Healthy goodness Valley to Shore

Inspired by her own adventures in growing food led an Upper Lynn mom to take on the mission of providing local, quality produce to North Vancouver homes. All it took was meeting the right farmer to help launch Valley to Shore Harvest Boxes. 


Planting seeds


Healthy living and eating has always been a priority for Dana Dykema. When possible she buys local or grows her own food. 

“It’s been a journey of years for me changing how I think about food,” she said. “We don’t go on extravagant holidays because I have to feed our eating habit of buying farmer direct.”

That care for her own family led to Dykema to seek out a farm partner and launch a small business this past fall. 

“I was looking on Instagram and went down a rabbit hill when I saw the name Local Harvest. I thought: ‘Oooo I like that.’ I saw the trailer for a gardening course,” she said.  

Hooked by the quality of the online course, soon Dykema was making the trip out regularly to Dan Oostenbrink’s market garden farm. 

“I was going out to the [Fraser] Valley a lot to pick up what was seasonally available, to pick cherries, ” she said. “I have been frustrated with the lack of Fraser Valley produce on the North Shore. It’s so good and it’s right there. Why isn’t it in our stores?”

As she got to know Oostenbrink, and his family, and to experience the quality foods he grows, Dykema felt compelled to offer it to other families who might not have the time to source high-quality food. 


More than a box of vegetables


Last fall Dykema tested the CSA (community supported agriculture) waters by organizing a veggie box delivery as a Thanksgiving fundraiser for Upper Lynn Elementary. Students got to learn about local food security, visit the farm first hand and help pack the boxes. The interest in that project was the proof of concept needed to launch Valley to Shore. In the weeks since Dykema has been making the trek to Chilliwack and returning with a car full of produce. 

“It’s more than just delivering a product to the North Shore,” she said. “There is a lot more in what he gives in a harvest box than a typical CSA. It tastes better. There is nothing that compares. It’s also about education and building community around this food and seasonal eating.”

Dykema takes the time to offer inspiration and information with each box. Her social feeds chronicle the dishes she cooks for her family and later this month Dykema will be launching her website, valleytoshore.com, where there will be recipes, blog posts and more. 

“Because of the way [Dan] farms there is a large variety of foods available throughout the year,” she said. “Some of the ingredients are new to people so it’s a culinary adventure.”

Some items in the Harvest Boxes might come as a surprise. Those lucky enough to grab a Christmas box were surprised with Fraser Valley grown ginger and lemons – items more typically imported from China or South America. 

“Traditionally any lemon you get at a store has been sprayed with who knows what. This lemon is pure good food,” said Dykema. “The food tastes better than anything you find at the grocery stores. It’s picked at peak freshness – not picked before so it can travel thousands of miles and sprayed with preservatives. It is often picked as I am putting boxes together.”

Local Harvest, like a handful of other Fraser Valley Farms, is not officially organic. Having chosen to invest in organic farming practices but not the bureaucracy to get certified. In addition to organic practices, Local Harvest uses no sprays of any kind, as well as regenerative practices. Regenerative gardening also considers the emissions and waste when working the land. 

 “Knowing Dan, how he farms with the practices he uses brings me a lot of comfort,” said Dykema. “Being a farmer is not easy. People will look at the box and think $65 is a lot of money but I think we are valuing quality and responding to the value of people’s hard work and caring environmental choices. Society wants quick and easy convenience but that bottom dollar idea is bringing bottom quality.”

The past couple of years have been incredibly challenging for Local Harvest. The covid pandemic has limited workers (Dykema said this is a three-fold issue – limited migrant workers means stretching local workers thinner, no students applied to work the past summer versus the typical 100 applications Oostenbrink would get and income programs lead to more part-time workers instead of full farming season help). And then there is the weather. November’s devastating floods were felt throughout the Fraser Valley. 

“I think it has shown us how important these farms are,” said Dykema. “I was making a six-hour round trip to prepare the boxes during the worst of the floods.” 


