Virtual worship

This time of year community often draws together. Most years that would mean churches and meeting halls are flooded by people celebrating the season. Still an important religious time and a tradition for many families, local churches are taking their celebrations online. From month-long advent activities to candlelight Christmas Eve, the community can come together virtually.


Local church information


Many worship communities are wrestling with the changing covid-19 restrictions. Plans laid months ago are being adapted. We have done our best to track down what is happening but for the most up-to-date information visit each church’s website closer to Christmas.

St. Clement’s Anglican Church

This year, St. Clement’s Anglican Church has invited the community to join in celebrating the universal themes of Advent – Hope, Peace, Joy and Love – through online and outdoor activities, including a photo challenge and a virtual Lynn Valley Advent Calendar.
Online celebrations in the lead up to Christmas will include a virtual nativity pageant – including a retrospective of the last dozen years of the church’s originally written pageants  – and a traditional Service of Nine Lessons and Carols that will include carols and scripture readings from all of North Vancouver’s Anglican and Lutheran churches.
A live-streamed service will take place in the early evening of Christmas Eve, and be available for viewing throughout the night and onwards. A recorded Christmas Eucharist and message will be posted on Christmas morning.
Further details will be posted over the weeks to come on the St. Clement’s website.

Mount Olivet Luthern Church

Mount Olivet Luthern Church will be having its usual Christmas Eve candlelight service via Zoom this year, with wonderful Christmas carols to sing along to, pre-recorded with a brass ensemble by its music team.  The service will begin at 7pm on Christmas Eve.  Folks who want to join are most welcome and are asked to RSVP to Sheila at the church office (molc@telus.net) to get the Zoom call-in info. For more information on Mount Olivet Luthern Church visit its website.
Hillside Baptist Church
Hillside Baptist Church has both live-stream and recorded sermons on its website.
Lynn Valley United Church

The Lynn Valley United Church has been offering virtual services via Facebook. They have weekly options for connections.

Mondays offer Spiritual Practices via Zoom and Saturday morning coffee and questions via Zoom. To learn more visit its website.
St. Stephen’s Catholic Parish
St. Stephen’s Catholic Parish has a list of available virtual masses on its website.
Valley Chruch
The Valley Church has been offering virtual services via Facebook. To learn more visit its website.
Westlynn Baptist Church
The Westlynn Baptist Church has been offering virtual services via its website. To learn more visit its page.

Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Shopping the neighbourhood

It’s a strange year to be out driving to malls and looking for just the perfect gifts for your loved ones. It is also a year where we don’t want to rely exclusively on online shopping. We need to support our local shops and groups. Local shops are the donors to our sports teams and schools. They give to our causes year after year and we need to keep them here as part of our community.


Christmas Trees


There are two fantastic Christmas tree suppliers that have adapted to be covid-safe. Many local Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Venturers are supported by Scout Christmas Trees. In the past you may have picked up at their Park Royal tree lot, instead this year the Scouts will deliver right to your door!  Order here.  

The Lynn Valley Lions Club has moved their lot to Moodyville to accommodate its new drive-thru lot. You don’t even need to leave your car – volunteers will strap the tree to your roof. Details on how to sign up for your time slot can be found here

If you don’t want to miss out on wandering through the rain to pick the perfect tree – check out the ones at Maple Leaf Garden Centre.


Gifts for that special someone


We love the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre. It is generally a calm oasis in the trees, and what better place to find something that represents Lynn Valley. From nature-themed books to stuffed animals of local animals to eco-goods, there are delightful stocking stuffers and treasured gifts. 

If you want to support small businesses and local makers, creators, and authors – visit End of the Line General Store. Always packed with a beautifully curated collection, End of the Line pulls out all the stops for the holidays. Choosing something from this neighbourhood shop also supports so many other local artists. The shop is featuring KylesKiosk this season – malas made by Kyle as part of his journey with CHARGE syndrome. 

Did you know there are many sweet treats at Nourish especially brought in to stuff all those stockings? The curated collection offers quality sweets and treats that will be a bit better for your body and come from companies whose business practices are a bit better for the earth. 


