Saying good-bye to the Black Bear

With less than a month until the Black Bear Neighbourhood Pub closes its doors, owner Ron Slinger is grateful, proud and excited. The neighbourhood institution opened in 1997 with one dream – the same one that led him to open the Queens Cross almost 20 years earlier – to make a place his wife Bobbi would want to spend time.

If you build it, they will come

When Ron Slinger was hitchhiking through Europe in the 1970s he fell in love with two things – the girl that would become his wife and the charm and comfort of neighbourhood pubs.

Bobbi, Molly and Ron Slinger (courtesy of the Black Bear Neighbourhood Pub)

“There was nothing like that here,” he said from a corner table tucked away in the Black Bear on a recent Sunday morning. “Bobbi’s father was a bit of a publican in North Cave, Yorkshire. Here, it was a new concept. It was a three-year project to open the Queens Cross. It was very difficult to get the municipality to consider that it would be something different than a beer parlour.”

In the late 70s drinking establishments had a distinctly rough reputation but, Slinger and his business partner Dave Raht had an alternative concept.

“I loved UK pubs. We wanted to build something where our wives would want to go, where they might feel comfortable hanging out by themselves. A place where friends would stop by and share a drink, not to get falling down drunk,” said Slinger.

Slinger is very clear that his success at the Queens Cross and the future Black Bear was built on his understanding of one thing: what it’s like to be a consumer.

“I am not a chef, I am not a bartender, I am not a server – there’s a story! I once ‘fired’ myself from the Queens Cross after I dropped food in the lap of my friend,” laughed Slinger. “I know what it’s like to have great service, great food and to feel welcome. I am a facilitator and I can make sure we try every day to succeed. We may not succeed but we will learn and try again.”

The North Shore’s favourite neighbourhood pub

Building on the success and lessons of the Queens Cross (which was sold in 1996), Slinger and Raht opened the Black Bear in 1997. 

“You would think it was easier to open a pub almost 20 years later – it was not! Four years working with the municipality. No small business should have to put their livelihood at such risk,” he said.

The reward was to build the perfect community pub from the foundations up. Inspired by the original craftsman architecture that once filled Lynn Valley, Slinger commissioned the pub design to be warm and authentic to the neighbourhood. The success has been its track record: the public has voted the Black Bear as the North Shore’s Favourite Neighbourhood Pub for a record 27 straight years in the North Shore News’ annual awards. 

“I am proud as hell to be a pub owner,” he said. “We are so fortunate to be a part of Lynn Valley – to be a part of the birthdays, anniversaries, funerals and wakes. We are proud to offer the community their ‘Cheers’ moment where we do know their name and what they like to drink – that they are comfortable – at home here.”

Sitting in the sun discussing the Black Bear, Slinger is content. Even with the doors closing in less than a month, his excitement for the future is palpable.

“There is no bad guy here. It’s time. The building is approaching the end of its life. It doesn’t make sense to keep patching it up. It was not my idea but it’s season is done. I love it. I will miss it.”

“It’s time to face the music – there is too much maintenance on this old building,” said Slinger. “It’s going to be sad – but also relief. We can do it right. We can take care of our staff, and we can share a final drink with our customers.”

It ain’t over yet . . .

There is energy in Slinger, fiery in his 70s. It is easy to imagine an unstoppable force in his younger years fighting council to bring his dreams to life. Late last month Slinger was inducted into the British Columbia Restaurant Hall of Fame as the 2023 as an Industry Pioneer. The timing couldn’t have been better. His fellow inductee Kelly Gordon (2023 Lifetime Achievement) is also his new business partner. It all feels a bit kismet, he said.

“The Black Bear as a venue is tired – but I am not. I need to be busy. We are doing something else that will still be in the community. There is no way we could ever replicate the Bear – so we are not.”

Gordon, Slinger and his son-in-law Justin Thompson are launching a 150-seat (plus 50-seat patio) Romer’s Fresh Kitchen & Bar in Lynn Valley Centre this February.

“I am going to work until I am 100 years old,” laughed Slinger. “I am so excited.”

He says the partnership had to fight out numerous other concepts to get the space. His track record of local success was what won Bosa over, said Slinger. 

