Cheering for the world championships

Argyle athletes at the top of their game are hoping to head to world championships in 2025. Year after year the Argyle Cheer team tops the provincial rankings. The current roster is fundraising to return to the World Championships in Florida to take on more competition. 

Taking on the world

The halls of Argyle Secondary are quiet in the mornings.  A lone staffer is slowly making their way through the halls and a PE teacher heads outside to prep for soccer practice. The facilities are dark. As the clock turns over to 7 am a wave of energy enters the building and moves swiftly upstairs. The Gold Cheer team begins the well-practiced routine of setting up the gym and in minutes is stretching for the morning practice. 

The Sea to Sky regional and provincial champion team is looking to take on the world in April 2025.

“It’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” said co-captain grade 11 student Melika Doust. “It’s hard to stay motivated when you don’t have competition. It can even be hard for the judges [in local competitions]  to evaluate our team because there isn’t really anything to compare us to.”

Co-Captains of the Gold Cheer Team

The world championships are beyond an essential goal, says co-captain Ella Waite, Grade 11. The event draws over 10,000 athletes from 25 countries in a range of divisions. It is inspiring to merely attend, says Waite.

“One of the coolest things about Worlds is that all competitions are at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World and I have watched the stunting there online,” said Waite. “I am thinking of the people that stood on that same mat before me, the success I watched it it was the same place, on the same mat, standing at the same spot as me. It’s inspiring.”

It’s a mega-competition unlike any other Darren Rath, Argyle Secondary School athletic director, has seen throughout his high school and university coaching careers. Argyle has attended World in the past, in 2023 bringing home the bronze.

“I was taken aback at the sheer size of the competition,” said Rath. “There are so many different levels. On the day of the event, more people come through the complex than through the gates of Disney World. It’s so big, that Disney World extends its hours just for athletes so they can focus on competition during the day and enjoy the rides after the finals. They don’t do that for just anyone.

“This is an important motivation for the athletes to achieve their goals and keep them pushing to be the best,” said Rath. “Worlds will allow them to finally measure themselves against their own level and be inspired by the all-star teams.”

For the athletes, there is an additional point of pride.

“I think there is more to it when you are representing your country, not just your school and coaches,” said Doust.

Hard work for success

Argyle Secondary has been a leader in cheer for decades, said Rath. 

“All the coaches who have been running the program from the late 90s have created something really healthy that the girls buy into,” he said. “They have fostered such a positive, inclusive environment that promotes great teamwork. The coaches create opportunities for anyone who wants to be involved.”

Interest at Argyle is so strong there are two cheer teams. The green team is for beginners and the gold team is a higher level of competition, said Doust. When available gold team members are expected to help coach and mentor the green team. It fosters a pathway to progress for those new to cheer and a culture of support, said Rath. 

“It’s a lot of hard work but I know I can rely on these girls on the mat and off,” said Waite. “It takes discipline to practice this much, and still be a strong student. I know I can’t hang out sometimes.”

These are lessons Doust thinks will have big returns later in life. 

“You have to learn to be accountable to yourself,” she said. “Cheer is 10% physical. We practice a lot and it all comes down to muscle memory and it’s 90% mental. You can’t have doubt or hesitation.”

Argyle’s results have been speaking for themselves for years but the captains say that hard work isn’t always given the respect it deserves and attending worlds is an opportunity to feel validated. 

“At school, cheer is under-acknowledged as a sport,” said Waite looking over at the trophy cabinet. “The Worlds cheer trophy is sitting there on the bottom shelf. This is mostly all women competing, coached by women. It should be showcased as empowering women athletes at the school.

“It shows a lot of determination to practice four days a week and compete. Going to Worlds is a chance to show off that hard work.”

Community support

Heading to Worlds is a big endeavour that requires a lot of fundraising, parents school and community support. Costs are estimated at $4000 per athlete. The fundraising is typically pooled. Athletes also volunteer at community events to raise the profile of the team and in partnership with the Lynn Valley Lions.

“There are some athletes who can’t afford such a big commitment financially,” said Doust. “We have team members that have jobs and school who can’t fundraise at the same level. We also have families where the athletes are getting jobs to support the trip. We want people to not be limited by their resources so the team fundraising is pooled.”

They have several fundraisers – including Neufeld Farms –  in the works and the team is looking for community sponsors. To support their efforts or to be looped in for future fundraisers email the parent fundraising coordinator. 