Seasonal abundance


The winter is the slow time for harvesting in the Fraser Valley. Dykema and Oostenbrink are putting together one more box for a Jan. 18th delivery before taking a break until the Spring. Boxes are $65 and can be ordered by sending an etransfer to danadykema@gmail.com. Boxes are then picked up Tuesday evenings and Wednesdays at Dykema’s Upper Lynn home. In addition to North Shore customers, she has people come from Vancouver and Richmond to get their share. 

“I love being hospitable and this is a way to do that by introducing people to a farmer and showing them a different way to take care of their families,” said Dykema. “I can’t invite all these people to my house and cook for them but I can help care for their families.”

She hopes in the spring to be able to offer 100 boxes a week. Dykema will launch a “taster” box in mid-late April, with hopes to kickoff the season in May. Details will be on her website (launching soon) and her Facebook and Instagram

“These dollars stay in the community, support local farm families and in return, I get nutrient-dense foods to feed my family.” 


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.

Trail closure approaches second anniversary

As February approaches, a local resident is asking the district of North Vancouver why an important local trail has been closed. Lynn Valley’s Emily Graydon questions the two-year closure of Hastings Creek Trail and why it’s hard to get answers from the DNV.


Unstable


Significant erosion along the eastern bank of Hastings Creek led to the closure of the Hastings Creek Trail on February 20, 2020. A staircase and viewing platform have been undermined around the mid-point of the 1.3km trail which runs between the south end of Hoskins Road and Ross Road Elementary School. 

“It’s such a great trail,” said Graydon. “It is a beautiful nature trail and a great fitness trail. From where I live on Mountain Hwy, it’s part of the perfect five-kilometre loop. You see all kinds of people on it from kids to dog walkers. It has the equivalent [elevation] to more than 30 flights of stairs so it’s really beautiful and it’s like a gym workout.”

Today, the trail has numerous signs close to the trailheads indicating the entire route is closed, as the midway point is approached the path is blocked at the top and bottom of two flights of stairs where erosion has made the route unsafe. There is a well-trodden, unsanctioned bypass that can prove slippery and dangerous in certain weather. Graydon wonders how 20 steps can take two years to get fixed. 

“For a while, I would climb around but not everyone can. There are other trails in North Van that need repairs and are temporarily closed but open again,” she said. “Look at all the trail work that has happened in Lynn Canyon.”


Trail use up, questions unanswered


Shortly after the DNV closed Hastings Creek Trail, the pandemic began. All across North Vancouver park and trail usage skyrocketed from both locals and people visiting the North Shore. 

“This is a neighbourhood trail. It’s used by kids to get to school, by dog-walkers, by active seniors,” said Graydon. “The alternative is to join Lynn Canyon trails. Those trails are so crowded. I am one of those many people in North Van that got a pandemic puppy – those trails are too crowded – leashed or unleashed – for puppies. Opening Hastings Creek [Trail] again would dilute some of that traffic.” 

Taking a proactive approach Graydon contacted the DNV for its take on the trail closure. Along with a confirmation that the trail is closed for safety reasons, she received this response:

“[P]lease know that an independent engineering firm is looking into whether they can complete the necessary work and reopen it.”

Graydon wasn’t pleased with the vague response. 

“It felt like a brush-off,” she said. “They are just passing the blame for the delay onto someone else. They didn’t give me a timeline,  another contact, or tell me which company was ‘looking into’ it so I could follow up.”

LynnValleyLife had a bit more success reaching out to the DNV regarding the two-year trail closure, however, there isn’t much definitive. 

“We are working with geotechnical and hydrotechnical engineers, who advise that we keep this portion of the trail closed and prevent public access at this time for safety reasons,” said Justin Beddal, communications coordinator.

The site itself is proving challenging, he said.