“I am so happy to live in this community, to work, to be here and make my own fun – my family is just a 10-minute Uber ride down the hill – if my wife was still with me [Bobbi lost her battle with ALS in 2021] it would be perfect. My reward has been this amazing life.”

See you later, not good-bye

There isn’t going to be much fanfare as the Black Bear goes through its final weeks. 

“It’s not a celebration,” said Slinger. “It’s a closure.”

There won’t be a party.

“The community has already said it’s thanks. Every time a customer comes in, that is thanks. Thank you to everyone who has kept us going for 27 years – that is all the thanks we need. I could have been out of business in a year. I am the proudest guy in town . . . but it ain’t over yet.”

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.

Argyle gymnastics team at risk

It’s a stressful week for the provincial champion gymnasts at Argyle Secondary as BC School Sports considers the future of the sport. There is a push from other regions of BC to drop the sport from the high school roster – but Argyle and the North Shore are fighting to keep it.  

Communications errors

For decades the Argyle gymnastics team has been flourishing. Just this past February students took home the provincial championship – again. In fact, according to team sponsor Darren Rath, it’s thriving throughout the North Shore, however, that is not the case in all parts of BC.

2023 Provincial Champions

“Programs at school are successful that have teachers that have an understanding of the sport and a capacity to connect all the pieces,” said Rath. “Not all schools have the equipment or knowledge to teach a program like gymnastics – that doesn’t mean they don’t have gymnasts and that those athletes can’t compete.

“What I understand to be happening is a communications breakdown between the schools and the [community] clubs.”

Roth explains that some schools are feeling overwhelmed by late competition registrations and the late fees associated. Schools without a teacher sponsor can still enter students in high school competitions. 

“It’s a communications disconnect – not a problem with the sport,” he said.

The disconnect is growing. While gymnastics is strong on the North Shore, some other parts of the Lower Mainland, and Prince George, the voices of schools in other parts of the province against gymnastics are growing.

A sport for all

Generally speaking, there are two categories of sports in high school – team sports (football, rugby, basketball, etc.) and individual sports scored as a team (gymnastics, wrestling, skiing,  cross-country, etc.). It’s the second category Rath is passionate about – the sports that students can join and thrive having never tried the sport prior to high school. 

2022 Provincial Champions

“Gymnastics is actually quite unique – with a few others like track, cross-country and wrestling – that are open to new athletes starting at the beginning,” he said. “Our team had about 60 gymnasts this year, the vast majority of athletes are new to the sport or participated when they were very young.”

He explained that high school gymnastics has five levels. Levels one or two are for beginners, level three is for those who have progressed or with prior experience and levels four and five are for active community athletes.

“All sports have community athletes – 99 percent of high school soccer players are also community athletes,” said Rath. “The majority of our gymnasts are in levels one or two.”

If an athlete places consistently at the top of their tier, they move up to the next, so students can have success where they are. 

“Gymnastics is a fundamental core sport. It teaches coordination, balance, and muscle strength. It has so many benefits,” said Rath. “And it’s here. Let’s not take that away.”

Rath said the teachers find it rewarding to see a student trying gymnastics for the first time in class and suggesting they give the team a try – giving them an opportunity to succeed in a sport the student may have never considered.

“In the past, we had a student who was competing at the national level. What’s great about gymnastics, is that for the team, that student’s score counts only as much as a student new to the sport. We need them both to win.

“At Argyle, 95 percent have never done gymnastics before – we had a student join this year in Grade 11 and he was competitive because he was able to compete at his level.”

With 60 students on the roster, 40 qualified for provincials in 2023.

Sport for the sake of sport

As Argyle and the other schools on the North Shore navigate this potential change, they are getting excellent support from the school district and the Sea to Sky Zone (its sporting region), said Terry Mitruck, Sutherland Secondary’s gymnastics coach. 

“If we lose this sport, what other sports will be next on the chopping block?” he asked. 

Rath agrees. 

“Schools have different facilities, teacher knowledge and sponsor capacities,” he said. “Not all schools have mountains but we still have mountain bike and ski teams.”

