. 

“Even if the bulk of ridership comes seven months of the year, that is seven months we see the benefits of better air quality and less congestion.”

What’s coming up

Two large forthcoming projects  are on the City and District’s agendas to improve cycling infrastructure around Lynn Valley: the Casano-Loutet Bridge over the cut and a dedicated bike lane on Lynn Valley Road from Mountain Hwy to Kilmer. Both have start dates scheduled in 2020.

Lynn Valley bike lane


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.

Feeling philosophical?

Sometimes there is nothing like a good discussion – peeling away the layers of ideas and learning something new. The Philosophers’ Cafe series does just that about once a  month at the Lynn Valley branch of the North Vancouver District Library. Next up Feb. 10.


A new discourse tradition


Photo by Greg Ehlers, courtesy of SFU

The idea of a public philosophical discussion was the brainchild of French philosopher Marc Sautet. In 1992 he wanted to offer deeper engagement and idea exchange. The goal was to have a place where people can have meaningful discussions on a range of topics – some they may have never considered before. Sautet decided Paris’ quintessential cafes were the perfect place to make the events inviting and relaxed. 

Simon Fraser University started spreading the concept across the Lower Mainland in 1998. Since then students, faculty, seniors, parents, philosophers and mostly non-philosophers have been gathering for stimulating dialogue and valuable idea exchange in communities throughout the area. 

There have been a couple of phases of the Lynn Valley Philosophers’ Cafe, the current version  is led by Reem Faris, a Ph.d student from Simon Fraser University. 

“I believe it is important to build bridges between the university and the research we do, although we don’t do it for research purposes,” said Faris. “For a lack of a better term, it allows us to be ambassadors for knowledge.”


What to expect


The Lynn Valley Philosophers’ Cafe takes place about once a month at the library. Participants are welcomed by Faris, typically asked for a brief introduction and then the discussion begins.

“It’s sort of an intellectual, philosophical, curiosity combo that brings people in. There are some returning faces but there are always new faces,” she said. “Sometimes people are brought in because the topic caught their eye, some do it because of the social thing.”

The evenings draw a range of all demographics – gender, age, profession, education, said Faris.

“The age range can vary quite a bit,” she explained. “We have a couple that are semi-regulars who are in their 90s and that just blows me away – I am so flattered they take the time to join us. In the last one, we had a grade 11 student who saw the description and decided to come out. It’s great.”

The hope is a conversational exchange of ideas, with minimal gentle guidance from Faris.  

“As moderators we facilitate the discussion – not intrude. It’s not a lecture, it’s a discussion.”

Participants are welcome to get in the thick of the discussions or be more observational. 

“We have people who say ‘I am here to observe – I might not contribute much and I am okay with that.’ As a moderator, it becomes a matter of watching body language and cues. I might see someone who is almost speaking and in a pause take a moment to draw them in.”


Spring Session


Each session is planned by Faris in partnership with the SFU organizers. As she was exploring ideas for the winter she randomly stumbled upon the book On Identity by Amin Maalouf, a Lebanese-French writer.

“What I try to do is try to make sure that each season that each topic stands alone but has a common thread to them,” she explained. “Something will inspire me – in my research, in the news, whatever. This series I came across a book. There were a lot of ideas on identity and the challenges especially in larger cultural political environments.” 

The upcoming discussions take place Monday nights from 7-8:30 p.m.

  • Monday, February 10
    Is identity merely a collection of symbols? How is the concept of identity used to create the notion of the Other?
     
  • Monday, March 9
    If language is a key component of identity, how do we negotiate the tension between a global language of communication such as English and one’s own language of origin if it differs?
     
  • Monday, April 6
    Identity is often viewed as integral to a sense of belonging. It is also a source of conflict. In today’s modern world, what can societies do to honour separate identities and build a sense of citizenship?

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.

Ready for Spring Break?

Despite all the snow – Spring break is creeping up on us. There are a number of activities to keep kids and tweens busy over the school holiday. Lynn Valley will be bustling with everything from film making to Lego to pollinators. The Ecology Centre is also back with its Wildlife Weeks activities for drop-in fun for all ages.