“It’s a fantastic program, within the group there are a number of girls with a lot of self-confidence and they use that to empower others. You see a different side of their personality that may not come out in school.”

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 rising with baking bread

A little flour, salt and water are helping Lynn Valley grow. From a pandemic project to community building, Eva Lee has been learning the ins and outs of baking sourdough and sharing her successes and lessons to help others rise.


Like many people during the pandemic shutdowns, Lee shifted to work from home and was making her circle small. With extra time on her hands, along with a couple of friends, Lee restarted working on a goal to master sourdough bread.

“I thought it was going to be easy peasy,” laughed Lee. “It’s really hard!”

Eva Lee, left, at a cooking class.

Armed with a starter from an artisan market, a previous lesson and lots of information online she thought that in no time there would be bread on her table.

“There is a lot of information online but it’s so confusing,” she said. “In hindsight, I think I made it more difficult than it is by trying to add whole grains – like rye and buckwheat.”

It was a learning curve that had her going through jars of starter and bags of flour. With day-to-day contacts mandated to be low, Lee turned to the Lynn Valley Buy Nothing Facebook group (an online community that offers and asks for goods and services instead of traditional commerce) to share her newfound abundance of bread.

“I was making bread every day, and so I started giving it away almost every day,” she said. “This was a community I loved and I wanted to share. Bread is a good way to give back.”

Community rising

Lee continued on her path to mastery and was feeling confident after four or five months. 

“Once you understand it, sourdough is not ridged. It can be very forgiving using the fridge to slow fermentation and I learned that it can be dictated to my schedule.”

With loaf after loaf being dropped off on doorsteps to the Buy Nothing members throughout Lynn Valley, Lee’s reputation as a baker was rising along with the dough. People began seeking her guidance. As health mandates lessened, Lee began to plan a class.

For Tanya Verret it was a chance – and a challenge – she was intrigued by.  

“When I first moved to Lynn Valley Eva was always offering bread,” said Verret. “She was so generous, she would come by and pick something up and she would leave a beautiful loaf of bread.”

The challenge of baking bread felt intimidating to Verret as she continued to heal from a traumatic brain injury (TBI). 

“Learning a new skill is challenging,” she said. “I have never baked bread in my entire life. Sure, maybe a banana loaf here or there, but never, ever bread. I’ve eaten a lot ”

Lee’s class did much more than teach her the basics of sourdough baking. 

“I don’t think Eva understands what she has given to the community,” said Varret. “She is a magical woman who has the ability to bring people together. She has given me this skill but it is so much more than that. She has given me confidence and the ability to be calm and in the moment.”

Simple flour, salt, water and Lee’s support have been ingredients that have helped Verret rise along with her dough.

“With a TBI things can be hard, Eva has given me a gift – and it’s having a real impact,” she said. “I make bread every week. I usually give away a loaf every time I bake. I feel lighter. I haven’t felt proud of something I have done in a long time. I learned something new, and it’s something that helps take care of my family. It’s amazing.”

Breaking bread

After a couple of classes, Lee appreciates some of the unintended benefits of sharing her love of baking. 

“It’s hard to meet people and during the pandemic, it was even harder,” she said. “Most of the people who came to the first class ‘knew’ each other online. It was a chance to finally meet in person through a common interest.”

Lee supported bakers after the class offering more opportunities for connection through a Facebook group to ask questions and share the bread challenges and support. This led her initial students to help out her second class. 

“I loved helping out. It was wonderful to see how Eva had honed her teaching skills and advanced. The first was great but she is so thoughtful and intentional that she is working to make it even better” said Verret. “She is so gentle and encouraging and makes her students believe they can do this. Eva really is magic.”

While the classes are still infrequent and informal, and her bread deliveries are a little less common as she refines her skills, Lee is leaving crumbs throughout Lynn Valley. 

“We are lucky to have the community we do,” said Verret. “Eva has given us a lot more than she knows – and I do tell her but I don’t think she quite gets how great she is – and how delicious her bread is.”

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.

E-cargo and active transportation sessions

The DNV is hosting active transportation information sessions highlighting its upcoming launch of an e-cargo lending program. Information sessions are throughout April & May and will be coming to Lynn Valley on April 20 & 21. 

