Easter Surprises!

It is with heavy – but wise – hearts we are not hosting our annual Easter Egg Hunt. It is not the time to bring together scores of families for an afternoon. Instead, we are having a contest that will win you a (physically-distant) visit from the Easter Bunny on Easter Monday – complete with some treats.


Egg-citing visit


The Easter will still be bouncing around Lynn Valley – just a little differently than years past. There is still a chance it will come for a (distant) in-bunny visit and drop of some treats – all you have to do is enter our art contest! We are offering three lucky winners a visit from the Easter Bunny on April 5!

We know not every child loves to colour, so we have expanded our contest to include a nature option – photograph your bunny creation and send that along. Check out some inspiration below:

  1. You can download the nature template here, the eggs here and the rabbit here.
  2. Drop off your entries at 3171 Moutain Hwy or email a photo or PDF to info@lynnvalleylife.com, Subject: Easter contest, include name, age, and contact number.
  3. Entries must be received by end of day March 31.

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.

Project Sunflower

It seems like 2021 is a great year to get Lynn Valley blooming again! With gardening booming we want you to save a little bit of space for Project Sunflower. We want to see the gardens, balconies, and patios bursting with sunflowers this fall! 


Sowing community spirit


We have got seeds and we want to share them with the gardens and pots throughout Lynn Valley. Do you remember a few years ago – eight years ago? LynnValleyLife.com helped families sow some smiles. Looking back this is one of our favourite community projects. It was such a joy to see the neighbours united in a bit of friendly garden competition and mutual appreciation.

As we plan for another summer spent close to home we will be launching Project Sunflower again!

We feel this project is perfect for sharing. We hope you will consider starting some seeds and delivering them to neighbours and friends. The goal to have as many patches of sunflowers blooming throughout Lynn Valley. 

Want this to be an opportunity to connect. Follow us throughout the summer on Instagram or Facebook to participate in our Virtual Fall Fair contests where we will have some prizes for Project Sunflower participants. 


How to get involved


Quite simply, fill out the form below and we will get you some seeds. Share if you’d like and make Lynn Valley Bloom.

Sunflowers should be direct-seeded in the garden from mid-April to mid-May, after all risk of frost has passed. They aren’t too fussy about the soil (though it shouldn’t get water-logged), and they love to be in as much sunlight as you can offer them. For some good sowing and growing tips, check out the West Coast Seeds advice here.


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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.

Spring Break 2021

Spring Break will look quite a bit different than last year and even more different than 2019. Last year organizations were dealing with uncertainty and a hastily applied lockdown. While the options for Spring Break activities offered are fewer in 2021, they are thoughtfully crafted with safety in mind. The odds of outdoor spaces being shut down is also slim – giving kids a chance to play on playgrounds, skate parks, and trails. We have put together some options for Lynn Valley adventures – virtual and outdoor.


Lynn Valley Ecology Centre


Coming up for Spring Break the Lynn Valley Ecology Centre is back with its Wildlife Weeks! The naturalists at the centre have prepared a number of fantastic virtual programs, a scavenger hunt and a handful of in-person camps, plus the centre is extending its mid-week opening hours. 

The Centre will be open for Spring Break from 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday, with its weekend hours remaining noon – 4pm. 

“We are kicking off March with a scavenger hunt and a colouring contest,” said Cassie Allard, Ecology Centre education programmer. “Taking place inside, kids can look around to solve clues. The colouring contest is also available online and can be dropped off during opening hours or emailed to ecocentre@dnv.org.”

During Wildlife Weeks – March 15-26 – there are seven family-friendly virtual presentations. 

“These are going to be great,” said Allard. “We have Lynn Valley’s Tom Flowers – a local dad and Capilano University biologist – who will be taking us from Africa to BC showcasing fascinating birds. We will also [virtually] visit the Oceanwise Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. In another David Wong will join us with his frogs and families will learn how they can help local amphibians.”

