Ready and willing to help

There is a new option for notary services in our neighbourhood and we are so proud to welcome Kay Manabe Senju Notary as a new officemate. Manabe is expanding her business to serve Lynn Valley with her typical knowledge and warmth.

Help where it is needed

With the departure of Lynn Valley’s previous notary, Manabe knew she wanted to help. Building on her Lonsdale practice, the new office in Lynn Valley will continue to offer her notary services including wills, real estate, and general affidavits and declarations.

“I want to serve people with compassion,” she said. “As I became a single mom, I was using the legal system and I know how hard it is. I knew I wanted to help people. As a notary, I can be patient and compassionate.”

Knowing that sometimes notary services are needed during some particularly stressful and trying times, Manabe will also visit clients in their homes, care homes or hospitals. 

“I need to see my clients to make sure they are being taken care of and have the capacity for these decisions, that can be done with Zoom or in-person where they are if they can’t come to my office,” she said. “A lot of seniors can’t leave their homes – I can. I don’t mind. I want to help and I have worked with the social workers at Lions Gate Hospital.”

Protecting yourself, caring for others

Manabe shared that only 50 percent of British Columbians have wills.

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

In addition to a will, she recommends a power of attorney, and a representation agreement, and an advanced directive (the latter two take care of your needs should you become incapacitated). 

“No one likes the idea of creating a will at the best of times but it is easier when you are happy and healthy,” she said. “The process can simply start with some forms to fill out which helps me understand your needs. From there we can sit together and go through it. People don’t like to talk about death, don’t worry I will do the talking and guide you through.”

Choosing your legal professional

Notary publics can be a choice for transactional legal matters that are non-contentious such as personal planning, real estate, declarations and affidavits, travel documents for minors and many more.

“On the matters we specialize in, we have the same training as lawyers,” she said. “Like lawyers, there are high-priced notaries and low-price notaries. It all depends. It is important you find a notary you are comfortable with and who is transparent about their fees.”

She adds that when choosing any professional service, it is important to check that the notary is in good standing with the Society of Notaries Public of BC. This will ensure the notary is covered by insurance and has the education needed to perform their duties. 

“This is an important relationship. You need to trust your notary and feel comfortable asking questions,” said Manabe. “I want to take the time so you are not rushing decisions. 

“If I can’t help you, I will use my network – that is Senju means – a thousand hands. I will refer you to professionals: lawyers, accountants, mortgage brokers that I trust.”

Senju Notary can be found at the LynnValleyLife offices at 3171 Mountain Hwy on Tuesdays and Friday or contacted by phone: 604-818-7710.

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.

Gillian Konst – Good Neighbour 2022

We are so pleased to announce our Good Neighbour 2022 is Gillian Konst! As we mark our 11th annual community contributor, she joins the ranks of Lynn Valley greats like Bob McCormack, Tim Green, Matina Spiropoulos, Linda Munro, Gord Trousdell, and others.

Decades of giving back

Gillian Konst and LVL’s Jim Lanctot at the Parade of Lights.

Not one but two nominations for Gillain Konst came into our inbox this year – following a nomination in years past. Currently, at the helm of the Lynn Valley Community Association’s board of directors, Konst has been a constant contributor for 30 years or so.

“I can’t be a part of something and not give back,” said Konst, after the surprise – to her – announcement at the Parade of Trees light up December 4th.

Longtime friend and fellow LVCA volunteer Stefanie Donohoe, echoes Konst’s thoughts. 

“She is the type of person who loves doing things for the community,” said Donohoe. “She brings people together to do what they do best. Many of the other volunteers in Lynn Valley – like myself –  are a direct result of Gillian getting us involved and making us want to do something for our community.”

Donohoe also mentioned Gillian is quick to hide in the background and pass on recognition to the others involved. In fact, the first words out of Konst’s mouth at the announcement were:

“There are a lot more people behind this than just me!”

Constant contributing

It is Konst’s consistency of support that benefits Lynn Valley, starting many years ago. She was a supporter of youth soccer, Beavers and Cubs, and the Eastview PAC when her sons were in school. Then it was a trip to the library that started her greater community involvement. 

“I was in line at the Friends of the Library book sale when I saw a little leaflet asking for volunteers and I thought – that might be fun,” she said. “We didn’t have a lot of money at the time, so I liked the idea of giving my time.”

That led to volunteer hours, then a position on the board. Soon she was involved with the Lynn Valley Lions, garden and flower clubs, the Lynn Valley Services Society, helping seniors, and of course the Lynn Valley Community Association.

“If you need to get something done in Lynn Valley, go to Gillian,” said Susie Chant, MLA for North Vancouver Seymour. “She is such an active and motivated force and really knows how to bring community together. I am so glad to be able to see the amazing work she does, and I always love volunteering with her for the Lynn Valley Community Association.”