Getting people out of cars

Active transportation plans for the DNV are geared to getting people out of their cars to take more trips on foot, on transit or by bike or scooter. 

“I think we aren’t moving fast enough at connecting projects,” said councillor Jordan Back. “We learned a lot about the impact on local residents with 29th Street but that has left us a little bit behind. We need more connected mobility lanes – what have been typically referred to as bike lanes – to get people to the places they want to go.”

It will also take a shift from car first to ‘car-light,’ says Back. 

Jordan Back and his family on a bike

Jordan Back

“It’s hard to imagine another way to get around,” said Back. “I drive a car when it’s needed but most of your everyday needs can be done by bike. Improving bike facilities like newer racks that any size bike can lock to and better lighting are also making it better.”

As the DNV engages with the public and council, Back thinks active transportation can be developed with a simple goal in mind.

“Safe routes are used more. One way to think about it is: if it’s safe enough for you to bring your young kids, it’s going to be safe for everyone else.”

Embracing e-bikes

One of the biggest changes making a ‘car-light’ lifestyle feasible in a hilly place like North Vancouver is the rise of and affordability of e-bikes. The DNV began exploring the idea of e-cargo bike lending library last year after a motion introduced by Back. 

“It’s moving ahead,” said Back. “I think it will be great especially now that we will be working with the city [of North Vancouver]. So many people will have the opportunity to see how it fits their life. Does a cargo bike physically fit in their space?” 

The larger bikes are popular in other parts of the world offering a more functional family-friendly form of transportation. Back says he hopes that making them available for a family to test drive will help them embrace this newer form of active transportation. 

To learn more visit one of the DNV’s information opportunities throughout April and May. Two sessions will be at the Lynn Valley library from 11 am – 2 pm April 20 & 21.

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.

LV restaurant expands to third shop

With almost 20 years under their belts as the owners of Lynn Valley’s Mr. Sushi, the Park family has opened their third restaurant and hope to have many more in the future.

From feeding family to feeding hundreds

When the Park family took over Mr. Sushi in 2006 it was a far cry from what it is today: a thriving business in an ill-fated strip mall. 

“When we first purchased the business back in 2006 it had a very humble beginning,” said Edward Park, CEO of Mr. Sushi. “It was so small that no more than three people could work in the kitchen. Sales were low. My father’s thought was if we didn’t make a lot of money, at least he would be making good food to feed his wife and two boys. We didn’t have the hope or vision we currently have.”

Last month Park left his 20-year career in health care to spend 100 percent of his time on the family business, just in time for Mr. Sushi to open its third branch in the Mt. Pleasant neighbourhood of Vancouver. They have a prominent spot at 2nd and Main Street. 

Park credits his father Chris’s knowledge and his brother’s customer service for their early success in saving the falling business.  

“We began to make things more efficient and we knew we needed to get to know our customers. Thank god my brother has a really good memory and likes to take care of customers. He remembered names and orders so we could really take care of our customers. We started putting their rolls and their orders on the menu – our regular customers helped us create our menu,” said Park, at the time he was a university student helping out when he could. “Lynn Valley was different in 2006 so almost all our customers were regulars. We have had little kids who grew up eating Mr. Sushi and are now married and bringing their own kids.”

Edward Park

Years later, some items have come and gone from the official menu but the original Lynn Valley restaurant still has a secret menu known to long-time Lynn Valley locals. 

“We have the Fire Chief Combo – the fire chief and the leaders at the fire hall would come almost every lunch and order the same things,” said Park. “So staff who have been with Mr. Sushi for a long time know the Lynn Valley Boys Combo, Lynn Valley Girls Combo, Argyle Combo – things like that.” 

Another insight bit of customer care and business savvy was to give customers a bonus bite. It was a tradition for more than 10 years to offer customers a free yam cone. 

“We weren’t really thinking about marketing but we want to make sure our customers left satisfied. It’s led to something interesting. The most popular roll at Lynn Valley is not a California roll or a Dynamite roll like at most sushi restaurants – it’s the yam roll – people love our yam roll.” 

Steady growth

From the small space at Lynn Valley Mall the Park family began to trust the lessons they had learned and think about expansion. The right opportunity to buy into a new development in Lonsdale led to the debut of Mr. Sushi Lonsdale in 2016. 

“It was a big leap. We partnered with the Business Development Bank of Canada and we were able to open Mr. Sushi Londsdale and seven years later we opened Mr. Sushi Main Street [Vancouver].”