The programs last 30-60 minutes and are geared for children six and up and should interest the whole family, said Allard. A donation of $3.50 is suggested per person or $6 per family. Registration links are here

Check out:

  • NIGHT FLYERS

Monday, March 15, 2021. 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Join biologist Danielle Dagenais from the BC Community Bat Program. Learn about the threats to bats and how you can help the bats living around your neighbourhood.

  • THE GREAT GATHERING

Tuesday, March 16, 2021. 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Join wildlife photographer Liron Gertsman for a virtual exploration of British Columbia’s coastal ecosystems above and below the surface.

  • FANTASTIC FROGS

Wednesday, March 17, 2021. 10:30 am to 11:30 am

Join David Wong, “the frog guy” for a virtual talk about amazing amphibians.

  • CITY SALMON

Monday, March 22, 2021. 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Take a virtual journey with “outdoor storyteller” Fernando Lessa into the watery world of Vancouver’s rivers and streams

  • TALES OF A BIRD BIOLOGIST

Tuesday, March 23, 2021. 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Join Dr. Thomas Flower on a journey to a desert island off the coast of Africa, the Kalahari desert, and meet some sneaky Steller’s jays in BC’s coastal rainforest.

  • FLOURISHING OCEANS

Wednesday, March 24, 2021. 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Take a deep dive into marine mammal rehabilitation with Emily Johnson of the Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. 

  • WILD ABOUT BEES

Friday, March 26, 2021. 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Learn how to identify our mason bees, discover what makes their life cycle so fascinating, and build a bee house. Materials needed are listed on the Eventbrite page.

The Centre is also offering three in-person camps for children ages five-eight. 

“The camps take place completely outside and we have reduced the number of children to a maximum of six,” said Allard. “They are lead by enthusiastic naturalists and focus on fun, being active and learning about local plant and wildlife.”

She reminds participants to be ready for all types of weather that can change quite quickly in Lynn Canyon. Layers are great, she said. More details on Boisterous Birds, Forest Friends and Pollinator Party can be found here.  

There is one more offering that has recently opened at the Lynn Canyon. After several years of planning is a self-guided nature trail. The trail takes 15-30 minutes and uses a booklet ($3) available at the Ecology Centre. It begins to the left side of the centre and goes past almost all the park’s common trees and shrubs. 


More Lynn Valley options


Escape Adventures

The crew from Escape Adventures has put together Covid-19 protocols and an (almost) full roster of Spring Break camps. The camps for the smallest riders (3-5 years) are on hold because they require close contact. There are four camps running this March, and some have a number of different time slots. This late in the game the camps are full but there are waitlists available if you are looking for a last-minute possibility. 

Kudzu Studio

Jeri Sue Engen has pivoted to offer virtual camps this Spring Break. She has put together one-hour classes for kids and teens. Her classes feature a range of subjects and materials. Engen’s reputation for engaging, age-appropriate classes extends well beyond her roots in Lynn Valley. Details on her Spring Break programs can be found here

North Vancouver District Library

The NVDPL has added a handful of virtual programs for Spring Break focusing on cooking. There are two Teen Cook Alongs with Chef Mark March 18th and 25th. Whether you’re a whiz in the kitchen or a cooking novice, teens are invited for an afternoon of side-by-side kitchen help. Participants will receive a list of ingredients beforehand, and the library can assist in providing ingredients as necessary. Open to ages 12-18. Chef Mark of Crisp Cuisine has been a chef for 15 years. Details can be found here

The whole family is invited to join the NVDPL in helping the BC Parks Foundation rally kids of all ages in our community to become citizen scientists and take on the Foundation’s challenge to post the most observations in Canada. Becoming a NVDPL citizen scientist is simple: upload observations using iNaturalist and complete a NVDPL Nature Challenge activity booklet. Children have a chance to win a book prize. Details are here


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.

Mountain Market gives back

For more than 15 years Mary and Steve Choi have been doing business on Mountain Hwy – Mountain Market is an institution in Lynn Valley. Looking to brighten up your spring Mary is joining us with a flower giveaway.   