He says there is support from gymnastics clubs throughout the province, some have partnerships where student-athletes can join just for the school season. He thinks schools could get creative like the North Shore has by running joint practices and inviting students with lesser facilities (like Handsworth) to train with Argyle.

This would still leave the fundamental communication error plaguing some other regions.  

“If schools don’t have a sponsor or coach, I think this could be resolved by identifying athletes within the school who compete in the community and learning early if they want to compete for their school.”

If gymnastics loses its status as a high school sport, Rath is unsure what the future will hold.

“We would have to find another solution to help this sport continue,” said Rath. “Perhaps it would be taken on by BC Gymnastics but we can’t guarantee an alternative. While gymnastics is an opportunity for all students to get involved, the majority are female [Argyle’s team was 80% female in 2023]. If it’s gone, it’s taking away a female sport.”

For now, Argyle and other schools on the North Shore are waiting to see what unfolds at the BC High School Sport meeting this week. Those wishing to share their support can sign this petition. Current and past participants in high school gymnastics and their families can email letters of support to Terry Mitruk

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.

Mental wellness resources

We want to make the community aware of resources available to support mental health. There are services online, on the phone and locally – some are 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, text 45645 1-9pm or visit (formerly Crisis Services Canada).

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

Confident Parents, Thriving Kids is a free program (referral required – doctor or school administrator) 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.


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 [email protected]. 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.

Party on: Concerts coming back to LVV

It looks like programming and events might be returning to Lynn Valley Village this summer! There are dates scheduled for both music and family games on the calendar.

The sound of music

A little piece of the Vancouver International Jazz Fest is hitting Lynn Valley Village plaza on June 26. Toronto’s Kobo Town will deliver its redefinition of Calypso music and Caribbean sound. It will be a chance to get the whole family moving during the free concert from 2-4 pm.

Kobo Town will be a perfect band for a sunny afternoon in Lynn Valley Village,” said Fiona Black, producer, North Shore Jazz Series in partnership with TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.  “Typically for the Lynn Valley show, we strive to get an upbeat, family-friendly, fun band that will get folks dancing and enjoying the summer vibe in that great location. Drew Gonsalves, the leader of the band, hails from Trinidad and brings a very authentic calypso Caribbean sound mixed with ska and reggae for an irresistible, danceable blend of intoxicating beats.”

Starting June 25, there are eight events in eight days bringing both Canadian and international jazz to the North Shore Jazz Series. The events are produced independently through The BlueShore at CapU in partnership with the TD Jazz Festival. It was born out of a series of highlighting students’ achievements that was extended to partner with Coastal Jazz to create the NS Jazz Series. The BlueShore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts will be offering four ticketed events this year with additional four free community concerts. 

“I was conscious of developing a series that was distinctive from the offerings of the main festival and not attempt to compete with their shows,” said Black.  “It made NSJ delve into many genres beyond jazz to make it a unique offering that would be complementary to the main festival.”  

The events are an opportunity to hear something new.

“Jazz in the context of jazz festivals certainly is more of an umbrella term inclusive of many styles and genres,” she said.  “In addition to our purely jazz offerings, NSJ offers blues and world music which are certainly related to jazz and often employ some improvisation and stylistic similarities.  The TD jazz festival is a great opportunity to be open to new sounds, new bands and new experiences with lots of free and accessible options.”

Other summer plaza events

Doing a little digging, it appears North Vancouver Rec is adding additional programming on Tuesdays and Thursdays evenings in the plaza with Family Big Games starting June 28 but the organization would not confirm any specific information at this time. Check out their page sometime in the future.  

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 2022

We are in year four of the province’s Speculation and Vacancy Tax. Has the annual declaration form become routine for you? By now you should have had the form delivered. All homeowners must declare their status by March 31. If you have declared in previous years, 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 2020 tax year (third year of the program) $81 million of revenue was generated, with 86% 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.

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.

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.


Speculation and vacancy tax letters were mailed to North Vancouver late January – early February in 2022.