Filling the house


Half the fun of the holidays is decorating and participating in all the traditions that make it special. 

We always love the creations at Mountain Market – and remember their generosity this year donating a flower to every Argyle grad? From wreaths to centerpieces to perfect bouquets. 

The Holiday Shop is now live at Local Flora – order some stunning floral decor. Our pick is the magnolia wreath – wow! She is also offering a floral subscription service for 2021.

Virtual love

We cannot all be together this year – but we can still share a bite. Folia Events is offering grazing boxes you order for delivery to family and friends, crack open a bottle of wine and launch a virtual celebration. 


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.

2020 needs a Good Neighbour

This tumultuous year has given us some outstanding signs of hope. We want to recognize the volunteers who make our neighbourhood a better place. There is no doubt this is our favorite time of year here at Lynn Valley Life: The Good Neighbor Award season.  Year after year this is a highlight for all of us.


Our quiet contributors


Day-to-day we try to gather interesting and innovative stories about Lynn Valley but one thing that is often missed are the quiet stories. The good that goes on in our neighborhood everyday – often unnoticed beyond the person or organization helped.  Perhaps it’s an essential worker pushing hard or a volunteer that adapted and pivoted to keep supporting the cause they are passionate about. In 2020, we have seen some spectacular acts.

We have people step up in times of need, we have those that day in and day out give of their time, money and energy. We have those that invest in our schools, our community groups, our churches. We have those that are staples on our streets who step up and help neighbours and friends whenever it’s needed. From helping refugees to outstanding coaches to people who are practically community institutions.


Pillars of the community


The Good Neighbour Award has been going strong since 2012. We receive heartfelt nominations – some short, some long. Check out some previous winners and read their stories – we have an exceptional community! We were able to celebrate Matina Spiropoulos in 2019.  The year before, we had Linda Munro, a local who puts her hands in so many local groups. In the past, we have had Tim Green, a tireless supporter of the Lynn Valley Services Society and Molly Nye House. Dave and Wilna Parry passionate advocates for refugees and immigrants. In 2015 we were proud to recognize Cath Bates Dimmock a volunteer with Argyle Secondary for more than 10 years! We have shared the astounding work of Lizz Lindsay and her charity Sharing Abundance that brings people together through food and programs address food insecurity and social isolation. We love hearing about who makes a difference in your life and our community.


How to nominate your good neighbour


Who might our Good Neighbour be for 2020? Please send us a note telling us why you think your nominee makes Lynn Valley a better place to be. It doesn’t have to be long and fancy – just from the heart! Please send your suggestions to info@LynnValleyLife.com before November 23, 2020. Lynn Valley’s Good Neighbour will receive a plaque, a restaurant gift certificate, and some well-deserved recognition!


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.

Docu series to showcase North Shore Rescue

When a yellow helicopter flies over Lynn Valley at first light, residents know that some of their neighbours have been spending the night in some dreadful and, likely, dangerous situations trying to help someone’s loved one. This month the volunteers that makeup North Shore Rescue are hitting the small screen. Coming to the Knowledge Network November 10 (on cable and online) Peg Leg Films’ Search and Rescue: North Shore will share the commitment of those volunteers in a five-part series.


Investing time


Peg Leg Films’ most recent project is a follow-up up to their past success with outdoor films. As creators of 2018’s This Mountain Life, producer, director, and cinematographer Grant Baldwin brought along fellow cinematographer Ian Christie to complete a year-long project embedded with North Shore Rescue. 

“They gave us full access,” said Baldwin. “Every call we did with them. Our skills improved and we practiced alongside them.” 

Just like the volunteers they were chronicling Baldwin and Christie became experts in on the fly decisions. They drew on their extensive outdoor experience and relied on each other’s strengths to capture the best film.

“As the year progressed we improved our teamwork, we figured out who should go in on foot and who should stay back and fly with the helicopter,” he said. “We also made some bad calls. There are some rescues with interesting stories but didn’t make the cut because we didn’t capture them well.”

A conversation with Baldwin reveals a deep respect for the volunteers and the commitment they make to help others. 