But in those intervening years, like all small businesses, Mr. Sushi took several blows during the pandemic. Park says his experience in health care – specifically risk management gave the family confidence.

“We had made a smart decision, the family only wanted to expand if we owned the property and us being able to pay a mortgage instead of rent saved us during the pandemic,” he said. “We knew we must find an opportunity in this risk [the pandemic]. We invested in our online marketing and digital presence. We found ways to pivot and redefine who we are.”

Those decisions are paying off. The Mr. Sushi brand has captured a balance of aspirational eats and a warm welcoming space. It was also at that time Chris was looking at other opportunities – quality real estate for a restaurant. 

“We have approached Main Street like Starbucks and McDonald’s,” said Park. “We want locations to be owned by Mr. Sushi – like Mcdonald’s but easily replicated and owner-managed like Starbucks.”

The Park family hopes to have many more Mr. Sushi locations with the lessons learned from opening Main Street. From design to construction to technology they think they have developed a copy-and-paste model that will have them with future locations. 

“We have invested heavily in automation at Main Street,” he said. “We want to offer the same high-quality food with consistency at high volumes.”

They have mechanized much of the sushi-making process that will ensure if you order a roll for a table of one it will be the same as a catering order for 400. They are the first sushi restaurant to bring this type of production process to BC, said Park. 

“I took a call last week for an order there is no way we could have done without Main Street. It feels like there are more opportunities. My dad is visionary – this is all his idea.”

The heart is always Lynn Valley

But despite the outward push and vision, Park says his dad’s – and the entire family’s – heart will always be in Lynn Valley. Park has been a part of the Lynn Valley Services Society serving their board for years.  Even their logo was born here at the Lynn Valley Library while working with a friend who Park met during his time in the Canadian Navy many years ago. 

“We regret that we don’t have eat-in at Lynn Valley anymore. It’s too small to make it a worthwhile business but it’s my father’s pride. We miss that personal touch.”

He expects the Polygon development slated for the mall will give them two to three more years at that location. 

“We haven’t lost focus that we are doing what we are doing because of the customers in Lynn Valley and the great staff that support us. We are not leaving Lynn Valley. We don’t know what the future will look like but we want to be here and to give back to the community.”

With the family’s heart going strong in Lynn Valley, Park also says it’s the place to get their best dish.

“The dynamite roll in Lynn Valley is the best. Our Main Street and Lonsdale Dynamite rolls are good, but there is something about Lynn Valley – I think it’s the best in the world.”  

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.

New production reunites two LV actors

More than 10 years after their last performances at Argyle’s Buchanan Theatre, local actors Sam Fraser and Garth Phillips are taking to the stage again in a new production showcasing the diversity and community of theatre. 

The joy of theatre

Two local actors are hitting the stage this month in a new production called Sigma Acapella. They are part of a thriving local theatre scene that spans from Deep Cove to Hendry Hall to Granville Island and beyond. 

Garth Phillips

Garth Phillips

“If you want to participate in local theatre there is a place for you,” said Phillips. “If you go to Hendry Hall or to Deep Cove and talk with the productions going on there they will be thrilled to have you. You can volunteer your time, and use the opportunity to connect with other theatre people.”

Fraser agrees that local theatre is typically an open and welcoming environment. 

“I am someone who doesn’t get out much. I am on the autism spectrum and there is something so wonderfully freeing about going to a theatre environment where there is no judgment. Bias falls away and I can use the written script to express something, be different or try something new.”

Both actors use the word collaborative when describing the productions they are typically a part of. 

“I am a bit of a storyteller,” said Fraser, who has also published a number of written works. “Theatre is wonderfully collaborative – I love working with people to create a sort of escape for others.”

Sam Fraser in a suit with a cane.

Sam Fraser

Phillips views it as an essential part of community.  

“Theatre is bringing pieces of life together and putting them together in a new and interesting pattern, bringing them together with other people. Theatre by definition is a community thing: a community makes it, a community comes and watches it and it’s those stories from the community. I think community is the heart of theatre.”

Both Fraser and Phillips are only part-time actors, having recently completed graduate studies and pursuing training and education in animation/gaming, respectively. Like most of their theatre colleagues, they are fitting in this production amongst life’s busyness – continuing a passion that started at Argyle. 