“This reach of Hastings Creek is a natural watercourse and is subject to erosion during high creek flows, and the erosion undercuts the banks and trails. This portion of the trail is located on a tricky site. When water flow is high, erosion occurs at the base of the slope. The trail was built to the standard of the day over 20 years ago. Current District practice with respect to trails in natural areas is informed by emergent information, such as more frequent severe storms and high stream flows due to climate change, modern engineering understanding of slope stability and greater awareness of environmental factors.”

While the DNV understands why the erosion is ongoing and presents a safety issue. The repair plan is not as well-defined and challenged by fisheries habitat.

We are working with both geotechnical and hydrotechnical engineers on ways to stabilize the embankment. Studies from these professionals are currently underway,” said Beddal.  “Given the location, access for heavy machinery is a major challenge. As well, Hastings Creek is a salmon-bearing creek, so any work requires environmental permits and can only be carried out at certain times of the year. Staff, geotechnical engineers, and hydrotechnical engineers continue to meet regularly to discuss this area of the District and are working towards an action plan. We hope to have identified a path forward in the next few months. We expect that work undertaken would be contracted out.”

Aware that fish habitat requires more care, Graydon points out this will be the third spring and summer without the trail, plenty of time for a plan.

“I keep going and hoping this will be the time it will be open. Is there a funding issue? Is it something else? Is there something the community can do to push for this key trail to open again? I will get on board with anything to get this open – it’s been long enough.”


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.

Kids community choir launching this spring

There will be a bit more music gracing the hills of Lynn Valley this spring. The Lynn Valley Voices Choir is expanding to include a children and youth choir this April.


Banding together


The established community choir at the Lynn Valley United Church, Lynn Valley Voices, is growing with the grit and adaptability it sowed over the pandemic. 

Frank Zieginson

“Music is big here,” said Frank Zieginson, minister of music at Lynn Valley United Church. “One of my things here is the LVV community choir (LVCCC). Once it was established and had its feet under it, I wanted to open up community singing to children and youth.”

While the adult choir has been going for a number of years now, covid has made it challenging to start the new project. Crossing his fingers for the appropriate public health orders, Zieginson hopes to launch the new Lynn Valley Voices Kids Community Choir April 7

“Like all programs at the United Church the choir is about inclusion,” he said. “Whoever you are, wherever you are. Experience singer or not. You just have to be open to learning these skills.”

Children and youth six years and up are invited to join the choir for a weekly afternoon practice on Thursdays. 

“We want to create a safe place for all ages, regardless of identity, or faith. 

The music is thoughtful and uplifting,” said Zieginson. “The power of singing or making music together creates a sense of community connection of being able to achieve something they don’t think they can on their own.”


Adapt and thrive


Zieginson has seen those achievements first hand when he launched the adult choir and had to adapt it to be a covid-safe online version. 

“We held zoom rehearsals every week. It was a bunch of heads in boxes singing Brady Bunch style,” he explained. “Sometimes they would rehearse and record pieces solo and send them to me. I would produce them and layer them together so people were singing beside who they would in person. We would then play that at rehearsal to show how they were progressing. It was a lot of work but it was really important to gather regularly.”

Together the choir and director were able to host virtual concerts and for the start of the 2021-22 season return to in-person rehearsals. 

“There is something about a song sung in a choir,” said Zieginson. “When a song and a message takes hold it changes the way they sing and can even change the way they look at the world.”


How to raise your voice


When the children’s choir launches in April it will be more than two years of limited social and community connections for children – especially the arts. The hope is to provide an important outlet of expression and a chance for like-minded kids to work together, said Zieginson. The goal is to join the LVVCC at its annual spring concert in June. 

Interested families can sign up here. Children do not need to audition to participate. There is a $100 fee for the duration of the program, but in the spirit of inclusivity families with financial concerns can reach out to Zieginson to ensure participation for all interested kids. As full vaccination becomes available, youth are expected to present proof of vaccination.