“Whoever volunteers for the team, goes in knowing it is not an individual commitment – it’s a whole family commitment,” says Baldwin. “We were filming the SAR manager at home on Thanksgiving and getting ready to go on a walk to talk about that. Then a call comes in and off we go. It’s hard on the people at home. The husbands and wives have to be just as committed.

“It struck me after a really long call. It was hard work, we had spent all night waiting in the bush and I was tired. I was thankful this was my job [filming]. These guys were going to head home, get dry, and head out for a full day of work.”


Teamwork


A year spent with the North Shore Rescue team, left and lasting impact on Baldwin and Christie. 

“There is so much camaraderie in the group – that is why people do this for more than 30 years,” said Baldwin. “When we finished we realized how much we missed these people. You learn a lot about each other sitting in the bush waiting for sunrise, there is a lot of opportunity to talk and make connections. These are intense experiences and they support each other so well.”

One very public example of this was the support of the Piggot family, said Baldwin. Jay Piggot was an ambulance paramedic and North Shore Rescue volunteer who passed away from cancer in 2017. The team organized everything from fundraisers to taking care of holiday preparations for the family. 

The two filmmakers were deeply affected by their time on the project, so much so they have officially joined as resource support to missing persons cases bringing their drone skills to the search team, said Baldwin.


Lessons learned


North Shore Rescue can be quite public with some of its work, but so much goes on behind the scenes, Baldwin hopes the project shares that side of the team. 

“We know the high volume of calls the team gets, those numbers would be even higher. Instead, NSR has made decisions to help mitigate those calls,” said Baldwin. “They could see the escalating trend of calls on the Grouse Grind, so they organized a nightly sweep – every night two members walk down the trail to guide those stuck after dark. That simple idea reduced calls significantly.”

Baldwin says he learned a lot about the people NSR gets called out to rescue.

“I think most people think it’s just a bunch of stupid people in poor footwear – they roll and ankle, or fall and hit their head,” said Baldwin. “But a lot of the calls could happen to anybody at any time.”

Following the team for a year exposed Baldwin to difficult calls that don’t make the news. 

“They deal with calls where the people don’t want to come home, they don’t want to be found,” he said. “That is so hard. It was hardest to film the people we didn’t find or who passed away. We want to show that respectfully but not shy away. That is an experience these volunteers take home. We saw that the information NSR provides families about their loved one – where they were, how their last day likely went –  was very important.”

Another take away he hopes viewers leave with is a new respect for the pilots.

“Strictly speaking the helicopter pilots aren’t members of NSR, but they are being trusted with their lives,” said Baldwin. “The terrain is tricky back there and they are so skilled. I was amazed to see them work. We look at the mountains and see all the trees, but it’s really piles of jagged, gnarly rock. 

“I hope the series doesn’t scare people out of the backcountry, I hope it shows the beauty of the place and the people that work there and that will inspire people to enjoy it.”

Search and Rescue: North Shore debuts Nov. 10th on Knowledge Network at 9 p.m. and can also be streamed online. Peg Leg Films next project returns again to the mountains – this time inside. They are currently documenting a project on caving. 


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.

Halloween – pandemic style

There has been much discussion in the daily updates for Covid-19 about Halloween. Dr. Bonnie Henry, at this point, is adamant it can go on. There have been guidelines written by the BC Centre for Disease Control and creative minds working throughout the community.  


What will Halloween look like?


We have been thinking about how we can help the community enjoy the annual tradition in the most safe and responsible way.

First and foremost: If you are sick, do not trick or treat and do not hand out candy.

  • Keep celebrations to those you live with or very, very small groups (think six). No big house parties this year.
  • Celebrate outside – be careful with handsanitizer near open flames. It is very flammable.
  • Follow the BC CDC’s guidelines for safer celebrations.
  • This year, avoid using props that can cause coughing, such as smoke machines.

We are building a map and will continue you to add homes and displays to visit in the days leading up to Halloween weekend. We will continuously add to it throughout the month of October. If you click on the map (or the square with the arrow in the upper left), we have layers letting you know which homes are fun for all ages and which are spookier. There are definitely some favourites on here like the Haslers and the Tindales on Wellington. 