A community needs corner stores


Whether it is spending your hard found pocket money as a child or hopping out of your car to grab flowers or a desperately needed loaf of bread – a neighbourhood needs corner stores.

We have a few in Lynn Valley but the classic remains Mountain Market. For today’s parents, it is nostalgically frozen in time, a reminder of childhood 30 years ago. For local students, it’s essential to meet their daily “nutritional” needs. For families, many an occasion is celebrated with Mountain Market’s beautiful bouquets.

The Choi’s have been behind the counter of Mountain Market since 2005 – their kids growing up alongside. Frequently Mountain Market is fondly referred to a simply Mountain Mary’s. In those years they have been supportive of local causes – remember that amidst the early pandemic, dwindling shopping numbers, they stepped up to donate a trunkload of flowers to graduates of Argyle Secondary.


Community Blooms


Mary is back at it. She would like to make some homes a little bit brighter. As we flip the calendar marking one year of Covid-19 restrictions Mountain Market would like to recognize the hard work and sacrifice of our frontline and health care workers. For the month of March, they will be giving away two small arrangements each week – one for you and one to give to your Covid-19 hero.

We will be drawing a winner each week. Winners will need to pick up their arrangements at Mountain Market. Draws will take place Friday mornings. If your name is not drawn, it will remain entered for future chances to win in March.

To enter, please fill out the form below.


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.

Blooming on Sunnyhurst

After an inspiring conversation with a friend, Lynn Valley’s Alexia Stack has decided to harness her blooming passion for gardening to support a local charity and brighten her neighbours’ days.


Growing some good


If you have walked through the lane behind Sunnyhurst Road you know it’s bustling with activity, from a Little Library to a physically distant, preschool Halloween street party. There is a lot of life happening on that small stretch of pavement. Resident Alexia Stack is going to do her part to make it a little more beautiful. Following her growing success as a gardener, she will be offering flower bouquets and seeds from her new farmstand – all to support the North Shore Crisis Services Society

“I wanted to do it last year but I didn’t have a purpose beyond brightening up the days,” said Stack, a mom and behaviour analyst supporting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. “Over the holidays I was thinking of a plan to donate the proceeds. I have a friend who has been supporting seniors in care homes through the pandemic and she inspired me and helped me think of it from a different perspective of what I could do and where the money could go. When I got the plan in place, I got really motivated to get started.”

She has been busy packing seeds to be the first offers at the new stand. She hopes to kick off sales – by donation – Family Day weekend. The stand will be located in the lane behind 3185 Sunnyhurst. 

“I will start with seeds available – I have sunflowers, poppies, cosmos, pincushions, and I will be harvesting once or twice a week in the summer and putting together bouquets in the alley. 

The box will be locked and a clear sign of where the donations are going – but you don’t have to donate but all the money is going to go to charity,” said Stack. “I think a lot of issues go unspoken about on the North Shore, we live in a really privileged place and things like domestic abuse are pushed under the rug and swept away. We don’t necessarily see it in the community. I think it’s an issue that is present and we can support locally here in the neighbourhood.”

Stack will post updates in local Facebook gardening groups sharing the stand’s offerings throughout the growing season. 


Just get your hands dirty


The thriving garden takes place in a small footprint – six beds surrounding her townhome. Stack said her success is rooted in trial and error and lots of learning with her former neighbour Tracy Romano.

“I wasn’t a gardener when I was younger – I had two black thumbs for sure.”

Eleven years into her self-education Stack loves getting her hands dirty.

“I love to get my hands in the soil,” she said. “I think it surprised me how good I felt working with soil. I have this tiny garden – just six garden beds but I feel so much more connected and grounded when I can get out and work with the earth.”

A feeling she thinks others could benefit from. 