The adult LVVCC officially launches its season in September but welcomes singers to join at any time. Participants can register here. Adults are asked to participate in a non-determining audition. Basically, an assessment to see where you best fit within the choir and to determine how the choir can best support your musical growth explained Zieginson. The choir is especially in need of bass and tenor voices. The winter term has a delayed start of Jan 20th in guidance with current health priorities. Proof of vaccination is 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.

The triumphs and tragedy of 2021: a year in review

With another year around the sun and the ongoing pandemic, the year in Lynn Valley was marked by tragedy and triumph. 


Small and mighty


Our top-performing website post was also our second-best performing social post. The honour goes out to Beatrix Reilly and her campaign to support BC Children’s Hospital. Just weeks after leaving the hospital herself, Reilly spent her summer summiting 10 mountains. The nine-year-old was bagging peaks to bring IV medical treatments to sick kids. With an initial campaign goal of $2,000, she smashed the goal by raising more than $4,600. You can read more about her phenomenal effort here, or donate to the cause here

Our next most viral story was a conversation with the North Shore Black Bear Society’s Luci Cadman. This story was a bit of a turning point for the community. It shared the truth of the Conservation Service’s “relocation policy” is in fact a kill policy. This story was picked up by major media outlets and led to numerous radio and TV news stories discussing the plight of black bears in our community and throughout interface areas of the Lower Mainland. Our story along with the presence of many bear traps lead to a lot of discussions about the responsibilities of residents living in bear country. 

Our third most popular post was sharing a list of local – free – mental health resources. The shadow pandemic of declining mental health lurking alongside the Covid-19 pandemic is having a real effect on people from all walks of life. For many it is their first time encountering anxiety or depression. These resources are still available today as we enter month 22 of the pandemic and the fifth wave. If you or a loved one needs help, please check out this page


Feeds and followers


Our social media channels on Facebook and Instagram did what social channels do best – rapidly share locally relevant information.

Unfortunately, it was a tragedy that spurred our posts to go viral this year. Our most and third-most viral posts are related to the stabbing on March 27 at Lynn Valley Village. On the positive, the posts with the most interest were about doing good and moving forward. 

Our most popular post of the year was a simple word post informing residents of support services:

Our third most viral post was a celebration of love. In the dark of night, a half dozen or so members of the community turned the plaza into a mural of hope, love, and peace. It was a moving tribute to create and helped the neighborhood begin the healing process. Many tears were shared as the public picked up their chalk to add their own words and art. 

 

Our second most viral post was sharing Beatrix Reilly and her support of Children’s Hospital, mentioned above. 

Thanks for being a part of our neighbourhood network and making our LynnValleyLife vibrant. We feel so lucky to live and work here. If you ever have a story to share email robin@lynnvalleylife.com and we will have spread the word. 


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.

Parade of Trees

The lights will shine again in Lynn Valley Dec. 5. The Lynn Valley Community Association is returning with its Parade of Trees at Lynn Valley Village and Lynn Valley Centre Plaza.


Bright lights


The Parade of Trees will be ongoing until Jan. 1. The 11th annual community event brings together local schools, businesses, community organizations and faith groups to decorate Christmas trees in their own unique way. Returning this year is the public’s chance to vote for their favourite tree. Do you love the themes? The lights? Pick up a ballot and wander through to find the tree that sparks some holiday joy.


Community events return


There are still event limitations for covid safety but there are some special days to pop in with the family. There are three events returning in December.

Dec. 5th, 5:30 pm, Annual Parade of Trees Lantern Parade

Join North Van Rec for the annual Parade of Trees Lantern Parade on Sunday.

Meet outside of the Community Room at Lynn Valley Village (look for the NVRC flags).

Together bring light to Lynn Valley Village Plaza! All are invited to create a festive lantern with a lantern craft kit, or, be inspired to make your own!

Contact NVRC Community Events for Information events@nvrc.ca  or 604-983-6575

Dec. 18th & 19th from 4:30 – 6:00 pm, Roving Carolers

Roving Carolers will bring festive acapella music to the backdrop of the festively decorated Lynn Valley Village Plaza. Come by and enjoy the magic of Christmas in the Village.