Learning from mentors, leaving a legacy

Konst’s passion for giving back comes from her parents and she hopes she has passed it on to her sons. 

“I got it from my mom – she was always giving back from my earliest days as a Brownie,” she said. “My dad worked away so much but he did a lot for sport for disadvantaged kids in the UK through the Lord’s Taverners. Volunteering is in my genes”

Before the surprise announcement.

She is proud her sons have taken on roles of coaches and supported cadets. Her civic support has inspired future community leaders like Susie Chant’s assistant and past DNV council candidate, Eli Manning.

“Having grown up as her neighbour, Gillian truly stands out as a leader in our community,” he said. “She does her absolute best to bring people together and make Lynn Valley a more connected and beautiful place.”

As Konst looks to step back from her board position at the LVCA, she hopes to support the next era of volunteers. 

“To thrive an organization needs new ideas and ways of doing things,” she said. “I want the community association to do well and that won’t happen without others bringing their energy and ideas.”

She will continue to be a part of the LVCA helping out with their community plans.

“I love the events, even when I am bone weary,” she said. “Then I see a child or a senior participating in something happy that I helped create and I know I am doing something special.”

With numerous volunteer opportunities available in Lynn Valley at the LVCA, the Disability Resource Centre and the Lynn Valley Services Society, there are plenty of chances to reap the benefits, she said. 

“You make good friends and build connections to the community you can’t in any other way. Those friends become your supports when you need them. It’s such a reward to create happiness in the community – it’s addictive.”

We would like to thank the Black Bear Neighbourhood Pub for donating a gift certificate for our Good Neighbour Award. 

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.

Looking for our Good Neighbour 2022

It is our favourite time of year: for a decade we have been shining a light on those that make Lynn Valley better! We want to celebrate the community members that share their time and skills to make our neighbourhood better. We are once again looking for nominations for our Good Neighbour for 2022. 

Notable neighbours

Day-to-day we try to gather interesting and innovative stories about Lynn Valley but one thing that can be missed is the quietest of stories. The good that goes on in our neighborhood every day – often unnoticed beyond the person or the organization helped.  

We have people step up in times of tragedy, 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.

A decade of outstanding contributions

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! Last year we recognized the great Bob McCormack. 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 are 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 that 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 2022? 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 [email protected] before November 25, 2021. 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.

CBC broadcaster shares joy of Lynn Valley

A childhood dream was realized when a pandemic move brought CBC’s Johanna Wagstaffe to Lynn Valley. The well-known face of Canadian weather has been showing off our neighbourhood ever since. 

Early roots

Over the last year and a half, Lynn Valley has been playing a background role in some CBC broadcasts, as meteorologist and science host Johanna Wagstaffe broadcasts for the network from her home.

“I was so privileged to move here during the pandemic,” she said between live interviews for CBC about September’s Hurricane Fiona. “It was finding solace and falling in love with these trails when that was all we had. I feel lucky that I get to live here and share that with our audience.”

It had been a long time coming for Wagstaffe who first explored the North Shore as a girl. 

“I grew up in Ontario but both my parents immigrated to Canada in the 70s. My extended family on my dad’s side lived in North Vancouver,” she said. “As I kid we used to spend summers exploring the Lynn Valley forests with my grandmother – I have so many great memories of her teaching me about nature.”

With a growing family of her own and her parents on this side of the water, 10 years after moving to Vancouver, Wagstaffe has settled in Lynn Valley.  

“We realized it was time to get closer to nature. It was my hope that I could end up in Lynn Valley and I am so happy I did. This is our forever home.” 

Local micro climate

Now that she’s a resident, Wagstaffe and her expertise confirmed what many locals think: Lynn Valley has its own distinct weather. 

“Lynn Valley is unique,” she said. “We often get these systems coming in from the southwest and they sort of run into our mountains – Grouse and Seymour. They climb up the ridge on the southwest side and sort of get rung out. These little cells get stuck over Lynn Valley as they move from the southwest to the northeast. I love watching them on the radar.”

It doesn’t take too many clouds to lead to more rain. 

“We do get more rain but we also get more interesting skies,” she added. “I love watching the snowline – often we are the snowline – and I think we are going to see that again this year as we head into another La Niña. The difference between Lonsdale and Lynn Valley is huge. When I am in [Vancouver] I love looking over and seeing those little clouds that look like mustaches on our mountains. It might be a bit wetter but in the grand scheme of things it is more interesting and that is what makes it so much greener too.” 

No bad weather, only bad gear

With the local environment as a big lure to our community, Wagstaffe and her family make sure they enjoy it. 

“We are out every single day rain or shine. I have always been someone who isn’t afraid to go out in it – and moving from Ontario to BC – British Columbians are better at gearing up and getting out,” she said. 