Help build the Halloween neighbourhood map


From Sykes to Peters and many nooks and crannies in between, we see so many get in the spooky spirit of Halloween.  LynnValleyLife will be putting together a Halloween Map. If you go over the top wth house decorations or know of a great display, please send it our way. We want families to enjoy the community spirit of Halloween – without door knocking – in the days around the holiday. You can use the from below or this link to add to the map. These don’t have to be your home, please add your neighbours homes too – if they have a display they want people to see it.


Tips for a symptom-free celebration


Trick-or-treating can be done safely by following these tips

  1. Respect homes by staying away if the lights are out.
  2. Keep to your local neighbourhood this year.
    • Avoid trick-or-treating in busy areas or indoors (in places like malls) since there may not be enough space to distance. Indoor spaces may require a non-medical mask or face covering.
  3. Trick-or-treat in a small social group, stick to six people.
    • Leave space between you and other groups to reduce crowding on stairs and sidewalks.
  4. Wash your hands before you go out, when you get home, and before eating treats.
    • Keep hand sanitizer with you if eating treats on the go.
    • You don’t need to clean every treat. You should instead wash your hands after handling treats and not touch your face.

Get creative handing out treats

  1. Get creative!
    • Use tongs, a baking sheet or make a candy slide to give more space when handing out candy.
    • Plan to hand out individual treats instead of offering a shared bowl.
    • Only hand out sealed, pre-packaged treats.
  2. Wear a non-medical mask that covers your nose and mouth when handing out treats.
  3. Be more outside, than inside.
    • If you can, stand outside your door to hand out treats. Then kids won’t need to touch the door or doorbell.
    • If you’re unable to sit outside to hand out treats, clean and disinfect doorbells and knobs, handrails, and any other high touch surface often during the evening
  4. If you are decorating, avoid props that can cause coughing, such as smoke machines.
  5. Stick to the treats – not tricks.

Source: BC Centre for Disease Control


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.

A little Local Love

In a time of disconnection the United Way is trying to bring Lynn Valley together. The organization is offering residents a one-time grant to help build community with its Local Love campaign.


Building community


For the last few months Sarah Dugan has been working for the United Way as a Community Builder. Her territory includes various parts of the North Shore including Lynn Valley. 

“We want to help bring a little bit of happiness to life,” said Dugan. 

She has been working over the last several months with direct outreach to local community members as well as creating initiatives that bring people together. 

“Community builders reach out to members of the community and help their specific needs like cleaning supplies or groceries, help for seniors, virtual check ins, mental health support – connecting to resources if they need it. It can be hard to navigate systems online – to figure how to get the help that you need – and I can help them. Having someone who has lived in the community and growing up can be an important part of that.”

To learn more about the ongoing projects follow check out the initiative’s Facebook page. If you or someone you know need support you can reach out to the United Way through Dugan (sarahd@uwlm.ca) or visit the United Way online.  


Local Love


The last big project for the community builders is to support the residents with their own initiatives to build Local Love, said Dugan. The Local Love project offers grants of upto $1000 to people with ideas to connect others within our community. 

“This is a way for people to get involved and get to know people in their neighbourhood,” she said. “When we are spending so much time at home, we aren’t seeing our neighbours as much and we aren’t having people in our home spaces. Sometimes families with young kids get to know each other but it is not as easy when you are older. Adults sometimes don’t know their neighbours in the same way, it would be nice to see some kind of connection created.” 

Examples across the Vancouver area include physically distant block parties, comfort and hobby bags. 

“We now want to focus on a bit of long term community between the people who are hosting the projects and those participating in the projects, so it’s not just a drop off situation,” she said. “You need to be a little bit creative in figuring out what kind of project can do that. We are really pushing for ones that have some sort of community aspect – and it doesn’t have to be in person. It can also be something online.”