“Growing a garden in whatever space you have keeps you moving in the direction of tomorrow: a fresh start, a new hope for something better, a belief life is ever-changing,” said Stack. “This belief is helping me make my way through this never-ending pandemic.”

For her – and most gardeners – the first step is planning. Pouring over seed catalogues and schedules. 

“I have already planted sweetpeas inside my office since the beginning of January,” said Stack. “This year over the holidays I used photos that I cut out into small squares and I have put together almost like a quilt that I have pasted into my garden book so I have a clear visual of where things are going to go and I have the dates assigned so I know when to plant. I am pretty keen with the schedules so usually go with the first suggested date of planting.”

She recommends poppies, sweetpeas, cosmos, and dahlias for the budding flower gardner. This year’s focus for Stack will be to encourage density and to extend the blooms throughout the season. 

“I also look at annuals that benefit from being cut, there are a whole bunch of flowers like sweetpeas that live to be cut and produce more and some like pincushions that just thrive,” she said.  

For more inspiration and to get updates of Stack’s farmstand join the two North Shore garden groups 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.

Speculation tax for 2021

For the third year, the province has sent out its Speculation and Vacancy Tax declaration forms. Our area was scheduled to have them mailed early February, so you should have received it. All homeowners must declare by their status by March 31. If you have declared before, you still have to declare again this year, even if there is no change to your information.


Money, money, money


The program shows 99.9 percent of British Columbians are exempt from the tax. In the 2019 tax year (second year of the program) $88 million of revenue was generated, with 92% of the revenue coming from foreign owners, satellite families, Canadians living outside BC and “other” non-BC resident owners. The government had originally estimated it would receive $185 million for that period.

The speculation and vacancy tax rate varies depending on the owner’s tax residency. In addition, the tax rate varies based on whether the owner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, or a satellite family.

For 2019 and subsequent years, the tax rate is:

  • 2% for foreign owners and satellite families
  • 0.5% for Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada who are not members of a satellite family

The speculation and vacancy tax applies based on ownership as of December 31 each year.

B.C. owners are eligible for a tax credit of up to $2,000 on secondary properties to offset their tax payable. The credit is limited to $2,000 per owner and $2,000 per property (in the case of multiple owners) per year.

The speculation and vacancy tax applies based on ownership as of December 31 each year.

If a residential property has multiple owners, tax is divided among each owner based on their ownership share. For example, if you and your spouse are equal owners of a residential property in a taxable region, you’ll each owe tax on 50% of the home’s assessed value.

Exemptions are based on how each person uses each residential property. If you’re the co-owner of a residential property in a taxable region and are exempt, but the other owner isn’t exempt, the other owner will have to pay tax based on their percentage ownership of the residential property as listed with the Land Title Office.

All owners on title of a property must complete the declaration in order to claim an exemption or to determine eligibility for a tax credit. Owners are exempt from the tax if it is their principal residence, they rent it at least six months of the year, they are disabled, the property was just inherited, it’s valued at less than $150,000, or a person was away and it was vacant due to medical reasons, residential care, work or spousal separation.


New exemptions


How to declare

The fastest and easiest way to declare is online. If you can’t declare online, you can declare over the phone. Call 1-833-554-2323 toll-free and they will help you complete the declaration. Translation is also available at the above number. If you have not received your letter, the province asks you to also call the number above. 

What you need

  • the speculation and vacancy tax declaration letter, which includes:
    • Your Letter ID, Declaration Code and other information you need to declare
    • A list of all the residential properties you own in the designated taxable regions
  • your social insurance number (SIN)
  • your date of birth

Ooops I forgot

If you miss the deadline or forgot to declare by March 31 you will receive a tax notice charging you the tax at the maximum tax rate. However, all is not lost! You can still complete your declaration to claim an exemption even after you’ve received a tax notice.

Timeline

Speculation and vacancy tax letters were mailed to North Vancouver Feb 4-5, 2021.