“Garth and I actually met at Argyle. We would be in the same productions,” said Fraser.  “I had to dip in and out of theatre while I was off getting various degrees but I would do it when I could.”

The current Rushed Production musical was a reminder for Phillips too that theatre is a passion he wants to prioritize. 

“I hadn’t done a production in the longest time and going forward, I know I want to do more,” he said. “I love this. I love that as we are making this, the cast is also making each other laugh. I love the process.”

Typically Phillips would have been behind the scenes and Fraser on stage but for Sigma Acapella they are both taking on stage roles.

A musical with heart

The two local actors will take to the stage on March 18 for the original musical Sigma Acapella  by Annahis Basmadjian. 

“Basically, there is a frat house on the edge of a university campus that is on the verge of being torn down to make way for some very fancy, expensive student housing. The unofficial leader learns of a loophole in the university bylaws that says any society of the arts or humanities is going to be saved, so they have to convince the administration that instead of a rundown frat house, they are a musical theatre group. They team up with an on-the-edge-of-university fringe musical theatre group – the Nobodies,” said Fraser.

The Nobodies are marginalized people for various reasons: disability, gender, sexuality, mental illness, he said. The two groups decide to stage their own musical. 

“Think of any 90’s movie where they are trying to save the rec centre from being torn down by the evil mayor – this is a version of that,” all wrapped up in a warm, witty musical, said Fraser. 

“It’s heartfelt and silly,” said Phillips. “I think it will particularly resonate with anyone who feels they are outside of regular society. There are a lot of themes people can relate to.”

It’s the script that spoke to Fraser and his lived experience of having autism.

“I think folks who have felt at casting calls – or elsewhere in life – who feel overlooked because of societal barriers will connect with this production.” 

The 20-person cast has been working for over two and half months to get to the stage. It’s been a tight timeline. 

“It’s frantic at this stage but it’s all coming together and we are surprised by what we are accomplishing each rehearsal,” said Phillips. “It all falls into place, everyone is putting their all in.”

Sigma Acapella is written and produced by Annahis Basmadjian and composed by Sebastian Ochoa Mendoza. Fraser says Badmadijan has a way of capturing and voicing marginalized characters with empathy and authenticity. 

“She is always very conscious of those differences and she is trying to push forward marginalized groups. She is honest and respectful,” said Fraser.

The cast and crew are excited about the performances.

“This has been a lovely time,” said Phillips. “It’s a great group of people coming together.”

Sigma Acapella can be seen at the Jack and Darlene Poole Theatre, Arts Umbrella, (1400 Johnston Street, Granville Island) | Opening: March 18, 2024, with dates March 18-March 29, 2024 | March 18-20 @ 7:00 PM, March 22-24 @ 7:00 PM, March 26-March 29 @7:00PM, doors opening at 6:30 pm. Tickets are available now for $30.

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.

Spinning Guinness dreams

Last October Lynn Valley’s Heather McDonald kicked off a year-long challenge to get herself in the Guinness Book of World Records – one pedal at a time. As she approaches the halfway mark she is on pace to not only beat the record but also her original goal. 

I think I can, I think I can.

In 2021 McDonald decided to give spin class a try. She had low expectations: she had never done one, she wasn’t sure she could balance on a bike but was pleased it was stationary and she hated cardio.

“The classes were really hard and it really sucked,” she said. “But the more you go, the easier it gets. I was like wow – I am doing this! The studio was offering challenges and to stay motivated I gave one a try. Completing a goal felt really good.” 

That first year on the bike there was a big learning curve. 

“Anyone can do this. I literally hid in the back corner for six months. I could not find the beat. If people were up I was down. If they raised their right hand, I raised my left. It’s hard so everyone is focused on what they are doing and no one cares what you are up to. You just get better with time. Take it slow. It’s dark, you control how hard the bike is and you start where you are and get better.”

More than physical achievements, McDonald said she had a mindset shift and felt her self-confidence grow. 

“I was in my 40s and doing something new and it felt good,” she explained. “I went from a year before hating cardio to doing spin to thinking about other goals. I didn’t tell anyone about it. I looked up the record, sent off my application and planned to wait six to eight weeks to hear back.” 

She didn’t get time to second guess herself. Less than two weeks after filling on the form,  Guinness had accepted her plan to break the record for the most spin classes in a year. McDonald had another barrier she had to consider. Was she manic? She lives with bipolar disorder – a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).

