More than books – how the NVDPL managed Covid-19

With a mandate well beyond books, the North Vancouver District Public Library, was a local leader in providing innovative programming and access to its materials and services. The move to take traditional paper and pivot to virtual services was quick and provided much needed escape and connection in early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. 


When everything changed


As the Covid-10 March closures unfolded throughout our community, it was perhaps the closure of the North Vancouver District Public Library that was felt most widely. From social seniors to parents and babies, from those on the society’s fringes to community-building groups – and everyone in between have always been welcome at the library until the doors were forced shut.  

 “For many of us, early March was a challenging time as we started to hear about COVID-19 impacting our community here, and particularly as we learned about the devastating outbreak at the Lynn Valley Care Centre where we make regular trips for Home Library Service Patrons,” said Jacqueline van Dyk, director of library services.  “Our hearts were with our community as we navigated the challenges presented by the pandemic in real time, as they were unfolding before us.” 

The NVDPL was asked to close its doors by the local health authority on March 16. Many people hearing the news took the last few hours to stock up on materials. 

My initial thoughts were focused on how we could keep our community and staff safe,” said van Dyk. “While everything was still very day-to-day, the one thing that became clear was that our service to the community is so vital.” 


More than just books


The library and its staff are well aware of the role it plays in the community – well beyond just books. Their mandate to support all residents coloured their priorities as the organization addressed its role for the coming months. 

“During this time of encouraged social-distancing and increased isolation, connecting with our community’s most vulnerable, and getting stories and resources into the hands of readers, was never more critical,” said van Dyk. “ And that we needed to continue to provide services to help our patrons during this time—whether that was for entertainment and educational purposes while we were all staying closer to home, or for our community’s most vulnerable populations who needed help staying connected and engaged.” 


Going virtual


The NVDPL saw an immediate uptick in digital circulation: an increase of 60 percent. 

“We know that there are many library users who were cut off from access to technology and the internet,” she said. “West Vancouver Memorial Library spearheaded a partnership with TELUS that all three North Shore libraries partnered on to help bridge that digital divide. A TELUS donation through the Take-Home Technology initiative provided many in our community with the opportunity to connect with friends and family, and library and government resources.”

The library plays a vital role in North Vancouver supporting those in social isolation and those in need of learning opportunities. The closure of meeting rooms and social spaces was felt deeply.

“The shift to digital content and virtual programs has been great for some, and in some ways, inadequate for others. This is a gap we’re looking at closely.”

van Dyk recognizes the larger community was incredibly supportive of the library, but it was the efforts of her staff that made all the difference. 

“I am grateful for the leadership and support from the local health authority, District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, and our municipality in the District of North Vancouver,” she said. “When many other libraries ceased almost all operations, our staff remained committed to delivering library service in North Vancouver. Our buildings may have been closed to the public, but our services remained open. I am immensely appreciative and proud of the work the NVDPL team has done to innovate and retool our services.”


Supporting the most vulnerable


One of the most valued services provided by the library is getting materials in the hands of people who can’t actually visit its facilities. Services the staff were dedicated to maintaining during this most challenging time. 

“Many of our patrons have mobility and visual and perceptual challenges that make it impossible for them to leave their homes,” said van Dyk. “Even as a coronavirus outbreak took place in our community, NVDPL staff remained committed to supporting Home Library Service and Talking Books patrons. We checked in with care homes and individuals who we regularly deliver to and adapted our procedures to ensure that these patrons had access to the content they rely on for entertainment and mental health purposes.”


Feeding the appetites of innovation


The importance of library materials as entertainment, education, escape and mental health tools were all key motivators for staff to think outside of the box and adapt. 

Within a week of closure, our staff had developed a proposal for an initiative to safely deliver physical books to our patrons,” said van Dyk “Restaurants and businesses were operating in this new way of curbside pickup, and we thought…can we do this too? Library Takeout at NVDPL was born, and our staff worked tirelessly to make it happen. 

“We took about a month to really think about the impacts, develop our plans for review by local health authorities, and receive training from infection control officers at North Vancouver District Fire and Rescue Services.”

To say the service has been successful is an understatement. Each week about 7000 books are borrowed through Takeout. The program was so well developed it has been adopted by other community libraries. From operating procedures to health and safety considerations, and even the Library Takeout logo were shared with other librarians who approached them for guidance on how to initiate similar programs at their libraries, said van Dyk. The programs and methods used by NVDPL have also been highlighted throughout the province, including by WorkSafe BC. 