Dugan really loved the creativity and connection fostered by one project that received funding in another Local Love region. She explained two women hosted art classes and had families sign up and dropped off supplies each week. The families shared their completed art with the organizers, who in turn when dropping off supplies the following week dropped off images of other projects sharing with the community of participants what everyone had made. 


How it works


 “We would like to help build relationships that go beyond the length of the project,” said Dugan. “I would really like to see different residents come together and meet each other.” 

Dugan explained there is an application process – and interested people should contact her directly so she can walk them through the application process With her guidance there tends to be less back and forth and a quicker funding result, she said. 

“Each neighbourhood has a budget – the North Shore has used about half of it and we have space for about four to five more in Lynn Valley,” said Dugan.  

How to get started: 

  • Applications must be completed by an adult, resident of Lynn Valley (but can be a representative for a larger group working together).
  • Outline the project
  • Break down of budget (max $1000) with money earmarked for supplies, time is to be volunteered.  
  • Be open to support from Dugan to help the project be successful. 
  • Projects need to be completed at the latest, in November. 
  • Applications due by late October (Dugan can provide specifics). 
  • For all the details and application contact Sarah Dugan sarahd@uwlm.ca

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.

A Covid kind of Halloween

Among the many changes of Covid-19 are the loss of community events. The big one for many families this fall will be the changes to Halloween. We have been thinking about how we can help the community enjoy the annual tradition in the most safe and responsible way. 


What will Halloween look like?


We are about seven weeks away from ghouls and goblins, creepers and princesses taking over the streets of Lynn Valley. The past few years celebration have centred on Wellington Drive and Dovercourt Road – where the Dovercourt Crypt has been stepping up its spookiness year after year. Last year the streets were wall to wall people with kids tightly lined up at doors that never closed.

That can’t happen this year but the celebrating can still go on in new ways. Dr.Bonnie Henry has just released this information. There is the expectation that Halloween has smaller celebrations and families will choose carefully how they celebrate. More specific guidelines will come in the weeks ahead.


Halloween neighbourhood map


We want to bring the community together – but still safely remain a part. Schools likely won’t be hosting pumpkin patches or fall fairs. We know this will leave a big hole in the heart of the community this fall.

We have some ideas and would love to hear yours – how can we embrace this holiday as a community but a part? Email us your ideas at info@lynnvalleylife.com.

We have one plan in the works and a contest or two.

We know there are a great number of Halloween displays all over the community. From Sykes to Peters and many nooks and crannies in between, we see so many get in the spooky spirit of Halloween.  LynnValleyLife will be putting together a Halloween Map. If you go over the top wth house decorations or know of a great display, please send it our way. We want families to enjoy the community spirit of Halloween – without door knocking – in the days around the holiday. You can use the from below or this link to join the map.


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.

Masked crusader

When many young people are enjoying their last taste of summer, Lynn Valley’s Jake Musgrave is donning a mask and taking up a crusade across Canada raising money for Covid relief and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – all by bike.


Doable


August 28th 23-year-old Musgrave will clip into his pedals and hit the road, aiming to arrive in Halifax a month later. He hopes the ride will do more than take him across the country. Musgrave hopes to raise money as well.

His dual causes – Covid-19 relief and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – hit close to home and are more linked than it would first appear. Musgrave lost his father Randy at eight-years-old to leukemia. It’s a disease that feels powerless to fight and a surprise when it hits, he said. 

“It was so sudden,” said Musgrave. “He was healthy, active, a firefighter. He didn’t know what was happening. He inspires me to live an active, healthy life.”

Musgrave sees Covid-19 as a situation where we don’t have to go it alone. 

“Let’s be in this together, let’s protect each other,” he said. “Wear a mask so you can protect others. I don’t want someone else to have the trauma of losing a loved one.”

He is taking his own advice and is planning on riding all 6,021 kilometres while wearing a mask.   

“When I first approached I thought it would be tough. It certainly is harder to ride with the mask on – I have noticed that after some longer rides. It’s awkward but doable,” said Musgrave. “Wearing a mask and doing something small to keep everyone safe is huge support. Just think about it – wherever you go, grab your phone, your wallet, your keys, your mask.”