  • Mar 31, 2022 – declaration due
  • Apr-May 2022 – most tax notices mailed
  • Jul 4, 2022 – the first business day of July tax payments are due

Taking care of your two wheels

First there is confusion, then anger and then a deep sense of loss. To bike riders of all kinds, theft is more than losing a possession – it’s like losing your best friend. In this neighbourhood there is sometimes more value in bikes in a garage than cars in the driveway. We talked to the local experts on keeping your bike safe, insured and ready to ride down the mountains. 

You can never be too safe

The North Vancouver RCMP report bike thefts remain pretty constant year over year with a slight increase in 2020. Only about 10 % of bikes are recovered. 

“People move here to ride,” said Rick Loader, owner of Lynn Valley Bikes. “When your bike is stolen it feels like a violation. It’s their second-best friend, treated better than a spouse sometimes.” 

During peak season, his shop deals with customers almost once a week coming in to replace a stolen bike.

“It varies at times throughout the year,” he said. “It averages out to two or three times a month.”

But there are some people who aren’t completely broken up about it, he said. 

“A mountain bike only lasts about five years of the hard riding we have here,” said Loader. “There is the rare occasion that insurance comes in at a good time. For those without insurance, it stings them a lot harder.”

Protecting your bike on paper

Empathy abounds from Central Agencies insurance broker David Fiteni, who has had his own bike stolen from a Lynn Valley condo building. 

“Often people find out too late that their insurance has a bike limit – much less than the cost of the bikes we see here in Lynn Valley,” said Fiteni. “Protecting your bike isn’t like ICBC coverage where a car of a certain make and age has a set insurance value. You need to go to your insurance broker to have coverage for the replacement cost of the bike plus all the hundreds of dollars of upgrades if you aren’t riding stock.”

It pays to seek out local experience when choosing your broker. 

“It might be standard practice when looking at home insurance to ask about jewelry or art,” he said. “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.”

Fiteni says the best way to insure your bike is to sit down with a broker you trust.

 “If you deal with a particular institution, they offer you what they have. We will look at eight-12 different options to see how they can best cover your bike,” he said. “We don’t fit them into a product, we find the best product to fit them – every case is different.”

There are changes coming into the insurance industry but not all coverage is equal and there are key questions to think about. 

“People are spending a lot on bikes because they have value to the rider,” he said. “One underwriter might allow you to have a $7000 bike in your contents insurance, but another may charge you $300 a year for that.” 

Fiteni suggests starting your bike insurance conversation by covering these areas:

  • Mysterious disappearance  – is the bike covered if it is not at home? Or if it’s on your vehicle? 
  • Will a bike claim impact “claims-free” discounts? A bike’s inherent mobility puts it at increased risk.
  • Does the policy have a maximum for bike claims?
  • Are there requirements for securing bikes for them to be covered at home? On the road? 
  • Is there a different deductible for bikes vs. a different kind of claim?

Protecting your bike in practice

Both Loader and Fiteni along with the RCMP recommend registering your bike with Garage 529. The free service is used by police and citizen groups to get stolen bikes back in the hands of their owners. 

“Don’t store your bike in a condo bike room or a plywood storage locker,” said Loader. “They are tucked out of the way, they don’t get visited very often. It’s too easy for thieves to get access and spend some time getting all the bikes they want.”

A sentiment echoed by Fiteni.

“A builder puts in the cheapest materials it can, and most stratas don’t reinforce security hardware until ‘17’ bikes are stolen.” 

For home, Loader recommends keeping bikes in earshot and locked up. On the road, he brings multiple locks.

“There are four locks that live in my van – one that is a 6-foot, 35-lb chain,” he said. “Another is a motion-sensitive alarm. If the bikes are on the rack, I back it in where I can keep an eye on it and at very least be outside and hear it.”

The thought of spending hundreds of dollars on locks may seem excessive but when looking at the numbers, $350 in locks is just a five percent investment in protecting a $7000 bike. Some experts recommend 10 percent of the value in security. When out with your bike Loader also reminds riders to check what you are attaching the lock to. 

“There are poles all over the Vancouver-area that aren’t secured in place, a simple tug will lift out the pole. I have even seen a guy on another’s shoulders unscrewing the sign at the top so they can lift a bike up and over,” said Loader. “Parking meters are a little better.”