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 2021: Bob McCormack

It is our greatest pleasure each year to recognize a person in our community for the work they quietly do to make Lynn Valley and the North Shore the best place to live. While the world saw him take the Olympic torch over the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge in 2010, it’s likely that in his more than 60 years of community work Bob McCormack has tried to make your life a little bit better. 


Good Neighbours


This year LynnValleyLife.com has been inundated with nominations for our Good Neighbour Award – from people like Jabeen Boga who leveraged the virtual neighbourhood to raise the spirits of local health care workers to Paul Gemino for covid community building through music. Most names we are going to tuck away for your future files because we know that the volunteers in our community don’t just show up once or lend their time to a single organization. They are people who show up week after week and year after year and make our neighbourhood better.


Lynn Valley legacies


A chat with Bob McCormack is peppered with references that slowly form of web centred on Lynn Valley. His cousin was born at homestead on the other side of the suspension bridge. His dad (a fireman) and his uncle helped establish Little League and softball in the community. His family ran the concession in Lynn Canyon in the 1940s. 

At 17 years old, McCormack’s own life changed where the Black Bear Neighbourhood Pub sits today.  At the time it was a services station and McCormack was involved in a car accident that resulted in the loss of his leg.

“My accident created me,” he said. “I saw the community coming to help. The community cared for me and my family. I was determined not to let my life stop because I lost a leg. That community spirit drove me in my heart to give.”

In addition to his long career in purchasing and logistics, with Vancouver General Hospital and Vancouver Coastal Health region (he brought the first MRI into BC) as well as other private companies, McCormack has a volunteer resume spanning decades. At 80 he is still sitting on the board of the North Shore Disability Resource Centre and working with Friends of the North Friends of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives Society. His involvement spans several recreation clubs and oversight commissions, countless community service organizations within Lynn Valley and the greater North Shore area, as well as significant time and heart invested in supporting community members with special needs. 


Community reflections


Lynn Valley has benefited from McCormack’s dedication for decades. 

Bob was one of the original members of the group that set up Lynn Valley Services Society to operate the Mollie Nye House on behalf of the District of North Vancouver,” said Margaret Fraser, past president of the Lynn Valley Services Society board of directors. “Bob works tirelessly to ensure inclusion of all in the community and served on the very first LVSS Board of Directors until 2016. Bob has continued his support and interest of LVSS – supporting Christmas events, the Heritage Fair in 2017 as a committee volunteer and organizer – one of 76 volunteers hosting over 400 residents in and around Mollie Nye House. He is passionate about all things Lynn Valley and is always ‘in touch’ with what is happening in our community.”


Taking risks and saying “Yes!”


If there is just about anything community event going on, at some point in the past 40-60 years, McCormack has hand in making it happen.

“It’s about seizing opportunity,” he said. “I didn’t always know what I was getting myself into. I was talking to someone recently who didn’t think their voice would be listened to, I said ‘I as long as I am on the board – everyone gets to be heard. If you want to spend your time volunteering, we have a space for you.’ They didn’t feel they were good enough – you just need time and a good heart.”

The reward is in making things better and making people happy, he said.

“At 80 years old, people wonder why I don’t stop – I love to do it.” Laughing McCormack adds, “It keeps my brain going.” 


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.

Lighting up Lynn Valley

For eight years the lights have been twinkling behind Ruth Crescent. The almost hidden path behind Froggy Pad Daycare has been bringing neighbourhood smiles, raising money and shedding much-needed attention on underserved community issues. You are invited to visit the magical walk this December.  


Community built


In the cold and rain of late November, the Lee/Bassett family is carefully running last-minute checks of their community light display. With the first phase of the display lit up on December 1st, they still have music to add and a light show to program. Each year there is a little more to do on the community display in hopes of accomplishing two simple goals: delight the neighbourhood and support a valuable community cause: Team Finn

“There are about 80,000 lights,” estimated Jamie Bassett. “There are three trees with 2,000 each, so that is 6,000 right there.” 