Across Canada


The trip has been laid out with varying distances each day from the shortest 112km to the longest 250km, with the goal to finish in 30-33 days. It could be less if he surpasses his expectations, he said. The sections were divided based on elevation gain.

“I am planning on the Coquihalla and through the Rockies at Golden and Revelstoke,” he explained. “Pretty much along the Trans Canada but I have spoken to cyclists who have done it to hear about better routes where the shoulder is wider or secret spots where I won’t get blown away by big trucks.”

While Musgrave has plenty of riding experience this will be his biggest adventure to date. 

“I have been riding from age six or seven when my dad got me out on my mountain bike – he was a very active man,” said Musgrave. “But it was really my aunt Lesley [Tomlinson] an Olympic [mountain bike]  athlete who got me into road racing in Grades 11 and 12.” 

To date Musgrave’s longest ride is 240km, just short of his expected longest ride of the trip. 

He works at the cycling gym TaG and gets in plenty of riding but is also intensifying his training working at longer distances at his goal pace around 30km/h. 

“Since I decided to do this ride I have decided to step it up,” said Musgrave. “I have always done TaG two or three times a week but I need to train harder and do it almost every single day.” 

The ride will take Musgrave the furthest east he has ever been in Canada. He credits fellow North Shore and TaG rider Jane Weller for inspiring him to aim big. 

“She rode across the country alone –  which is phenomenal. I figured if she could do it I could give it a try.” 

Musgrave, on the other hand, is choosing with his tighter timeline to be supported on the road by friends driving with a trailer. As for challenges, he is preparing for saddle sores and wind. 

“I’ve been through a lot. I think I am pretty mentally strong.” 

You can support Musgrave by donating to his two GoFundMe links: Covid-19 relief and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. You can follow his journey on Facebook and a forthcoming Instagram account. 


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 on the edge

We live in a special place. Nestled between two mountains on the edge of one of the world’s best cities, it is a unique situation shared by few other places. Where else in the world can you live a 20 minute drive from downtown but also be a 20 minute bike ride from the backcountry. As summer comes full force we need to think about how to keep our special community, our homes and forest safe.


Wildfire home protection


Living on the edge of the forest there are some unique considerations to prepare your home to be in its best position to resist fire. The District of North Vancouver has an interactive website offering suggestions. 

  • Use fire resistant plants: Plant wildfire resistant plants within 10m of your house (avoid pine, cedar, spruce, and juniper)
  • Replace conifer hedges:  Replace flammable conifer hedges with low flammable species.
  • Prune conifer trees: Prune conifer trees to give a 3m separation from ground to crown, and to buildings.
  • Clear eaves: Clear your eaves regularly to ensure no build-up of debris.
  • Screen your roof vents: Put screens over vents to keep debris and embers out.
  • Replace cedar roofs: Replace cedar roofs with non-combustible ones (metal, ceramic, asphalt).
  • Use fire retardant coatings: Treat fences, decks, and garden sheds with a fire retardant coating.

Keeping the home fires burning – maybe


There are clear regulations of what is allowed for recreational burning on the District of North Vancouver website. While gas or propane fueled devices are generally allowed, most wood burning units are not. 

Permitted:

  • burner (natural gas or propane)
  • outdoor gas fire bowl
  • gas barbecue
  • charcoal barbecue
  • patio heater (natural gas or propane)

These open fires are not permitted (minimum $400 fine):

  • fire pit
  • chiminea
  • outdoor fireplace
  • fire bowl/yard campfire
  • Requiring permit: beach/park fire and outdoor pizza oven 

Learn more


For those planning more extensive construction this summer there are additional regulations that need to be considered. 

There are also additional resources from the the province and federal governments. 

From the archives

We spoke with the District of North Vancouver Fire Rescue about its wildfire preparations and how they were training additional District staff to support their work in the event of a fire. Check out that post here


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

Isolation adventures in Upper Lynn

In the weeks prior to the covid-19 pandemic call to stay home and stay safe, Lynn Valley’s Paul Dixon was putting many kilometres on his car, traversing the Lower Mainland photographing whatever piqued his interest. That all stopped March 20. 