“I didn’t tell anyone I was applying – I just did it. My first thought was am I manic?  Am I stable? This was so out of character that I checked in. I gave it time and applied and six months later I was intentionally planning and I was like – you’re good. [An athlete] is who you are now.”

As McDonald works through the attempt she wants to challenge the stigma that still surrounds mental illness. 

“I feel like as a society we are accepting of depression and anxiety – which is great but people hear bipolar and [gasp]. I would like to help get acceptance for more mental health. It’s part of who you are and does not define who you are.” 

As a busy working parent, her bipolar is far from the biggest challenge as she approaches the halfway mark of this year-long effort. 

“I work full time, I watch my nutrition, I have a teenager. Time management is the biggest challenge and sleep.” 

Working the plan

March 15 will be the six-month mark and McDonald is well past the pace she needs to hit 600 classes. The current world record is 585. 

“My goal is 14 a week. I did do 20 in one week and I won’t be doing that again. I thought it would be more about spin classes and less about clerical,” laughed McDonald. “The process is quite tedious. You have to record two to three minutes of each session which can be frustrating because the studio is dark and I had to figure out how to do it without disturbing other riders or the class. There is a logbook that has to be documented and signed by someone who works at the studio after every class. There will have to be two independent witnesses that watch the videos and look at the logbook and verify I did it. They want still photos as well. So, I will have to upload the 600 videos to their website for verification.”

With such an audacious plan, McDonald wanted to undertake the world record attempt at her home gym: Spin Society.  

“Instructors were super for it and so positive. The owner – I think – thought I was a lunatic and had practical concerns. They had questions about whether I was seeing a nutritionist, how I was preparing for it, was I listening to my body. They didn’t want me to be injured during a class.” 

Concerns address, it’s the same energy and support that got her through her first class at Spin Society that is carrying her through.

“I think what makes it about spin – whether or not it’s about a world record is the atmosphere. It’s the instructors, the other riders, the energy,” she said. “Spin can be a slog – good music makes such a difference.  Part of pushing through is using other people’s energy and excitement about how I am doing to cheer me on.”

She wrapped her 300th class – the halfway point – in the third week of February. Reflecting on how far she has come, McDonald is proud of another reflection. 

“Our generation – in our 40s – were raised on such horrible body image and expectations you were supposed to look a very certain way. I am riding next to 20-year-olds who are struggling in one class and it’s my fourth – it has helped me reframe how strong my body is and appreciate what my body does for me. I am strong.

Follow along with McDonald on Instagram as she continues towards her world record.

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.

Romer’s Fresh Kitchen sneak peek – and contest

Opening its doors soon, the new Romer’s Fresh Kitchen & Bar is the next venture from Lynn Valley icon Ron Slinger (formerly of the Black Bear Neighbourhood Pub) and fellow BC Restaurant Hall of Famer Kelly Gordon. Together with chef-partner Jim Romer and business partners Nate Dick and Justin Thompson, the new dining experience will serve up elevated food and beverages in the heart of Lynn Valley. And we are excited to offer you a sneak peek at the new restaurant before its doors officially open.

Raising the bar

With decades of experience behind Romer’s Fresh Kitchen & Bar, the new concept is building on the three existing Romer’s Burgers and giving a distinctly Lynn Valley spin with moody forest-inspired decor and an epic bar experience. 

“This is not the Black Bear. It won’t look or feel the same but it will have that same warmth,” said Slinger. “This will be an evolution beyond the other Romer’s paying respect to the North Shore. We embrace the dark green of the forest and are using murals to capture the images of the area.”

The new 150-seat restaurant is at Lynn Valley Centre on the large outdoor plaza allowing for a large 50-seat patio – with the goal to have it open 300 days a year. Dining and drinking outside will be available April 1st or sooner if the weather allows. 

“When you walk in the door there will be an oyster and sushi bar front and centre with 26 seats,” said Slinger. “We will have skilled bartenders – we are already working on some exciting drinks. The experience will be a step up from a neighbourhood pub with skills and suppliers, but it is still a place for everyone.”

The bar offerings include a sipping tequila list and eight taps. 

“The restaurant will feature a downtown cocktail experience far beyond the usual with a dozen unique hand-shaken cocktails some infused with smoke such as the smoky bourbon cocktail,” said Gordon. “There will be a dozen or more 90-point wines by the bottle and a selection of six- and nine-ounce glasses.”