  • Jan 18, 2021 – declaration period opens
  • Mar 31, 2021 – declaration due
  • Apr-May 2021 – most tax notices mailed
  • Jul 2, 2021 – tax payment due

Mental wellness in the time of covid

As the Covid-19 pandemic marches on, we wanted to take a break from our usual neighbourhood boostering and take on a more direct approach to check-in and ask ‘How are you doing?’

The community has been in a state of anxiety and stress for almost a full year. It feels exhausting to be constantly on edge or without control. As we all move forward too, the team at LynnValleylife.com wanted to share some FREE, low-barrier options to support your mental health. If you are thinking of suicide or self harm call 911 or 1-833-456-4566 toll free, 24/7 or visit www.crisisservicescanada.ca.


More than self-care


For many people stepping back and taking a bath or a hike isn’t going to be enough to recharge your batteries and refresh your mental wellness. Figuring out what you need and how to get mental health support is another exhausting task. The first step is to have a chat with your family doctor – if you don’t have one, visit a walk-in clinic you trust and feel supported at. 

Programs to support families and kids

Parenting is hard. Teaching is hard. Working is hard, and now you are doing all three, all day – everyday. Confident Parents, Thriving Kids is a free program (referral required) that supports families. There are two streams for the program – one to help with behavioural challenges and the other to help support children and youth with anxiety. This is a program that uses online modules and one-on-one phone coaching to support parents. 

Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre

Children’s Hospital has a wealth of resources for parents at the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre. From clinicians to covid support to peer compassion, there is a lot on offer here. The Parents in Residence (PiRs) offer non-judgmental, compassionate peer support to families, parents, and caregivers from anywhere in B.C. There are three PiRs who work at the Kelty Centre. They have lived experience as family members who have children and/or youth with mental health challenges, and provide support to parents and families. 

Child and Youth

The Ministry of Children and Family Development has Child and Youth Mental Health teams throughout the province. If access to private counselling is unaffordable or the waitlists are too long, you can visit (in person or virtually) an Intake Clinic. Locally, it is at 301-224 West Esplanade and does intake on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The intake interview will take about 45-90 minutes. Upon completion of this interview, you will be provided with information and details about the next steps and what to expect in the process.

Foundry

North Van has a Foundry Centre supporting youth 12-24. It provides access to access to mental health and substance use support, primary care, peer support and social services. It offers support to youth and parents virtually and in-person. To learn more about their services call The Drop-In Support Team Monday – Thursday  1 – 5 pm 604-984-5060 or email foundrynorthshore@vch.ca. If you are a youth in need of urgent support the Youth Urgent Response provides urgent and short-term services to youth ages 12-19 living in North or West Vancouver who are experiencing thoughts, feelings or behaviour and/or substance use which is seriously interfering with their daily functioning. They are accessible Monday to Friday 9:30 am – 7:30 pm – 604-230-0389. 

Youth and adults

Another accessible free option is BounceBackBC. It offers support for youth 15+ and adults dealing with anxiety and depression. The program is delivered online or over the phone with a coach, you will get access to tools that will support you on your path to mental wellness. The program is now self-referral and does not require a doctor’s visit. 

Online courses

There are a number of free online courses available through CMHA Kelowna’s Discovery College. The online programs are taught live with experienced facilitators. They tackle topics from Current Events (covid) to parenting to resilience and self-regulation. There are also programs specifically supporting youth. All programs are virtual and FREE. 


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.

Loving in Lynn Valley

There is a busy weekend coming up to celebrate all kinds of love. With back-to-back holidays of Valentine’s Day and Family Day, and ongoing requests to stay in your community, February is the perfect time to celebrate with homegrown activities, gifts and treats.


Valentine’s Day


This is a year parents might get off a bit easy. Most schools are sending notices downplaying Valentine’s events. In class treat exchanges are a no-go and it’s a class-by-class decision to paper Valentine exchanges. 

If schools are thinking outside the box, we have put together some options that go beyond chocolate to celebrate February 14th this year. 