Film making


The Lynn Valley Library is hosting a film making camp for students in Grades 6-8 March 23-27. Participants use filmmaking equipment and with the help of filmmaking educators from The Cinematheque come together to make great stories for the screen! Fee for camp is: $290 for a general application, however financial assistance is available for North Vancouver District residents. This is popular, so applications are due Feb. 18! 


Nurturing Nature


The Lynn Valley Ecology Centre has a number of mini-camps for children ages 5-8. These Monday-Wednesday half day camps are a great option for learning and an easy introduction to day camps for those that have never done them before. There are is a mini-camp about Pollinators and one all about out senses. There will be games, crafts and outside time. Cost: $79.95.

There are also a number of drop-in programs to celebrate the natural world during Wildlife Weeks from March 15-26. All events take place at the Ecology Centre and are available on a on first-come basis. The suggested donation is $2 a person or $5 for a family. 

  • Great Snakes and Remarkable Reptiles Sunday, March 15, noon to 4 pm, Presenter: Westcoast Reptile Education Society
  • Swoop and Soar – Birds of Prey Monday, March 16, 1 pm, Presenter: OWL Rescue
  • Our Wild Neighbours Tuesday, March 17, 1 pm, Presenter: Marcy Potter of the Fur-Bearers
  • The Caterpillar and Pollywog – Black Light Puppet Show Friday, March 20. Shows begin at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, and 1:00 pm.
  • Wild About Mason Bees Monday, March 23, 10:30 am, Presenter: Taren Urquhart
  • Night Flyers Tuesday, March 24, 1:00 pm, Presenter: Kirk Miles of BC Community Bat Program
  • The Bear Essentials Thursday, March 26. 10:30 am, Presenter: North Shore Black Bear Society
  • City Salmon Thursday, March 26, 1:00 pm, Presenter: Fernando Lessa

Get your hands a little dirty


The much beloved Kudzu Art Studio has found some local space and is back for two camps March 16-20. There is the Art and Animal Camp for school aged kids from 9am-noon. As well as a Tween/Teen drawing and painting camp from 1-4pm. Students will explore a variety of mediums, techniques and artists. Each camp is $300 and details are on the website

Lego time!

There are six camps with space available in Lynn Valley all focused on Lego – plus coding, robotics, animation and more. There are a variety of age groupings with half-day camps for children five-15 years old. The programs will take place at Lynn Valley Village or at the Lynn Valley Rec Centre. Details and registration are at North Van Rec. Prices start range from $175-$195.


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.

Two more for One World

A new speaker series at the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre  is running and continues through February. One Earth.  


Learning at the Ecology Centre


The One Earth series celebrates this special planet we call home. Explore its incredible diversity! See it through the eyes of scientists, naturalists, and photographers as they share their inspirational stories and knowledge about the natural world. This speaker series is hosted at the Ecology Centre and is for ages 15 and up.

Cost: $9 per person

Register by calling the Ecology Centre at 604-990-3755.


A gathering of eagles


Saturday, January 25, 1 pm to 2:30 pm

Presenter: David Hancock

Some of the largest concentrations of wintering bald eagles occur along the rivers and estuaries near Vancouver. Get a bird’s eye view into the world of these amazing raptors with David Hancock of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation. David is a biologist, conservationist, and lecturer who has spent most of his life studying West Coast and Arctic wildlife with a particular focus on understanding bald eagle adaptations to the urban environment.

Registration Required: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/a-gathering-of-eagles-vancouvers-urban-eagles-tickets-73863121585 or Phone 604-990-3755.


Communing with carnivores


Saturday, February 1, 1 pm to 2:30 pm

Presenter: Darren Colello

Large carnivores play a crucial role maintaining the health of ecosystems around the world. Explore the beauty, challenges, and connections of the big carnivores with biologist and wildlife photographer Darren Colello. Learn about conservation and species preservation as Darren shares his experiences with grizzlies, big cats, wild canids, hyenas, and more.

Registration Required: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/on-the-brink-carnivore-conservation-tickets-73863883865 or Phone 604-990-3755.

Project read for Project Samuel

Last year, the Pearmain family from Lynn Valley travelled for the second time to Zambia – suitcases stuffed with donated local soccer jerseys and reading supplies. It proved to be a  powerful catalyst for Argyle student Hope Pearmain, who will embark on a four-month internship to teach literacy after graduating this summer. 