The future


Like the school system, recreation facilities and other public institutions, the NVDPL can’t forecast what the future will look like. They have to negotiate the fine line of providing services while maintaining the health of their staff and patrons. 

“The reality is that we’re all in uncharted territory, and creating the path as we go,” said van Dyk. “Thinking back to how we were operating in early March, it’s hard to forecast what life will look like for us in 12 months—or even 12 weeks.” 

The first week of July, staff were able to offer a modified service – NVDPL Express – at all three of its locations. 

“We are so thrilled to welcome our community back for self-service holds pickup, browsing of Quick Picks, public computer access and printing, and some in-person help with accounts and accessing materials. This is our first step towards reintroducing in-person services in our facilities since March 16.” 

The staff are continuing to offer the community its virtual programs and services and innovating ways to restore more in-person services. 

“Establishing a phased reintroduction of services will help continue to slow the spread of coronavirus as well as ensure our ability to scale back or push forward, contingent on provincial health directives and how our community is responding,” said van Dyk. “The two things I am confident in right now are that the health and safety of NVDPL patrons and our staff remains our top priority, and that we will continually develop, grow, and adapt our services to ensure that we support our community through this time.”


This summer


Summer programs are still continuing  this summer. van Dyk offers these recommendations:


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.

Camp options in a covid world

There has been a lot of innovation going on behind the scenes of local small businesses and organizations offering kids summer camps. Most options were tossed out the window with Covid-19 safety concerns but a few have pushed through and adapted. We have a list of Lynn Valley activities still available to keep your kids busy and active this summer. 


Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre


The Ecology Centre has three mini-camps scheduled for August. Join Ecology Centre naturalists for adventures, fun, and outdoor education. These mini-camps are for children ages 6 to 9 and run from 9:30am to 12:30pm. Each mini-camp costs $79.95. Phone 604-990-3755 to register. 

If you are looking for a quick morning activity at home, the centre  also has some pre-recorded videos to check out on their website.


Endless Biking


Endless is back with Covid-19 procedures in place to offer mountain biking camps to children 6-16 year old. With half-day camps for the younger and full-day for older kids, their coaches will help instill confidence and skills on the trails. Prices range from $200-485 depending on the length and number of the camp days. Details and registration can be found on their website


Elevate Ultimate Frisbee


Elevate is offering both disc golf and ultimate frisbee activities this summer. Their disc golf camps take place at Eastview Elementary and their ultimate frisbee camp and teams meet at Kirkstone. Both activities are naturally more socially distant than many sports and will keep your kids active and outdoors. Though many camps are full there is space still available in some. Full details can be found on their website


Escape Adventures


Lynn Valley’s own Escape Adventures is back. They have four offerings this summer: The Rippers, Survive the Shore, Extremer Ridders and Shore Shredders. From straight up trail riding to outdoor camps with nature skills and kayaking, the camps have been adapted and coaches trained on proper Covid-19 procedures.


North Van Rec


NVRC is offering full-day outdoor camps during July and August.  They have been designed and offered in accordance with provincial health requirements. The locations are across North Vancouver to take full advantage of our beautiful outdoors. Camps do not include trips to other locations and public transit will not be used. These camps will run rain or shine. Campers should be prepared for the weather as they will be outside all day. One camp will run in Princess Park and Lynn Valley Community Centre. Registration is open now for July and will be open for August camps on July 16. 


Kudzu Studio


If art is more your child’s thing, Lynn Valley’s Jeri Engen is back using her years of children’s art education to teach LIVE, online art classes. They are live streamed small classes offering the same individual attention she offers in studio. All projects are process-based with open-ended prompts that allow each student the ability to create their own unique artwork with one on one attention from an educator. Packages are thoughtfully created to use a limited number of supplies through multiple projects in order to minimize cost and offer the greatest value for families.


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.

Ode to the corner store

Covid-19 attacked our community, economy and health care system. It highlighted supply chain challenges and as something unknown moved through, there was uncertainty around the safety of basic tasks like grocery shopping. The important role small grocers and corner stores has been showcased in the last few months. In Lynn Valley we are lucky to have four. 


Community building


The four unique small grocers of Lynn Valley each play a role in keeping the community going. These independent businesses are meeting places (in before times) as much as they are essential cogs in keeping Lynn Valley a thriving community. The role of small grocers and corner stores is being discussed in the City of Vancouver. There, a city councillor noticed during covid-19 there was no place in her neighbourhood to grab essentials without travelling to large, busy chain stores. The combination of planning decisions that emphasize density and the property tax rates that go with those policies are driving all small businesses out Lower Mainland communities. 