Loader’s last tip: “Don’t flaunt your bike. Get it inside and your door closed. Don’t sit there in your garage with the door up working on your bike all afternoon with four other bikes hanging up.”

As the value of bikes rises, the protection policies are improving, said Fiteni. But when it comes to talking about e-bikes they are their own unique circumstances you need to discuss with your broker

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 [email protected] 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.

Living in a looper landscape

Mid-July if you took a walk through the forest, you likely ran into hundreds of tiny hanging caterpillars. The larvae were lunching on hemlocks and other conifers, in the matter of weeks turning the hillsides from green to brown. Unfortunate timing also brought a heat dome to Lynn Valley and the result is a forest stressed and facing long-term deterioration. We spoke with UBC’s Dean of Forestry for his thoughts on looper moths, cedar die-off, and the future of local forests. 

Local impacts

The change was fast. The forests on Mt. Fromme and through Lynn Canyon were green – dry from lack of rain but still green. Then in just a couple of weeks, some ridges clearly seemed more brown and red than green. The quick change took even forest experts by surprise. 

“When someone told me about earlier this year I was quite surprised because I do spend a lot of time in the North Shore mountains,” said John Innes, a West Vancouver resident, professor, and dean of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. “The hemlock looper is actually quite localized, but where it is occurring it is significant. You may have noticed that the moths are now flying. We had exactly the same last year.”

Despite his many dog walks, it wasn’t until Innes flew over the area last month that he saw the full impact of the hemlock looper moths on Stanley Park, parts of Lighthouse Park, and the Lynn Valley area. Other portions of the North Shore remain largely untouched.  The native insect is in the middle of a three-year cycle, he said. They defoliate hemlocks, firs, and other trees. 

The loopers

“Normally the insect effects beginning in early July, so that is why you see very rapid effects,” said Innes. “The trees aren’t actually dead. The foliage is affected. The foliage has died but it is possible – it’s not a 100 percent certain but it is possible – these trees will recover in a year or two or a bit longer.”

As the North Shore forests are midway through a natural multi-year cycle that occurs every 11 to 15 years, some trees were also hit hard last year. 

“What we know is the ability to recover is strongly linked to the amount of defoliation and so we are seeing that if trees are completely defoliated there is a lower chance of recovery,” he said. “The other problem is that if the tree was affected last year, its reserve would be depleted. If this year it is again defoliated, that depletes its reserves again and it may not produce foliage next year and it may die.” 

There is some question of where we are in the looper moth cycle. The District of North Vancouver states we are in the last year of a three-year cycle, whereas Innes has a different opinion. 

“We had one last year, there is this year and we may get another one next year, and then it should die down again.”

The long-term impacts

Lynn Valley’s forests are not just dealing with a looper moth outbreak, they are also impacted by climate change and the sudden heat dome that occurred in late June/early July. 

“The heat plays a role in overall forest health – particularly cedars,” said Innes. “We are seeing over the years an increase in mortality for cedar across the North Shore mountains, particularly young cedars. 

“Within the forest, there is always some mortality. Like the human population, there is always one or two people who get an illness and ultimately die, unfortunately, and age-related mortality. Trees can reach a very old age but very few trees that grow in the forest actually reach that old-growth status. The majority die before then for all sorts of reasons, so what we are seeing is accelerated mortality. If it is bad, it can change the nature of the forest.”

Cedars are the cornerstone of North Shore forests. Without young trees slowly growing there will likely be a shift in the local ecosystem, he said. 

“There is going to be a problem in the future because there are no young cedars. There will be hemlocks and firs but we will lose the cedars are the oldest living trees in the forest and that will be quite significant in the future,” said Inness. “What we also can get is destabilization.”

The slope safety

Our mountainside community relies on the trees to keep the forest where it is – on the hillsides. The roots of healthy trees retain the soils that help bushes and younger plants grow – continuing the cycle. 

“Dead tree roots slowly decay. What we have seen is that it takes three to four years for the soils to be affected,” said Innes. “If you have a very strong rain or the soil is saturated, the soil’s ability to hold in place is at risk and you may see a landslide.”