Romer’s Fresh Kitchen & Bar will offer a daily brunch special starting at 10 am, as well as separate lunch and dinner menus. Known for its free-range BC beef and Alberta Wagyu burgers, Romer’s has won Vancouver’s Best Burgers five times with the Golden Plates. Covering everything from casual to premium steaks, a new edition for Lynn Valley is a brick oven for sourdough pizzas.  

“We want to welcome families. We will have a kids menu and sharing plates that will offer plenty of choices for families,” Slinger said. “The menu will be quite flexible – protein options. There is an entire section for vegetarian and vegan choices.”

The unique long space has allowed creative solutions. Along with the bar and patio, Slinger is most proud of two new skylights in the space to offer light towards the back. Lynn Valley locals may also recognize a few nods to the Black Bear.

Sneak peek

LynnValleyLife is excited to offer 10 couples a sneak peek of the new dining experience. Prior to the official grand opening, there will be three sneak peek services where diners will have an exclusive first taste of Romer’s Fresh Kitchen and support a good cause.

The offer to participate in a dry run for all staff from hostess to kitchen. You and a plus one will be invited to a Friday lunch or dinner or a Saturday lunch. Diners will be offered a random appetizer to share, a random main course, a random dessert to share and a beverage. Diners are asked to fill out surveys to provide feedback to improve the quality of experience. 

“We want constructive criticism,” said Slinger. “We need staff to practice all facets of service so you will be presented with a bill which will have a total of zero unless additional food or drink has been ordered. All tips – which are optional – are collected for donation to the ALS Society of BC. We – Romer’s Fresh Kitchen – will match all funds raised to double the donation.”

To enter a draw for one of the 10 invitations, for you and a plus one,  please fill out the form below. Winners will be contacted to confirm attendance.

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 institution gets a new look

There are more changes than just a fresh new look coming to Lynn Valley’s beloved breakfast spot – Tommy’s Cafe. New owners have plans to keep what makes patrons come back week after week while adding a more diverse menu and evening hours. Longtime manager Sara McDonnell is excited about the future.

The new and the same

There is a dramatic new bar as you enter Tommy’s Cafe. The dark new centrepiece bar, complete with keg taps, is balanced with a series of colourful murals circling the seating area. 

Perched on a stool, proudly looking at some of the updates, McDonnell is excited by the plans to come. 

“It’s a new year, new us!” she said. “This is a bit of an experiment but we want to be sustainable in this community. If we could be around for another 30 years – I would love it.”

She says the new owners recognize Tommy’s is what it is and that its fundamental relationship with its clients can’t change. 

“Lynn Valley needs a spot that is like a second home, somewhere the feels safe to hang out and spend time with friends,” says McDonnell. “We have been around a long time and don’t want to change what makes Tommy’s a favourite place but we wanted to take the success of brunch and create a similar energy for the evening.”

Starting mid to late February, there are plans to extend Tommy’s hours until 9 pm with the possibility of longer hours if customers want it.

“I think having more options to do things in the neighbourhood is a good thing,” said McDonnell. “I don’t want to head downtown after work, I want to hang out here in Lynn Valley.”

The new owners, Bhupinder Sing, Manish Gusain and Himanshu, are building on their success of a Robson Street restaurant.

Dinner hours and theme nights

There has been a good effort to learn about Lynn Valley and Tommy’s place within it. 

“I have a lot of hope, said McDonnell. “The brothers have listened and understood that Tommy’s is a unique beast and this is a unique town. We want to remember that it was this community that has made Tommy’s.”

Looking to creatively extend their hours with both an updated menu and entertainment options McDonnell is hoping to create an atmosphere where people gather to hang out and build community with familiar faces. 

“The changes aren’t just more food options,” she said. “I would like to have a few games, trivia nights, a small space for an acoustic set. I hope that live events will be a big thing. Lynn Valley needs space for more artists and musicians.”

The new owners are also doubling down on making its evolution family-friendly by offering a kids’ menu and a more inclusive menu to suit the full scope of dietary needs and desires. 

“We are playing with the idea of having an all-day breakfast – that is why people love Tommy’s,” she said. “We want customers to communicate with us. Are we going in a direction they want? Is the new menu working? We know Lynn Valley wants good food.”