Project Samuel


LynnValleyLife shared the story of Project Samuel last spring. It is worth a read but in a nutshell: The Pearmain family is helping to support the education of 24 orphans in Africa inspired by their friendship with former North Vancouverite Kim Close who is on the ground working and living in Zambia. Now with her own connection to Zambia, their daughter Hope is planning her third trip in as many years. 


Thank you


With education support being the underlying goal of all their visits, Debbie and Hope Pearmain spent last spring working with literacy teacher Susan McLean and gathering a few items for the children before heading off to Project Samuel, in rural Zambia.

“We want to say thank you to Lynn Valley and the North Shore Girls Soccer and North Shore Football Club,” said Debbie Pearmain. “We wear able to take over 100 soccer jerseys, cleats and balls. We were able to give the high school enough jerseys for their entire team.” 

Soccer is a powerful social connector, explained Pearmain. A local church, North Shore Alliance,  sent a team to Zambia and was able to lead a soccer camp reaching up to 100 kids a day. In a place where many can’t afford education or don’t have the literacy to attend high school, community engagement like sports makes a huge difference, she said. 

 


Start with reading


On their first trip to the Chibombo District of central Zambia, Pearmain noticed a number of challenges facing the youth at the Project, as well as others in the community. 

“We helped raise the money to keep these kids in school but we were compelled to go back because I realized half the kids wouldn’t pass their Grade 7 exams because their English literacy is poor,” she said. “If they can pass their government exams they can stay in school. Once they can read – it’s their ticket to achieve their potential.”

Pearmain emphasized the students and teachers do a lot with what they have but it’s so different from the resources North Vancouver students experience it’s almost unfathomable. 

“The teachers are working so hard, but they have 100 students in a classroom. Sometimes they have no desks, they have no paper and they for sure don’t any have books. No LAC (learning assistance class). No literacy centre,” she said. “They are also double ESL – they are learning English, their third language, from their second language Tonga – one they may only have been speaking for a year or two and only speak at school. By Grade 7 all exams are in English and if they can’t read them, they can’t answer them. If they don’t pass, they don’t get to go to high school.”

It was a huge yet simple challenge that resonated with Pearmain, in part because her son also struggled with early reading. He was well supported here at home, an experience that connected them to, now-retired, literacy teacher Susan McLean. The Pearmains worked with McLean, and Boundary teachers Nancy Dale and Leigh Koeingfest, to learn a simple method to teach literacy. In addition, McLean gifted her personal resources after her retirement which lay the foundation of the Pearmains’ plan.

“Hope and I would return to focus on literacy. We started the program with the house moms and the older kids at Project Samuel before taking it to the local schools,” she said. “We taught a very simple way of teaching kids how to read – a seven-step process. And it totally worked!

“So then Hope and I taught some of high school kids and we literally worked with the kids at the Project everyday and they started reading. It was unbelievable. About two weeks in, we went back to the schools we had visited the year before and we did professional development with the teachers. When we did the professional development, we brought them the resources we had gathered here and we gifted them to the schools. Then we got to go into the classroom and were able to teach.”

The work put in by the students, teachers and the Pearmains quickly bore fruit. 

“One Sunday I went outside and I literally started crying because there were all these older kids from the Project in these random places – on a rock, under a tree, on the stoop, over by the chickens – with the younger kids reading them books. It was beautiful,” she said. 

The students continue to work and improve their skills.   

“I get emails from Kim [Close] – stories like this boy, 15 years old, who wants to be a truck driver. He had no hope of passing his driver’s test because it’s in English,” said Pearmain. “Now – he’s learning to read. He has a future. It’s the game changer for their future. 

“Fifty percent of kids in rural Zambia drop out of Grade 7. You can see during the day, there are tons of kids working in the fields or the shops or caring for babies.”


Evolving Hope


Hope Pearmain had visions through Grade 10 and 11 to be a nurse, said her mom. 

“But after this past summer, she came back and said ‘I am going into education and I want to teach LAC and help kids.’ As a mom, to watch her in the classroom was amazing – to see that sparkle and to see your kid light up teaching and doing something she was good at.” 

The experience led Hope to apply for an internship to return to Zambia. She will be spending four months there after her Argyle Secondary graduation, along with Carson Secondary grad Sofia Stanley. 