In Lynn Valley we have some of these small businesses thriving, others merely surviving. If you haven’t been into the local grocers, check them out. They have far more than penny candy and lottery tickets.


Mountain Market


mountain marketJust up from Frederick and Mountain Hwy, is the community essential Mountain Market. This classic Canadian corner store ticks every box – a chatty, friendly family behind the counter, snacks and pop to tide over the students at Argyle, but it also has a wealth supplies. During the height of the pandemic sought after items were on the shelves at Mountain Market – like yeast and toilet paper. Their back refrigerators are stocked with items we all use and dread running out of. Next time you need to grab a dash of oil or a brick of cheese in the middle of preparing dinner, consider popping in to the market. The parking will be be completely stress-free compared to the current construction at LV Centre.

Oh, and the flowers. THE FLOWERS. Mountain Market offers both a small nursery space as well as delightful, fresh, cut flowers. Tucked in the back of the main shopping area you will find Twig and Plum Floral – they are ready to customize, recommend and deliver all your flower needs. 

It is also worth noting Mountain Market donated flowers to Argyle Grads this year. This is what small businesses do. They give to our sports teams, are schools and community groups. Invest in them and they give back. 

Pro-tip: Head to the back, describe your flower wishlist and budget and walk out minutes later with a custom bouquet. 


Super Koroush


The newest player on the local grocer scene has a wealth of ethno diverse food products and an abundance of fresh fruit and veggies.

Found in the Lynn Valley Mall, the same as DQ, they have many some unique products you can’t track down at Safeway and Save-on – their dairy cabinet is especially interesting. 

This new store fills a vacant need in Lynn Valley. The diversity of their products make the store a must visit if you are looking for less common recipe ingredients. A stroll through their aisles will also spark inspiration to switch up your usual dishes. We are pleased to see this independent business give our neighbourhood a go. There is no need to head to Lonsdale or East Vancouver to stock the pantry. 

Pro-tip: Think Super Koroush next time you are opening a bottle of wine, you can find perfect pairings for a great fruit, pickle and cheese plate.


Nourish Market


Nourish

Throughout the pandemic Jeff and his team at Nourish have been adapting. From quickly offering local delivery to maintaining its daily runs to north shore suppliers, it has been an essential piece in the local economy. Throughout all these challenges they have maintained their focus on local, sustainable and organic foods. Nourish is on the emerging edge of the sustainable suppliers.

Found in Lynn Valley Village, Nourish uses its great connections to offer a range of groceries and prepared foods that are vegan, keto, gluten-free and suit a range of other special diets. There organic fruit and veg are always looking fresh. Nourish also has a number of bulk supplies for zero waste purchasing. 

Pro-tip: Follow Nourish on social media and swoop in when there are fresh deliveries from suppliers like Bad Dog Breads.


End of the Line General Store


While the other three local groceries were able to the keep going through the pandemic, the situation proved more complicated for End of The Line.

'End of the Line' Corner Store, Lynn Valley

Oh, this closure left a huge hole in the Upper Lynn community. We are so glad to see they are back! 

More than just coffee and ice cream, End of The Line has everything from gifts to penny candy, milk to pasta sauce. They are successfully walking the fine line of neighbourhood general store and enticing visitor must-visit. The business itself has quite the story and plans for the future. The evolution of this corner has redefined the entire neighbourhood. Stopping by any time you walk by won’t disappoint. 

Pro-tip: A lot of outdoor adventure can happened with young kids when there is an incentive to visit End of the Line on the way home. 


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.

Grads of 2020 pivot for the pandemic

When the world stopped mid-March it was the middle of Spring Break. Students had left school on Friday expecting to return after a warm vacation or some skiing on local hills. They didn’t expect they’d never walk the halls or play on sports teams again. As this year’s Argyle Secondary School Valedictorian Jake Rubin explains, it was a curveball they never saw coming.


Grade 12 traditions


“We all had a vision of what our Grade 12 year would look like,” said Rubin. “For me, I had a trip to Europe with the music program to look forward to, I had expectations for my final seasons on sports teams that couldn’t happen. It was my last year and I decided to be ambitious.”

Like other Grade 12 students across the province Rubin was looking forward to the last term of school to take part in school traditions, final tournaments and to simply spend time with friends before university. 