The District of North Vancouver is aware of the shift in forest health. 

At this time, we do not know how many of those distressed trees will survive and we likely won’t know until next spring,” said Cassie Brondgeest, communications coordinator for the DNV. “There are many variables that will contribute to tree recovery including looper moth activity and future weather patterns. District staff are working closely with subject matter experts, our neighbouring municipalities, Metro Vancouver and the Province to monitor the situation and to determine next steps. This is a dynamic situation and much will depend on what happens next year.” 

Typically, if remediation is required it would involve replanting trees, said Innes. 

“We have a period of a few years where there is a high risk until the new roots gain enough strength,” he said. “It isn’t everywhere but it is a problem for certain slope conditions.” 

Immediate concerns

While slope destabilization is an issue to closely monitor, Innes feels there is an immediate concern residents should more fully educate themselves about: fire risk.

“Just because it is a rain forest does not mean that it’s not going to burn in the right conditions. And this year has given us the right conditions,” he said. “I don’t think we are quite ready. People in the interior are familiar and know about evacuation orders, but if that situation were to happen in the District of North Vancouver a lot of people would not know how to respond or what to do.”

Despite this week’s rain, the heat of summer and looper moths have created a situation that remains high risk. 

“Once trees drop their foliage, the red browns stuff is very dry and it does increase risk. If the trees are dead they will gradually break down and increase the risk,” said Innes. “In terms of the North Shore, the primary risks are the availability of fuel, dryness of the fuel, and the igniting effects. What you would be looking for, on the North Shore is the human risk.”

Big fires on the North Shore are not unheard of, he said. Exploring Cypress Bowl is one place where we can see the effects of local forest fires. He emphasizes we aren’t immune and need to learn more about fire prevention

“I was out walking and I was thinking that this is so, so dry and it would easily be set off by a cigarette.”

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.

Election 2021

Last month, LynnValleyLife reached out to all of the candidates with a list of questions about the election and how Lynn Valley factors into their vision of the future. Unfortunately, only one candidate took the time to respond. 

Election 2021

The early election called by the Trudeau government will take place on Sept. 20. Voting will take place throughout the region. Some Lynn Valley residents will head to the polls at Lynn Valley Centre, others at Capilano University,  Lynn Valley Legion or Lynn Valley United Church.  Check your voter registration card or visit for more information.  Advanced poll days are Sept. 11-13 or you can vote by mail before Sept. 14 at 6 pm.

Les Jickling – Conservative Party of Canada

Please tell us about yourself and your connection to the North Shore. 

I was born in LGH and live in the Edgemont area with my wife Michelle and son Benjamin. I have family in Lynn Valley who have been helping on my campaign. My father taught in schools in North Vancouver. As a young boy I remember tobogganing on the local North Shore mountains (and later skiing), fishing, hiking and bike riding. As a parent I appreciate all the wonderful resources the North Shore offers young families.

Why are you the best person to represent Lynn Valley (and all of North Vancouver) in Ottawa? 

I have a vision for a safe, healthy and sustainable community. Recently, mental health, COVID-19, job losses, unaffordable housing, traffic congestion and climate change have threatened our way of life. These big issues can only be addressed by taking actionable steps. My past successes, as an executive for a healthcare company, raising funds for palliative care, as a three-time president of VOWSA, or navigating the entire Blue Nile in support of access to freshwater, were only achieved by breaking down big challenges into actionable steps. I will do the same for big issues impacting life in North Vancouver.

What issue do you think is most important to Lynn Valley, specifically, and how is this a priority for you?

Recent tragic events in Lynn Valley require us to make mental health a top priority in our community. Canada’s Recovery Plan, under the leadership of Erin O’Toole, will double the current healthcare transfer payments to 6%, injecting an additional $60 billion over 10 years and providing $150 million in grants to nonprofits delivering mental health programming. A 25% tax credit will be offered to employers offering mental health coverage and a nation-wide, three-digit suicide prevention hotline will be implemented.

How do you feel about calling an early election during a pandemic and BC’s devastating wildfire season?