Stay close to home


Retired almost two decades from his main career in municipal government, Dixon is now a freelance writer and photographer. Choosing to focus on projects that suit his passions gives him adventures near and far.  

“I was a professional wanderer,” he says. “I couldn’t make myself stay home, why would I? If it’s a beautiful day and I am gone.”

With a check of his notes, Dixon lists March trips criss crossing the Vancouver-area and beyond with his cameras. There were numerous stops in Ambleside and Burnaby Lake, but also Port Coquitlam, White Rock, the Rifle Bird Sanctuary in Delta, Harrison Mills and plenty more. He also has a clear date when that all changed. 

“I got a flicker on a neighbour’s chimney, and that is as far as I have been with my camera since March 20,” he says. “I am out on my back deck with a camera or one or two cameras  – doing my bit for society camped out at home. I put my feet up, with a book and a big glass of water and catch whatever comes.”


Backyard birds


The result has been a spontaneous collection of the life around his Upper Lynn home – much of it shared online. It’s an interesting reflection of life for everyone during the pandemic. With the request by local authorities to stay home, he was forced to reframe his interests – and their footprint. Since the pandemic began he has been delighting locals online with his beautiful wildlife images, all taken in his yard. 

Stellar’s Jay

“Now I am having just as good a time sitting on the back steps,” says Dixon. “I think that the past six weeks has been an opportunity to look at the world I’ve lived in up here in Lynn Valley though a slightly different perspective.” 

Claiming not to be a “birder” with a bucket list, Dixon does enjoy clicking things that fly from birds to planes. His current work is fitting in well with his passions. 

Conscious of wildlife beyond birds in his yard, Dixon forewent birder feeders for 15 years, concerned they lure bears and other creatures into the yard. With an eye to black bear foraging season he has temporarily added some to the yard. 

“It’s interesting to see some birds are attracted to the feeders but for the most part they aren’t interested in them. They take care of themselves. They pop in and pop out. It’s just fleeting glances.”

His patience has captured everything from the small – stunning hummingbirds to high drama – pigeon versus squirrel. 

The weather was generally pretty good and that gave me the opportunity to watch as the flowers started to bloom and it seemed that every day there was something new to see. Small details perhaps, but different from the day before. Some of the birds like the Juncos are here every day, while others like the Bushtits and Kinglets are infrequent visitors.”


Embracing the tools


Dixon’s own love of photography has evolved over time. He recalls his first photo was a squirrel in Stanley Park at 10 years old. But it was the transition from film to digital photography, coupled with “retirement” that stoked his enthusiasm. 

“It’s an interest in the world around me – things I see, that maybe others do not,” he says. “The ones I like are the ones that I don’t know I have taken. When you sit down later and discover a great one.”

It doesn’t take a lot to get started in photography, says Dixon. A bit of equipment and time in the saddle will get you off to a good start.   

“The camera is a tool, I will encounter serious photographers with really nice cameras taking one picture, two pictures and waiting for the perfect picture,” he says. “But with a decent digital camera set up and a high frame rate and a bit of understanding of exposure and light, let the camera work for you. Take lots of pictures and you will get some stunning shots.

I’ve got a decent camera and it takes decent photos. Can’t ask for much more than that. It’s also really important that you know what you like in terms of the results you’re looking for. I’ve got a friend who’s got the same equipment as I do – same camera body and same lens. We’ll go out for a day, shoot a zillion photos and end up with two very different ‘looks’ for the day.”

It has taken him a bit longer to get onboard with the camera most of us have. It gives an easy opportunity to dabble in photography. 

“I don’t often go somewhere without my camera but it took me a while to realize, I always have a camera – a 12mp camera or something on my phone and I have gotten some really good pictures – even sold some.” 

With the ask to stay close to home, covid-19 is a chance to dabble in something new. There aren’t any big secrets to photography, he says. Dixon offers two simple pieces of advice:

“You can’t do this with a subject that doesn’t interest you” and “Take lots of pictures – don’t get hung up on one or two.”

All images are courtesy of Paul Dixon. 


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