“She is going to go back to the rural school we worked at and be there every day in the classroom helping Grade 3s with literacy,” said Pearmain. 

March 7, 2020, the Pearmain family is hosting a fundraiser at the Hollyburn Country Club to fundraise for the Project Samuel kids. Those interested in supporting the event with donations or silent auction items or to secure tickets can contact Debbie via email.  To donate directly to Project Samuel go to: icmsgo.com. Then click: DONATE, select: Canada, agency: Project Samuel Foundation, supporting: Children and Project Giving.

“When Hope returns we want her to bring more advanced resources – it all has to go in suitcases. Books are heavy!”


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.

Holiday roundup 2019

There are plenty of activities happening throughout Lynn Valley and the North Shore during the holiday season. Check out some of our picks. 


Ecology Centre


The Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre is open during the construction in the park’s parking lot and the upgrades to the suspension bridge. The centre has many ongoing activities planned. It is open throughout December for some holiday cheer  Monday to Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday from 12-4 p.m.  Drop by for crafts, indoor scavenger hunt, holiday movies upon request in the theatre and 10% off everything in our Gift Shop. They have added new items to the shop, including handmade soap, reusable snack bags, scarves, and toques.

Friday December 20th there will be a special Treetop Tale celebrating the winter solstice. Bring a lantern or flashlight. 11-11:30 a.m., suggested donation $2. 


Holiday events at the Library


The Lynn Valley Branch of the North Vancouver District Library has two special Fridays in December. On Friday Dec. 13 from 1-3 p.m. there is Cider and Songs. Join the Argyle Secondary choir and sip some sweet cider – all ages are welcome. December 20th from 3-5 p.m. children are invited for a Crafternoon! Drop-in and get creative and festive. 

Celebrate Noon Year’s Eve! That’s right noon! Why stay up or wait for midnight? Kids of all ages are invited for songs, stories and dancing and of course a countdown! This is a great way to celebrate with the whole family. Dec. 31, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.


Play, play, play


Our definite favourite is the North Van Rec Pool and Play pass. It will cover you for a full two weeks of activities for just $5.25! Children aged 6 mos – 18yrs can enjoy unlimited access to public swimming, skating and open gymnasium sessions during the winter school break. The pass is on sale now and is valid Friday, December 20, 2019 – Sunday, January 5, 2020

There are also other great programs running through North Van Rec. Take part in Crafts and Carols at Lynn Valley Village Sundays Dec. 8 and 15 from 3-5 p.m. There is also a toddler Cookies and Carols evening at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Lynn Valley Rec Centre – registration required. 


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.

Good Neighbour 2019 – Matina Spiropoulos

We say it over and over. We love Lynn Valley. Sure, the trees are great and the trails fantastic but what makes Lynn Valley our home is the community of people. We are so proud to shine the light on the good work that happens throughout the year. This year we are excited to announce Matina Spiropoulos as our Lynn Valley Life Good Neighbour!


Spreading the love


Matina has her hands involved in so many aspects of our community – not just Lynn Valley but also across the North Shore. She is a connector. A community needs people with vision of its entire being; someone who knows what is needed and has the willingness to organize those with resources to help. Take this year’s partnership between the Mollie Nye House and Argyle Secondary. Matina connected the sewing class to help with much needed updates. 

She is a year after year supporter of the Mollie Nye House and has joined the board of the Lynn Valley Services Society. She is the chair of the marketing committee as well as the vice-president. She loves the cross-generational support it provides to Lynn Valley.

“Matina is passionate about our community and goes beyond the call of duty,” said Maria Roney, operations manager for the LVSS. “Whether she is fighting for change to protect our natural resources, volunteering at the many community events or developing and executing a social media plan for Mollie Nye House, she does so energetically and with passion and commitment. She is a true asset to Lynn Valley and the North Shore.” 

Matina’s work extends to those younger as well. She has been an important part of the Argyle Parent Advisory Committee. Helping with a variety of fundraisers and representing Argyle’s PAC at the district level. 

She is also passionate supporter of music – for years spearheading the open mic Sunday Jam at the Lynn Valley Legion (supporting also as a member). This is a resource to musicians across the North Shore. 