Those that follow Wagstaffe on Instagram will frequently see her and her son Wesley out in local parks sharing regional weather updates from a Lynn Valley perspective.  

“I have a dog – Rodney – he has so many best friends now in Lynn Valley so he gets me out and bringing my son along,” she said. “It has been so exciting relearning what I love about weather through my son’s eyes. He hasn’t lost interest yet but I am sure he will find me annoying but for now, it’s so wonderful.”

The get-out-there attitude has made Wagstaffe’s job even more rewarding  

“I know that being out for every story I tell means a lot to people – the floods, the heat dome. Last Christmas, [CBC] had our open house again and I heard from people about the impact of experiencing the weather with them.”

Climate Changers

Field reporting weather stories has prompted Wagstaffe to add author to her resume (which also includes podcaster). Seeing firsthand the impacts of climate change inspired her to connect with children. Her third book – Little Pine Cone – was published this summer. 

“I knew after the back-to-back wildfire seasons of 2016-2017 that this was the next topic. I saw climate anxiety coming out in the students I was talking to – in a way I never had before,” she said. “I wanted to find a way to connect with them. Anthropomorphizing a pine cone is how I did it after it worked so well with a cloud in my earlier book. There are natural processes, humans have disrupted some but these extreme weather events aren’t all ‘bad.’ Climate change is enhancing them but there are good things about these cycles as well.”

Wagstaffe says her hope is to give agency to youth. 

“The part of my job I love the most is getting to talk to children. My first two books discussing climate change were written before I had my son, and after having him I have realized how important it is to empower them with knowledge. I interact with kids of all different ages – all the way up through to highschool – and climate anxiety is real and it is impacting young people in ways I never experienced.” 

She doesn’t want British Columbians to feel lost or overwhelmed when considering our climate future. 

“I have realized over the past few years that climate change is no longer theoretical. It’s impacting Canadians and it’s impacting British Columbians. My neighbours and my community are affected,” she said.  

Her latest radio special offers hope. Climate Changers aired in September. 

“It’s telling the stories of individuals who are combating climate change in their own way,” said Wagstaffe. “How small actions hopefully have big ripple effects. I am always looking at stories through the data and the numbers can seem scary. It is so reassuring to hear what people are doing on the ground now and how big a difference it is making.”

Her next project will follow a similar theme – with a local tie-in. 

“I can’t say too much but there is another exciting  [CBC TV] project hopefully launching in the fall talking about climate change and climate change solutions – I am really excited and you can expect Lynn Valley to be featured.”

Community connection has proven valuable to Wagstaffe and made the science she is so passionate about more accessible. By inviting viewers and the public into her neighbourhood, she hopes it helps form a solid foundation to help make a better world. 

“By opening up more and sharing the community I live in shows I am affected and also sharing the joy I get being here. As a meteorologist and someone who is so interested in the interplay between our relationship with nature and nature-based solutions, I like sharing that world and giving people ideas of how they can get connected to that world, no matter where they live.”

Locally, Wagstaffe’s latest books are available at Kidsbooks and the NVDPL.

Images courtesy of Johanna Wagstaffe and Orca Book Publishers. 

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 day at the museum

With two months of open doors the new MONOVA Museum of North Vancouver is a great place to spend an afternoon learning about Lynn Valley and North Vancouver’s diverse history. More than 20 years in the making the new facility highlights the connection, passion for place, and the industry and enterprise of our community. 


The brand new museum is packed with information and interactive displays. The experience begins with an exploration of a genuine North Vancouver streetcar, before entering the flex space where presentations and education sessions are offered throughout visiting hours. Soon, MONOVA will also have an Indigenous planting garden on its terrace. From this central space, visitors have two options – visit the rotating feature room (estimated opening April) or walk through an atmospheric trailhead to the permanent gallery. 

“The museum and archives were founded in 1972,” said Stephen Irving, marketing and communications specialist for the museum. “About 20 years ago the agreement was forged that the District would provide space for the Archives and the City would provide the museum. The District delivered the archives building in 2006 and here we are 15 years later with the museum.”

Following the tradition of extensive online access already in place for the archives, the museum has also just launched a series of virtual experiences.

“There are nine videos that can be explored at home in an armchair or you can come in and use them as a guide,” said Irving. “This is a lesson from the pandemic. We want to be prepared and have offerings for a contactless visitor experience.”

Through an online virtual reality platform, visitors will enjoy exploring The Stories of Belonging on the North Shore through dramatic monologues, storytelling, songs, and supported with images and artifacts from the collections. 

The most recent innovation at MONOVA starts next weekend: sensory-friendly mornings. For people and families of all ages who are neurodiverse, the museum offers a calmer, quieter experience and respite spaces. Staff have recently undergone training with Canucks Autism Network to support this initiative. Upcoming dates include Feb. 20, March 20, April 17, and May 15. 