“At the beginning of spring break we were starting to see things close but I still thought we would still have school in two weeks,” he said. “Soon though, there was a feeling we wouldn’t step back into the school.”


Argyle Secondary


As the grad class prepares to move on with five years of Argyle under their belts, Rubin said it’s remarkable how much the students have changed. 

“Argyle is a place that helps students find their potential,” he said. “It has so many special programs, clubs, music, athletics. I have seen a lot of classmates find talents and passions they never knew they had. They now enjoy them so much they are forming their future.”

School Principal Kim Jonat also sees big changes in this class.

“The Argyle grads of 2020 have shown notable growth,” said Jonat. “They have had to overcome many losses and have become more resilient in the process.  They have lost the ability to attend many important events in traditional ways such as graduation banquets and ceremonies, have been unable to attend daily classes and interact with their peers at school this Spring.  They have also had to navigate new terrain and learn in new and different ways.

“This was certainly not the way any of us anticipated our grads finishing off their 13 years of public schooling and yet here we are. While the immediate future is uncertain I have no doubt that the Argyle grads of 2020 will accomplish anything they set their minds to.”

When the doors closed in March, many aspects of the grad year were left feeling unfinished, said Rubin. Some, like friendships while different are going strong with a bit more effort in a new physically distant way but other aspects can’t be completed. 

“For our rugby team this was going to be the year,” he said. “As a team we were really rebuilding. We had started to win – which wasn’t normal for my year. We had found our footing, and put in a lot of time and work to win. It was the year we thought we had a chance.”


The future


Most adults would agree highschool graduation and starting university are formative milestones. For the grads of 2020, those expectations have been wiped clean. The last few months have shown students what their early university will look like.

“I am going to UBC for engineering,” said Rubin. “We know at the moment, that it will be completely online for the first semester. As we switched to online classes [for Grade 12], I was surprised by the amount of work that I got done, without the classroom as motivation.”

Their last summer vacation has also changed. Plans to celebrate grad or even summer jobs won’t go as planned.

“I think we will still be able to have adventures,” said Rubin. “It will look different, we will need to make sure we are safe, staying in BC and spending time with a small group of friends – safely. Some of my friends worry about not getting to work, so they are looking for smaller summer jobs.”


The cap and gown


Argyle, like many schools, has opted for a digital grad. Students were invited in very small groups to don their cap and gown and walk across the stage in a new physically distant way – no handshakes, no hugs. It was all captured on video with the plan to edit all the students together for a video released later this month. 

“I think it’s actually going to look pretty nice,” said Rubin. “We each had our grad profiles read and were able to throw our hats in the air. All the students who are giving speeches were able to record those at the end.”

As the students take the first steps into adulthood, the pandemic pivot has left some regrets but also a unique experience. 

“I wish we could have gone back to school – just to say hi and see people before we head off in different directions. Who knows, maybe I will be telling my kids about how we lived through this bit of history,” said Rubin. “I am optimistic for the future – an informed optimistic.” 


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.

Hitting local trails with kids

With Dr. Bonnie Henry’s call to stay close to home, to stay active and get outdoors, a new book is aiming to support local outdoor adventures with your kids. Local teen Harrison Crerar’s second book, was published by Rocky Mountain Books just last month.


Foster a love of the outdoors


Still a teen himself, author Harrison Crerar has brought a unique perspective to his new book Family Walks and Hikes on Greater Vancouver’s North Shore in hopes other kids will love the outdoors as much as he does. 

“I have been so lucky to grow up on the North Shore,” he said. “I have so many fond memories of fun adventures. There are so many parks and so much to explore.”

His family made the time outside a part of regular life. His North Shore childhood focused on adventure and discovery, which just so happened to take place on trails. 

“I have been hiking, really, since I could walk,” said Crerar, a biology student at McGill University. “One of my earliest memories is hiking up Goat Mountain when I was young.” 

Focusing on exploration had him looking for salmon along local creeks, finding a particular plant or trying to spy particular Howe Sound peaks across a view.


Give kids credit – and time


Harrison Crerar

“Kids can do a lot more than you think they can,” said Crerar. “They love nature a lot – give them something to explore, something that is fun and they will want to go on hikes.”

He encourages families to focus on the journey, slowing the pace and allowing kids to investigate in the ways they want to.  

“[For me] there was a lot of discovery involved,” he said, adding Crerar remembers his parents hiding Easter Eggs or helping the family find Geocaches. “If you give kids time and space, they will enjoy it.”