Beyond Lynn Valley


Reaching beyond our little neighbourhood, Matina volunteers with the District of North Vancouver on the Community Services Advisory Committee. This is a volunteer driven committee that reviews grants submitted to the DNV. She discusses, with the committee, social and cultural concerns that affect the quality of life in the municipality. Last month also marked a milestone for countless hours of lobbying Matina invested in bettering our parks and environment. She was a key voice in the fight to have all types of smoking/vaping banned in ALL district parks and greenspaces.  

Also this year, Matina has become an ambassador for Foundry BC, She helps increase awareness of Foundry and its services to support mental illness (ages 12-24). She liaises between community and Foundry at booth events throughout the year to help reduce stigma and increase community engagement.

“Matina has a passion for our community and supporting the work that many of us do,” said Nicole Kennedy, prevention educator for Foundry BC- North Shore. “She is dedicated to ‘getting the word out,’ informing community  members (at events) of how to access services, and always has a bright smile on her face. We are truly lucky to have her as a volunteer with Foundry North Shore.

We are so lucky to have Matina investing in Lynn Valley and beyond – thank you for the hours and hours contribute to so many parts of our community and beyond. Congratulations on being our 2019 Good Neighbour. 


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.

(from the archives) The End of the Line: From family dream to neighbourhood gem

It began as a mom’s big idea. Connie Fay saw a chance to create a business that would matter – and with her son Jamie graduating high school she had the perfect business partner to do it with. In 2005 they bought the rundown corner store at Lynn Valley Road and Dempsey and dug in to begin The End of the Line General Store.


A place for neighbours


Jamie Fay

“It’s better than we ever envisioned,” says owner Jamie Fay. “I never expected to have an impact on the community. People say we are like an extension of their living room. We see families grow up. I’ve seen kids who were knee high and now they are teenagers – and I know their grandparents.”

The idea of creating a neighbourhood meeting place has been shown in research to foster connection and create a stronger sense of identity. It’s an idea that rings true for the Fays – respecting and supporting Lynn Valley and the North Shore is essential to The End of the Line’s success.

“It is everything we do,” said Fay. “We have JJ Bean Coffee. We have artist Vicki English – she lives a block away. Local suppliers reinvest in our community. It draws locals in because we get specialty products first and tourists can get something that will remind them of here.”

Investing in local goes beyond suppliers. You may recognize neighbours behind the counter and see the general store supporting Lynn Valley fundraisers. 

The End of the Line is opening its doors for two evenings in December to say thank you to all the neighbours that frequent their store all year long. [UPDATED FOR 2019] Nov. 28 and Dec. 3 from 6-9 p.m. join local vendors and many others for a customer appreciation night.


Making a dream reality


The transition from corner store to a thriving neighbourhood amenity wasn’t always smooth. Learning as the mother-son team went meant squeezing in part-time school while running a small business which led to challenges. 

“We knew we had to be committed and we would learn from our mistakes,” said Fay. “I didn’t know about running a cafe or a coffee shop. I didn’t know about managing people.”  For him it also meant learning to say “Yes.”

“A small business has to jump on opportunities. There is no time to wait. While I was attending BCIT I was approached to do some promotion for the business school,” he said. 

That shrewd move came as the business itself was coming into its own. They continued to embrace the “general” in their name by consciously offering something for all ages and to make the cafe feel comfortable and inclusive for all, said Fay. 

“Three to four years ago was a definite turning point,” said Fay. “It has taken a lot failure to perfect this craft.”

Fay attributes the ideal location as being essential. For more than a hundred years a store has been operating at the same location – first serving the loggers that gave birth to Lynn Valley. When the Fays took over the location they honoured the past, drawing the store’s name from its location near the historic last trolley stop from a line linking the headwaters to Lonsdale Quay. Today, without the parks nearby they wouldn’t have the visitor traffic.

“When a tour bus pulls up and they all want to use our bathroom that can be hard,” he said. “But I think most people see we are small and grab a coffee or we know they will remember us for their next hike and stop by for a snack. If we weren’t at this corner we wouldn’t be as successful. We know it’s the location.” 

With year over year sales increasing, the Fays have more plans for the future. They want to continue growing and evolving into what the neighbourhood needs. For 2018:

“I want to continue to make it better,” said Fay. “And maybe go on a vacation.”

For details on the Nov. 28 and Dec. 3, 2019 Customer Appreciation and Holiday Shopping Nights visit The End of the Line on Facebook.


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.