Our story

At the centre of the main gallery is an Indigenous welcome circle. The intimate space will be perfect for discussions and small-group learning opportunities, said Irving. The entire project was done with guidance and support of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, said Irving.

The museum has three key themes that guide the gallery celebrating connection, passion for place, and industry and enterprise. Each of the unique neighbourhoods and communities of the North Shore has representation. The permanent space has kid-zones on either end, but with flaps to open and drawers to explore there are hidden delights for kids to explore throughout the gallery (sure to delight: animal diets both the native plants and resulting scat).

To learn more about Lynn Valley on your visit try to discover the answers to these questions:

  • Before it was known as Lynn Valley, this community of loggers and shingle makers was known by what name? 
  • Which Group of Seven artist briefly called Lynn Valley home?
  • Which North Shore pioneer described himself as “…a sort of way-faring scribe, fascinated by the historical past and a lover of Nature’s handiwork in geology, botany and varied subjects?” 
  • Which Lynn Valley icon was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2015? 

If you aren’t quite ready to visit the museum in person but would like to learn more about Lynn Valley, MONOVA has created a unique family Geocaching experience starting at the Archives building beside Lynn Valley Elementary. For details scroll to the bottom of MONOVA’s events page

How to visit

MONOVA is located in the Shipyards neighbourhood and is open Thursday – Sunday: 11 am-5 pm at 115 West Esplanade.

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.

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,, 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 [email protected]. 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.

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.

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 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.” 

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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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Local student’s art to help LGHF

When he couldn’t quite put his thoughts into words, turning to art helped Bjorn Thor be heard. The Lynn Valley Elementary Grade 7 student is the winner of the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation’s annual greeting card contest.

Colourful creation

A piece from a young local artist is doing double the good on the North Shore. Thor’s piece of original art had a first life as a line drawing design for a colouring contest for Lynn Valley Elementary students. Now, full of colour, the piece is gracing fundraising greeting cards and will soon be on tables and mantels across Canada and beyond. 

“It’s warm, it’s whimsical and it makes you smile,” said Yolanda Brooks, communications manager. “Not only did Bjorn choose bright and bold colours, his illustration is full of small, subtle details that show that he is talented beyond his years. Everybody at the foundation loves the design and we’re sure the community will too.”

“It’s amazing,” said Thor. “Nothing has ever happened to me like this. I am really happy.”

The bold design chosen by the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation features a sunset, snowman and gingerbread house. Those details were noticed by the selection committee at LGHF.

The joyful image was designed to inspire other kids to get creative, said Thor.

“Since it was originally going to be for a colouring contest I wanted it to be really fun and make them want to draw,” he said.

Art as a way of life

Thor says art has been a part of his life since he could hold a pencil.

“I wasn’t very good at saying stuff when I was little, so I would draw it out,” he said. “So basically I have been drawing my whole life.”

Thor’s art opened an important communication avenue that gave him an early voice, said mom Ainsley. 

“He was a bit hard to understand, and I would say ‘Draw it for me.’ and I would get it right away,” she said. “Bjorn could draw better at two than I can at 40-something.”

Today, Thor is falling in the artistic footsteps of his father and grandfather who both attended Emily Carr University of Art and Design. 

“It makes me really happy while I am doing it. It’s something that I can always get better at,” said Thor. “I am not really a sports person, so for me art is the best.”

There are benefits for the family too.

“I don’t have to stand in the rain on Saturday afternoons,” laughed Ainsley. “But I do have to buy some expensive pens – which we are happy to do – and visit some sketchy places to check out the latest graffiti.”

Inspiration IRL and on Instagram

Inspiration from other artists’ social media accounts, like Germany’s Smoe Nova and Toronto’s Uber5000, motivated Thor to practice his skills enough to start his own Instagram. In a push to be like the artists he admired, Thor began to focus on his art improving and evolving his style. On his feed, you can see the transition from an early ink-and-paper style to digital art.

“My goal is to paint large pieces of graffiti on legal walls,” he said. “An Ipad or paper is pretty small. I wish I can do murals someday.”

The family is supportive of Thor’s passion, embarking on local graffiti walks and visiting prominent skateparks and graffiti alleys during a cross-country road trip last summer. A highlight was being able to see some of Uber5000’s work in person.

“If a kid loved science, the family would visit science centres,” said Ainsley. “For him, it’s graffiti. We are so proud and I love that he is doing what he loves.”

The LGHF greeting cards (12 for $15) are available at their foundation’s office, 231 East 15th Street, and will soon be on the shelves of local Save-On-Foods. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go towards the purchase of a second MRI machine at LGH. To check out Bjorn Thor’s art follow him on Instagram or check out his website

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.