The election-call during the pandemic was reckless. Canadians neither want, nor need, an election. Arguments to the contrary are disingenuous – legislation was passing through the house. The wildfires are tragic, alarming and require immediate action. The Conservative climate plan will get us to our Paris targets.

What three party priorities best support North Vancouver? 

Healthcare, including the COVID response, mental health action and increases in transfer payments. Jobs and economic recovery including recovering the 1 million jobs lost during the pandemic and climate change including implementing the Conservative climate action plan.

Which non-political achievement are you most proud of in your life? 

My wife Michelle and I are adoptive parents. Of all the things I’ve done in life, I consider jointly raising my son Ben as my greatest and most rewarding achievement. I also wrote a humorous book about paddling the world’s most famous river which is one of my proudest achievements.

How do you spend your non-professional time? 

My son is six years old so I like to spend time with him riding bikes, hiking in the canyon, going to the pool, camping and playing in the park. When I have adult time with friends, I like to hike the Grouse Grind and explore the North Shore’s fine craft breweries.

What would you like the people of Lynn Valley to know about you? 

I would like them to know I am a reasonable and thoughtful person with genuine care and concern for the community.

To learn more visit his website.

Other candidates

We did not get responses from the other candidates. They are:

Tammy Bentz New Democratic Party Website
John Galloway People’s Party of Canada Website
Archie Kaario Green Party of Canada Website
Jonathan Wilkinson Liberal Party of Canada Website

Elections Canada looking for poll workers

Go to and apply online (faster) or fill out an application at the North Vancouver Electoral Office at Capilano mall (where Sears used to be, parking lot entrance)

Who can work?
  • you must be a Canadian citizen
  • you must be at least 16 years old on election day
  • you must speak English. French and other languages are an asset (Farsi, Mandarin,…)
To be employed by Elections Canada, you must agree to refrain from any partisan political activity during the term of your employment.

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.

Bears at risk in Lynn Valley

This past weekend, the plan was to kill Lynn Valley bears. Two traps were set up Friday night. It’s becoming an all too common problem. The last weekend in July a Lynn Valley bear spent its day as high as it could go in a tree, trying to evade the traps and guns of conservation officers. Neighbours of the ongoing incident were watching. One placed a quick call and soon Luci Cadman, executive director of the North Shore Black Bear Society (NSBBS), was also on scene, advocating the best she could for a bear with a death sentence and educating the homeowners with unsecure chicken coops (DNV bylaw require an electric fence) that created the situation.

It’s normal for bears to be around in the day time

The images and anecdotes are flooding social media – but bears aren’t new to Lynn Valley. These furry neighbours will – hopefully – always be a part of the community and we can all master more best practices to live alongside them. 

Bears have been a part of the community since well before settlers arrived in Lynn Valley. The headlines and viral images we see today aren’t really a matter of more bears, but of more reporting, said Cadman. 

“On social media, we are seeing more images as more people are out in the summer,” she said. “But the bears have been active since February.” 

Luci Cadman

We will always have bears in our community – always because they are here for safety whether there are unnatural food sources or not, it’s a natural place to be, said Cadman. 

“We are seeing a pattern of people being at home and Dr. Henry encouraging people outside. Especially in areas like Capilano Regional Park, Mosquito Creek, Braemar, Fromme Mountain, Lynn Canyon Park, there are reports of more daytime bear activity. I believe recreation is pushing bears out of the forest into the community where it is a little bit quieter. We see bears are just resting at the back of people’s yards away from the hikers, bikers, and dogs. They are seeking peace and quiet and going back into the forest at night.”

The society also noticed in 2020 the impact of closing provincial parks led to unsanctioned bike trails on Mount Seymour pushing local bears into neighbourhoods. During education outreach at trailheads, Cadman also has had a number of reports from the public of misinformed individuals aggressively moving bears from their natural areas and food sources with airhorns or bear bangers because the public wants to recreate in the area. 

“The bears in Lynn Valley are the more vulnerable bears, the mom, and cubs, the teenagers, older bears, right now there is an injured bear. These bears live on the periphery of our environment and can’t go higher up in the mountains because that is where the dominant bears are.”