MaxFrut

Lynn Valley’s Rizzo family is behind the local favourite frozen fruit bars MaxFrut. They are offering a special on kid-sized bars all dressed up for Valentine’s Day. The healthy, whole-fruit bars are made locally, have no artificial flavours and do not use sweeteners. They have boxes of 10 kids-size bars for $20 – they have lots of flavours on their website, plus you can try new, limited-edition flavour Chocolate & Peppermint. Order can be picked up in North Van or they offer free delivery on orders over $40. Email: sales@maxfrut.ca or text 778-708-3355.


Stuffies


Just down the hill from Lynn Valley, near Phibbs Exchange is the Stuffies Pastry Cafe. Based on the South Korean, filled, animal-shaped waffle-like Stuffies offers sweet and savory options. The pastries are vegan and gluten-free – our pick for Valentine’s are the sweet bears filled with jam or strawberry creme. They have many rotating flavours, plus larger treats. For a quick lunch they have options like ham and cheese and for a larger dessert, Stuffies has vegan soft serve in their fish shaped waffles. Yum. A dozen of the small treats starts at $8. 


Dessert in a box


Our newly discovered neighbourhood caterer Folia Events is offering two specials for Valentine’s – a limited-edition LOVE grazing box with a slightly pink and red theme and heart-shaped offerings, and a Valentine’s Dessert box – the perfect way to share some sweetness with your family this year. 


Can’t beat classic flowers


Twig and Plum Florists at Mountain Market have beautiful options for all kinds of Valentines. From the single rose to a beautiful bouquet from cheerful tulips to their usual stunning centerpieces. Drop by or send them an email to make a custom arrangement for your special someone. 


Family Day and Valentines – two days of love


The Black Bear Neighbourhood Pub has put together a special treat for Valentine’s Day and is inviting families in (until 9 pm) for Family Day (typical family hours are M-F 11 am-2 pm, Sat & holidays 11 am-4 pm and Sun 11 am-9 pm). For February 14th the Black Bear is offering a special of Lobster Linguini with the option of adding its Chocolate Nemesis. This feature was a major hit last Mother’s Day and it is delicious. Dinner and Dessert is $27.00 per person or  dinner alone is $22.00 per person. Of course, that is a Sunday so it is also Prime Rib night.

The District of North Vancouver Public Library is celebrating all kinds of love this month. Join its Stay Home and Read Book Club that is marking  February with the theme of Family, Friendship, and Love. This ‘club’ encourages you to settle in with a good book February 6, and connect on social media @nvdpl to show what you’re reading when you Stay Home and Read. You also find theme books featuring love and family on the book displays this month, plus a Zoom Valentine’s storytime Feb. 12 and a Family Day trivia night

For more Family Day Fun

For some neighbourhood family fun there is skating and swimming available at Karen Magnussen Rec Centre – but the spots do fill up fast so book NOW! 

The Ecology Centre is hosting, by donation, Nature Drawing. Learn how to draw some of the animals that live in the temperate rainforest, and hear more about them! Connect to the internet, bring paper and something to colour with (felts, crayons, pastels, or pencil crayons). Drawings will be simple and easy for the whole family to follow. Suitable for ages 4-10 but all ages welcome. While this program is free, the suggested donation is $2 to help them continue to offer these amazing programs from the Ecology Centre.

Enjoy some time family together: 

  • Trade board games or puzzles with another family or neighbour and try something new. 
  • Talk a wander through the woods looking for geocaches
  • Come up with a family random act of kindness plan – kids love to be sneaky – why not do it for good? Pick up some treats or coffee, write a heartfelt note and drop it off with a loved one or friend.
  • Do some green cleaning – while doing a family wander bring along a garbage bag and make the forest a bit cleaner as you go. 
  • Host a family quiz day – reach out to family or friends to create some Kahoots and take turns hosting. The site also has premade quizzes but more giggles are guaranteed from homemade ones. 
  • Online Pictionary – If you can Zoom you can play Pictionary! Set up a meeting and engage the “whiteboard” feature. Suddenly you are in the game! 