Bassett and his sons Christopher and Nicholas are the primary executioners of wife/mom Catherine Lee’s vision. She is the owner of Froggy Pad and is deeply passionate about raising awareness of important community issues.  The back property and fence have a rotating showcase drawing attention to important causes. 

“Catherine received a grant to help create them. There is a teacher who does all the drawings and stencils and I help make the boxes. There are about eight different themes throughout the year,” said Bassett offering the examples of Black Lives Matter, Every Child Matters Indigenous support and Terry Fox. 

All year, along the forest path behind Ruth Crescent (accessed via the driveway of 4375 Ruth Cres.) there are a variety of displays to encounter. Larger spectacles for Halloween and Christmas raise money for the Burn Fund and Team Finn. 

“This is really a community effort,” said Bassett. “We have a neighbour help us set up and provide the electricity and another neighbour stores the lights and display items in their crawl space. We don’t have any storage with the daycare, so we simply couldn’t do it without our neighbours.”

Ever evolving, previous versions of the light display have used other properties and both sides of the path. This year the focus is on the Froggy Pad property after the District of North Vancouver ask them at Halloween to remove lights from the Districts’ side of the path.


Community causes


“People asked if they could help pay for the display and we thought we can do that but let’s support a good cause. Finn was planning to attend our daycare with his brother, so it was natural that we support their cancer research,” said Bassett. “Last year we raised about $1500. People just do it.”

Donations can be made at the front door of Froggy Pad Daycare at 4367 Ruth Cres. The entrance to the light path can be found just to the right via the neighbouring driveway. 

“Come by and enjoy this Upper Lynn community project,” he said. 

Photos courtesy of Christopher Lee. 



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.

Local love this holiday season

There has never been a better time to support a local business. With flood tragedies, international shipping delays and fuel shortages, it’s the perfect time to stay close to home and find unique gifts from service providers and entrepreneurs in our own neighbourhood this holiday season.


Art and Fashion


Glass artist Debbie Hungle works out of her home creating has gorgeous fused works and stained glass. From ornaments to candle holders to jewelry and decorative panes – her work captures the season. If you are lucky you might be able to book a workshop and create your own works of art under her careful guidance. She also offers gift certificates – perfect for custom work or for a future workshop. You can learn more at www.debbiehungle.com. Our picks are her curvy scenes – perfect for putting a candle behind. 

 

The handcrafted creations from Plunger Cove Studios are more art than toys with the perfect amount of whimsy. Inspired by the reclaimed materials themselves, each boat or ‘bot is one of a kind. The playful creations will be the perfect addition to a mantel or nursery shelf. It really is hard to choose one, the robots will inspire future creators but our pick is the classic Westcoast Tug.

 

The perfect kids’ Tee can be found at Wren Wood & Co. local mom’s Sherry and Natalie have put together the cutest Westcoast Friends Collection. With bears, beavers, wolves and otters embracing modern Canadiana, your tot will bring a smile to all who sees them. You can find them online or on Lonsdale at Monika’s Art Boutique. Our pick – it’s hard to choose, the Adventurer is great but the Gamer takes it.

 

For the quick pick head over to Bella Gia. Pam and Gianna have done the work of sorting through trends to capture a sophisticated vision of home and fashion. This season their fashion picks highlight cozy knits while their home decor focuses on creating a warm ambiance with beautiful candles and elegant linens. Our picks – with the editing done, their offerings all look like winners but the Holly Berry Embroidered Table Runner looks timeless enough to be a beautiful family tradition. 

 

Stepping into the world of Instagram collections Popcycle Kids curates a collection of vintage, retro and pre-loved kids clothes. Sisters Brittany and Alix founded Popcycle as they looked for the bold patterns and over-sized styles of the 80s and 90s for their own kids. They added to their collection each Sunday. Our pick – follow them on Instagram to snag their latest release. They offer free local pick up. 