When it comes to the dangers of living with bears, there are few. It is far more dangerous for the bears to live near us, said Cadman. In 2019, 542 black bears and 162 grizzly bears were killed in BC. 

“We have the statistics,” she said. “They are in the community without incident, their intention isn’t to hurt people and we know this because we get hundreds of reports every year without incident. It is very rare for a black bear to make physical contact.”

Even those bears people think are dangerous are not – statistics show a mother bear is the least dangerous bear – her instinct is to retreat from humans. They live near neighbourhoods because it is less dangerous for her – away from dominant bears, said Cadman.

It’s up to us, as residents, to facilitate cohabitation.  

Bears can learn boundaries

The NSBBS believes education will lead to our best co-existence with bears and the role the public can play has evolved over the years, said Cadman.

Photo by Tony Joyce

“These animals are teachable. They are very intelligent. Back in the day it was bang pots and pans and used an air horn but many of our bears are adapting. Don’t expect a bear to run away,” she said. “If they did that every time they saw a person, they would get nothing done. They are comfortable with people – at a distance – never step into their space. 

“Just because a bear is walking down the street in the daytime does not mean they are bold or aggressive.” 

If a bear does enter your yard, Cadman offers this advice: “From a safe place like a deck or window, with eye contact and a firm tone, speak to the bear [in any language, as the key is tone, not words]. It will usually move on. They can be taught this is not a place to be. Be consistent and do it every time they are in your yard. 

“We have had a lot of success with bears changing their routes by people doing that.” 

If you meet a bear in the wild it’s a different procedure and likely not the one you learned as a kid. The typical thought to make yourself large as possible, to glare and threaten the bear in a loud voice is incorrect as Cadman because it may make the bear feel threatened. 

“If you suddenly, closely encounter a bear on a trail or in your yard speak in a calm tone and slowly back away,” said Cadman, adding this behaviour allows you to demonstrate you are giving the bears their space to carry on.

Challenges leading to bear deaths

There are numerous challenges facing local bears, says Cadman. Some are institutional, like the BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) and local governments, others are more about individual resident actions.  

“People believe that conservation officers relocate bears,” she said. “In June of this year, in BC, 75 bears were killed. Only one was relocated.”

The false assumption by residents that bears will be relocated leads to behaviours that put bears at risk.

“We always try to educate and I have heard it before, ‘It’s not a big deal [the bear is trapped], it will be relocated like last time,’” said Cadman. “No, the bear will be killed, just like last time.”

She also struggles to get accurate reports on bears from the BCCOS so she can direct the NSBBS’s finite education resources to where it’s most needed. 

“If people don’t report the bears to us, we don’t know what questions to ask the BCCOS,” she said. “We can’t hold them accountable.”

The District of North Vancouver is making progress to be more supportive of bears cohabiting in the community but there is still more work to do, she said. 

“In January the district passed a bylaw regarding bear attractants and they are using it as a next step when our education isn’t working. First, we want people to talk to their neighbours, but if that isn’t working they can let us know or the DNV and we can provide education. We send a welcome package to all new residents to help them understand bears in our community. We are still working with the district to improve the waste bins. The locking waste bins are not bear-proof and continue to be a problem.”

Revisiting last month’s bear visiting chicken coops, Cadman is pleased to have the bylaw in place, as education didn’t seem to be working. 

Bear Season in long

Bears are in our neighbourhoods from late February to November. They need year-round support. The NSBBS is slowly expanding its small team of volunteers.  Donations are a quick way to make a difference. Self-education can be found on their website (new site coming soon). 

There are actions residents can take now to support our bear neighbours:

  • Report bear sightings online here for tracking, if there is immediate need text or call: 604-317-4911.
  • To report problem attractants use this online form.  
  • Remove all food as soon as possible: veggies, berries, and fruit. 
  • Do not install or remove bird feeders (taking in at night is not sufficient as bears are here during the day). 
  • Keep waste bins in locked sheds or in your home, if possible. Regularly, clean green waste and garbage bins with a vinegar or bleach solution, layer garden waste on top of food waste and freeze scraps when possible only placing them in the cart on pickup day. 
  • Burn off BBQs for 10 minutes and clean after each use.

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.