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.

Planting native plants is more than good ecology

A local conservation group offers local gardeners access to native plants, education, and a chance to actively engage in a form of reconciliation. Checking out the Wild Bird Trust’s Maplewood Flats native plant nursery is an opportunity to decolonize our landscape, support biodiversity, and reflect on the original stewards of the North Shore.  


Learning about roots


When Irwin Oostindie was a toddler he tagged along with his father, DNV’s parks manager at the time, Dirk Oostindie (a former Lynn Valley local with his own fascinating story),  to Lynn Valley Garden Club meetings. Underfoot and under his father’s care he learned the power of cultivating the earth. 

“I grew up in a Lynn Valley family that was about green spaces and gardening, so when I took on the responsibility of president of Maplewood Flats in 2016 I went about figuring out how we could up this nursery business,” said Oostindie. “We wanted to support people’s planting desires with native plants.”

The Wild Bird Trust was created in 1993 to oversee the Maplewood Flats lands. Today it remains the only nature reserve in Vancouver’s Harbour. In 2016, the board recognized some errors in management of the area. Despite being almost linked directly to Tsleil-Waututh First Nations’ land, their knowledge was never sought. 

“That was a mistake,” said Oostindie. “For the last five years, we have been repairing the relationship. The plants, the birds, and their culture are all connected. This is not a token gesture. We want to acknowledge there are other world views and approaches. The colonial world view of Lynn Valley – of North Vancouver – is broken because it required the daily alienation of the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish people. We want to decolonize this view – very publicly. You can be a part of it – with your family.” 

The shift in perspective will both be better for the community and our environment, he says.

“It’s a responsibility of settlers to think about history. We think of [Lynn Valley] as being a hundred or a 130 years old but that is such an erasure that these lands have been stewarded by the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh for millennia,” he said. “So when we use native plant materials we are repairing damage that our community has been unwittingly participating in.”

Oostindie is proud of the role the Wild Bird Trust is playing in repairing past community harms. 

“It is an opportunity to think about reconciliation in our own homes, in our own yards, or our own balconies. Think about plants and conservation as an entry point to think about First Nations issues. It’s a physical manifestation – it is something you can actually do to recognize the colonial roots of North Vancouver.

“Every time you plant a plant you can plant annuals or you can plant a plant that supports the original biodiversity of the area. It’s a step toward land repair and bio-diversity repair. It’s not something we need someone else to do, it is something we can do in our own lives.”


The Coast Salish nursery


Nestled east of the Iron Worker’s Memorial Bridge the Maplewood Flats Conservation Area is home to five kilometres of wheelchair-accessible walking trails. More than 250 bird species and 40 animal species have been observed within the area. The Wild Bird Trust operates a nature house and its nursery on the site. 

The Coast Salish Plant Nursery carries a variety of plants native to the North Shore. All purchases help support habitat restoration and educational programming on Coast Salish culture and ecology. October to March the nursery is open by appointment with the spring and summer offering regular sales on Saturdays. It’s a consumer choice that is about more than just buying a plant, said Oostindie. 

“We all love the tall trees, but biodiversity is also the shrubs, the insects,” he said. “There is traditional knowledge in huckleberries growing under cedar trees, and if we think about decolonizing our gardening techniques we open to the millennia of knowledge of the Coast Salish people who were masterful stewards of this environment.  

“Think about Lynn Valley being here for thousands of years, not 150 years. Through our plant sales and education programs we help people connect to place.” 

The Wild Bird Trust continues to offer education programming throughout the pandemic – online. Details can be found on Facebook or Eventbrite

“We are pretty bold with our online programming talking about decolonization, conservation,” said Oostindie. “We do programs twice a week – Thursday nights and Saturday mornings. There is always something for people to turn on that is high-quality outdoor education, and that is about 50 percent is with and by Coast Salish people.” 