 

Local writer and artist Jenn Ashton is a captivating creator. From felted hats to wood ornaments and a range of paintings and drawings. Her bold colours are joyously whimsical and her portraits dynamic. Also a writer, Jenn has her first book People Like Frank available now. Our pick is her book – this is a time to cozy up and immerse yourself in her collection of stories. 


Unique gifts


We just discovered Lynn Valley’s own Fiona’s Handcrafted Soaps. They are lovingly made from 100% natural, plant-based oils, and over 30 essential oils, and fragrance oils. These are little works of art in a functional daily-use product. Fiona began working with soap to find a gentle alternative to mass-produced products for her mother as she battled cancer. The results are handmade, hand-cut pieces. Our pick: either the Hot Chocolate & Marshmallows or Nanaimo Bar because they are the perfect stocking stuffer for a tween or teen who needs to wash.

 

If you aren’t quite sure what to pick, the Ecology Centre has in the past year or so stepped up its gift game. If you want to share a piece of North Vancouver there are beautiful gift selections from First Nations businesses supporting Indigenous artists. If you are new to the area there are guides and children’s books to learn all about our local habitat. Our pick is for the history buff: the centre is offering the recently republished Early Days in Lynn Valley by Walter Draycott. We have a second pick, the perfect gift offering less stuff and more family time: an Ecology Centre Membership which offers discounts on camps, the gift shop and birthday parties.   

 

Another gift of time is to support local family business Pasta Padella. Their pasta and risottos are made in Italy and quick frozen. You can give yourself or a loved one the gift of time by picking up these dishes and having a meal ready in just 10-15 minutes. You can find Pasta Padella online (free local delivery with a $29 purchase) or at Lynn Valley Meats. Our pick: the risotto with butternut squash

 

As we celebrate our second year in a pandemic, we have all learned to lean in and value those close to us. Local counselling psychologists Jordana, Shannon, and Christina have created an interactive card game to explore core values. Players examine and challenge their values by choosing between Val-You cards until they are left holding the three cards that represent what is most important to them in life. it can be played among friends and family or used as a tool by a variety of professionals in diverse settings, including counsellors, teachers, occupational therapists, managers, and within human resources departments. Check out the Val-You 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.

Celebrating the growing season

As the grey and the rain threaten to wash us away, we are so pleased to shine some light on the summer and fall we had by announcing the winners of our Fall Fair contest. It was a challenging year with the heat dome raging on in late June. While everyone’s grass turned brown there was still a lot of life left to be found in gardens throughout Lynn Valley.


Congratulations!


We love that more kids are getting involved in the garden – whether it was sunflowers or veggies – there were great examples of kids doing what kids do best: Getting their hands dirty. Congratulations to Eileif T. for his colour squashes.  

It was a polarizing year for gardens, we heard of bumper crops and disastrous drought depending on gardener experience. Congratulations to Megan A. for her colourful and bountiful harvest. 

The mild fall has allowed some flowers to still provide pops of colour to burst through the grey. Every year Lynn Valley has stunning ornamental gardens. Congratulations to Alexia S. we love the array she produces out of her small raised beds.


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.

Rocking in a covid world

Artists often say art isn’t what they do, it’s who they are. When the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020 there were no more gigs for musicians like Paul Gemino. A passion to play began on a rainy front porch one night at 7pm, soon a neighbourhood was coming together through music and the Allan Road Band was born.


The day the music died


The shocking shutdown of life in March 2020 had local musician Paul Gemino lost. 

“Suddenly there was nothing,” he said. “Psychologically it was like there was a black cloud all around me. I couldn’t be all of me. It was like I was lonely or lost.”

The sounds of pots and pans brought Gemino out of his house one night. As a musician and composer with more than 35 years of professional experience – and encouraged by wife Faye Slevage – Gemino thought he could lend his guitar to the ragtag orchestra acknowledging front-line workers and healthcare personnel. 