McDonnell hopes they are offering Tommy’s a bright future but promises it will remain the place Lynn Valley loves.   

“We aren’t going to change the independent and creative vibe. We want it to be a cool, cozy,  fun place.”

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.

Your One Stop for 2024

Our LynnValleyLife office has brought together experts to help you take care of your home and life. Whether you plan to downsize, renovate your home, make that will you have been putting off or want to see how you can maximise your home equity, our team and office mates are your One Stop Shop for 2024. Please feel free to pop in to say ‘Hi’ anytime.


For more than a decade LynnValleyLife has been creating community. Our events and community website have been offering free family fun to all of Lynn Valley since 2011 but how we do all that is by being the local realty experts. 

Our team of Jim Lanctot, Kelly Gardiner and Melanie Buchart focuses on client and industry relations. 

They know the neighbourhood, the market and have extensive broker relationships to help buy or sell your home. If you are looking for a custom home Jim has extensive relationships with builders and plenty of experience supporting homeowners through finding the right lot and understanding the process to build your dream home. Kelly’s practicality is a welcomed change during the negotiating process. He fights for the best deal focused on client needs and budget, helping keep emotions in check. Melanie brings her real-life experience as a busy parent and understands you are being pulled in a hundred different directions. She excels at supporting buyers – especially those purchasing for the first time. 

“This is a great time to understand what the market looks like,” said Lanctot. “Home assessments just came out and mortgages have changed a lot in the last few years. We can help you understand what your home is worth and help you understand how its value fits with your family’s 2024 goals.”


The new year is an excellent time to get a bigger picture of your equity. Dave “MortgageDave” Bruynestyeyn is part of our One Stop Shop to help you maximise your 2024. If your mortgage is up for renewal this year, the market is completely different than it was three or five years ago. MortgageDave’s broker expertise is a resource worth leveraging. 


“A mortgage broker is an independent party that helps people arrange residential financing,” he said. “I love it because I don’t work for a bank – I work for the client. It is at no cost to the client. We are paid by the lender, so the only goal is to get the best deal for the client. You get all of my expertise and at no cost – it’s a no-brainer.” 

MortgageDave meets flexibly – in the Lynn Valley office, virtually or at your home. Unlike a bank, his access to a variety of mortgage options tends to help MortgageDave ensure clients have more stability within variable products. 

“It is tough on some of my clients on variable rates, some of my clients on variable rates saw payments almost double,” he said, adding he doesn’t like trigger rate products. Whenever possible, MortgageDave chooses to put clients with lenders that ensure payments rise with interest rates going up, rather than being hit with a significant trigger rate.


Another key arm of LynnValley HQ takes care of you when you need it most. Anyone who has had to make a claim knows the importance of having a local broker. David Fiteni, of Fetini Financial and Central Agencies Insurance Ltd, and his team know Lynn Valley and its unique needs. Is there a creek in your yard? A garage full of mountain bikes worth more than your car? 

“It might be standard practice when looking at home insurance to ask about jewelry or art. Here in Lynn Valley, I always ask ‘Do you have any bikes?’ I have never had someone who didn’t want to have their bike fully covered. Our job is to learn about you, your life and your needs to make sure, should you need it, you have protection,” said Fiteni. “As an insurance broker, it’s my job to find the right product to fit you, not fit you into a product. Our time and quotes are offered at no cost to you.”

The new year is a time to connect with a broker to address any upgrades or security enhancements that may affect your coverage or lead to a discount. Getting a quote from a broker ahead of your renewal is a no-obligation way to ensure your coverage meets your needs. Fenteni is a full-service broker who also offers travel, marine, personal and commercial insurance.


A new year on the calendar is a chance to take a look at your affairs. Connecting with Kay Manabe of Senju Notary at LynnValleyLife’s Mountain Hwy offices to take of yourself and your loved ones’ futures. 

“I believe it is important for everyone, whether they have assets or not, to have a will and the other documents you need,” Manabe said. “It’s a way of taking care of the people left behind. The fees and process to take care of a death without a will can be overwhelming in a tough time.”

In addition to a will, she recommends a power of attorney, a representation agreement, and an advanced directive (the latter two take care of your needs should you become incapacitated). Manabe says the process is easier when it’s done when everyone is healthy and happy. Decisions are easier made without the pressures of a crisis. 

~ Your Local One Stop Shop Team ~

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.