Another pandemic pivot the Trust is proud of is being able to open its nature house to the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation outdoor school.

“One of my goals is that Tsleil-Waututh children know this is their land and that being on it is just normal to them. Ironically a silver lining of covid, has brought them here,” said Oostindie. “We hope they have a connection to this place that their parents were alienated from.” 

In May the Wild Bird Trust is hosting a Chief Dan George exhibit the public will be able to visit with covid-safe booking protocols. More information will be available soon. Keep an eye on their webpage and social accounts for details. To learn more about the plant nursery or for details on how to book a buying appointment visit this page


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.

Community Art Day

The pandemic pivot is leading to all sorts of innovation. A local artist who took her art lessons online in 2020 is inviting Lynn Valley to join her January 29 for a community painting party. Local artist Caroline Liggett has partnered with the United Way’s Local Love campaign to provide materials and instruction for an online class at the end of the month.


A real artist


Liggett’s journey to becoming an artist is echoed by the experience of many enduring the Covid-19 pandemic: she was dealing with grief. The busy working mom was rattled by the unexpected death of her sister in 2009. 

“A friend of mine suggested I journal,” said Liggett. “But I didn’t want to see the words of grief, I didn’t want to be reminded. I had taken a few painting lessons in the past and picked up my brush to see if I could channel all those feelings of anxiety, the pain of grief, into something beautiful.”

She connected with North Van’s Dene Croft as an instructor and mentor and began to paint. Years in she is prolific and is a teacher herself. From youth classes to adults she has been guiding individuals and groups through ongoing lessons and one-off painting parties.

“I hear from people all the time ‘I can’t paint’ or ‘I am not an artist,” she said. “I think to be a real artist all you need is a desire to create art – the rest is just learning. I think people are surprised by what they can do when they complete a painting.”


One stroke at a time


The desire to help others fall in love with painting did not end when the pandemic hit last spring. For some students, Liggett moved outside during the summer. For others, especially for her students with special needs, she worked with families to create learning spaces that allow for physical distance and masks. But for the majority, she turned – like most of us – to Zoom. She has even taught classes for a high school in Nanaimo all from the comfort of her studio. 

“I started with some groups I know, and then offered more classes in November,” said Liggett. “I think people wondered what they could create guided by a video but it was interesting, I had a former colleague of mine doing a class one Wednesday with her kids and her husband was wandering in and out of the kitchen. Then in my Friday class – for adults – there he was wanting to give it a try!”

Each week Liggett offers two classes, one to suit children (but any age is welcome) on Wednesday afternoons and an adult class on Friday evenings. Participants are provided with a finished image of the class painting to help inspire them, an accessible supply list and a link to the class. For a flat fee of $10 (kids classes) or $15 (adult class) anyone in the household can participate. 

“These classes are for the very beginner,” she said. “All you need is a yearning to paint. You don’t need 40 different colours. I have created a very limited palette of colours that you can find at Opus or Micheals. Depending on the painting I might paint along, but I have found that by breaking it down into four or five steps and being able to offer immediate feedback tends to work best. 

“And by the end of the two hours,” she laughs, “you have a masterpiece.”

She also puts together private events. Over the holidays Liggett worked with several families to lead a family event together while all in their own homes. She also has some dedicated clients who take a more social approach – more of cocktail and create – all of which can be done on Zoom, she said. 


Community Paint Party


Last fall the Greater Vancouver United Way launched a Local Love Campaign to foster connection within Lynn Valley during the pandemic. Residents could submit proposals for small grants to create an impactful project. Liggett was awarded a grant for a community-wide paint party to put together 30 supply packages for Lynn Valley residents. 

“I am thinking it will be birch trees,” she said of the design. “People could then ‘carve’ a name or some initials, a heart or something into the bark that was impactful to them during this time. I would really like some seniors to participate.”

To sign up or learn more about the Jan. 29th Community Paint (Online) Party visit Liggett’s Facebook page or email her.


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.