“I played three songs that first night in the pouring rain on my covered porch,” said Gemino. “One guy came by. The second night there were three. Then a few more and more. But that first night, in the pouring rain, that first guy began [to clap], and it might as well have been a crowd of 10,000.”

Gemino’s thoughts echo countless other live performers who also lost not only their livelihoods but also the outlet for their passions. 

“I have been playing music since forever,” he said. “It’s in my DNA to be a musician.”

After the solo success of the first few nights, Gemino gave a call to a fellow musician and then two. Gaining momentum, another friend joined and another until the six-piece Allan Road Band was formed. 

“Eventually we did 40 days in a row – never repeating a song,” he said. “It was an organic sort of growing. We started to get people noticing, not just here but all over the world. My wife would put her cellphone up on a stand and record it and we would share it. Then I got a message from London, England asking me to play Jimi Hendrix’s Fire at an upcoming show. It’s a bit of a crazy song – but I thought ‘Yes.’ This whole thing has been about saying ‘yes’ to what could be.”

The current Allan Road Band has a lot of others saying yes too. Gemino is joined by Bill Schatz, Brian Carballo, Peter Lepine, Les Toth and Ron Froehlich. His wife Faye Savage picks up the other jobs like sound technician, PR and photographer.


Normalize the neighbourhood


What the Allan Road Band didn’t know was that their passion was also becoming a weekly beacon of light and hope in Lynn Valley. 

“We were living in strange times,” said Colleen Eschner, who lives in Gemino’s neighbourhood. “It was one hour to look forward to each week – and I really looked forward to it. It was a chance to see people you care about, to see neighbours, to experience something as a community and to do something that was safe – and normal.” 

As the weeks went on word of mouth spread and the sounds of music drew people to the unadvertised events. It was a chance for people to be outside and together but also socially distant, said Gemino.

“It was invigorating to see people talking and connecting – checking in, shuffling over to give space,” he said. “I didn’t know we had two paramedics on the street. Here I was thanking essential workers and they were out doing the work.” 

The weekly concerts were time to put aside the challenging time and escape for a little while.

“I had covid – getting quite sick,” said Eschner. “It was almost a shock to sit quietly and listen to the music again. It was hope. It was respite. It was so normal but everything was different. We were looking at the world through a different lens.”

One of Gemino’s joys was getting requests from patients in hospital. 

“I had one rule – no downers. Someone fighting for their health needs to hear energy or happy.”

Come together

As the summer and year went on the audience grew and was always appreciative. 

“I had a family move in next door and two days later I am pulling out gear and the ‘dad’ is dumbfounded. It’s not every day you move next door to a rock band,” laughed Gemino. “The ‘mom’ was about eight months pregnant and they came out with their 18-month-old that day and have been great supporters.”

There were other stand out memories like the connection the band fostered with DNV Firefighters during the Arglye grad parade, the 88-year-old neighbour from down the block who called her kids and grandkids and had a family picnic, and little three-year-old Nora who brings her ukelele and joins the band. That little maestro led to an entire kids concert with more than 15 ukeleles.

“Mabye three could play – and it was noise but it was fun noise,” said Gemino

The passion and joy of the band is palpable on show days, said Eschner. It draws the community out of their homes.

“When you go and sing along for an hour or just sit with a friend, it was so healing,” she said. “It holds on to you and echoes around in your head and body and stays with you.”


The path forward


As the regulations change the band moves forward – not onward. Gemino has been able to return to his other job, a taekwondo instructor but live music gigs are limited and not the same as before with restrictions like no dancing. As rough as that is for the Allan Road Band members’ other musical pursuits, it does mean they will be returning to the driveway as weather allows. 

“There is no question we will keep doing it. It’s all passion – and so much fun,” said Gemino. 

There is little doubt Eschner will be listening. 

“I so look forward to it and I so appreciate the time and effort of the entire band.” 

To learn more about the Allan Road Band check out their Facebook page. They hope to have concert number 75 soon. More on Paul Gemino can be found on Facebook and this page


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