The new book


Similar to his first book, with co-authors Bill Maurer and David Crerar, Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore, this book focuses on local mountains from Lion’s Bay to Deep Cove, along with some Howe Sound Islands. 

“This is a family hiking guide for the North Shore, including lots of hikes in Lynn Valley,” said Crerar. “When it comes to Introducing kids to hiking you have to start small like an easy walk around Rice Lake or the Varley Trail – something to get kids interested and then as you go on, introduce longer and more interesting hikes. And it never hurts to have a bit of chocolate for the end to motivate them to go a little bit further.”

When writing the book last year he re-explored many of the trails with his young siblings. 

“I have a different perspective than most authors,” he said. “I have three younger siblings and we did a lot of these hikes together as I researched the book. I recalled what I liked about these hikes but also what my seven-year-old brother liked about the hikes.”

This led Crerar to think about each route and how it would specifically appeal to families. 

“In each of the descriptions we have included what we think might be fun for kids that adults may overlook. Like a rock – to adults a big rock is just a big rock but to kids it can be fun to run around, to climb up or maybe it becomes a castle,” he said.

Ranging from first-timer easy to moderately challenging, the routes are accessible from reliable roads and popular staging areas. Each route includes: detailed directions to trailheads, colour maps and photographs, seasonal information, round-trip distances, trail commentary, and difficulty ratings, plus step-by-step directions. 

“One that is more on the adventurous side is Kennedy Falls,” said Crerar. “It’s becoming more popular but it is still a bit of a hidden gem. Many people are aware of the old logging camp which is half way along between the tree and the falls. It is a good way to explore some of Lynn Valley’s history. Of course, there is the falls itself to explore and a giant old growth tree that is a nice resting spot.”

WIth a bit more family time as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, now is a great time to get outside, he said. 

“Hiking is a great way to destress and enjoy some family bonding time without being trapped in the house 24/7,” said Crerar. “The important thing is to stay six feet from others but the North Shore has lots of wider trails where you can do that. Also do your research, Provincial Parks are closed [Ed. Openings will be limited as of May 14, not in the Lower Mainland]. Most of these trails aren’t in Provincial Parks and are still open.”

Family Walks and Hikes on Greater Vancouver’s North Shore is available at your favourite book shop or online retailer.  


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. 


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.

Pollinator power

Garden centres are buzzing with homeowners with free time, excellent weather and nowhere to go. Now is the time to think about what kind of garden you’d like and who you want visiting this summer. Creating pollinator habitats is a creative way the community can do something together while we are forced to stay a part. 


Butterfly Rangers


Fromme Road Butterfly Ranger garden.

The District of North Vancouver has been a powerful partner for the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project. It has been an ongoing Project in the district since 2018.

“Right now we have 15 new Butterfly Rangers,” said Winnie Hwo, David Suzuki Foundation’s senior public engagement specialist and local lead for the program. “The North Shore rangers are the best!”

With the addition of 15, there are now 38 throughout the District of North Vancouver, with homes on Wellington and Fromme participating as well as the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre. The program is active throughout the Lower Mainland focusing on DNV, Richmond and Vancouver. Their mission is to plant native wildflowers in yards, schoolyards, streets and parks to support local bees and butterflies. Their goal was to establish local “Butterflyways” by planting at least a dozen pollinator patches in each neighbourhood. 

“Environmentally we hear about some big problems, but there is this idea that citizens can make a huge difference if we get ourselves together,” said Hwo. “We think with focused tasks citizens can be part of the solution to support biodiversity.”

The Butterflyway Project focuses on wild bees and butterflies. Official rangers are supported with training, virtual meetings and a few plants. 

“Pollinators help make our food and we know they are in trouble. We have used too much land, we use too many pesticides. Their lives are getting more difficult,” said Hwo.  “Butterflies are the great ambassadors. If people plant for butterflies it benefits bees. A lot of the flowers that butterflies fly on are the same flowers bees fly on.”


Making your garden butterfly and bee friendly.


With applications closed for official rangers for the year (mark your calendars for January next year to apply), there are lots ways you can get involved to make your garden more pollinator friendly. It begins in the fall. 

“A messy yard – an organized mess – benefits pollinators,” said Hwo. “Pollinators lay eggs on leaves – especially if you are planting the pollinator plants. We don’t want to disrupt their life cycle and ecosystem. When leaves drop there are little lives growing on them.”

Leaving leaves on the ground until spring and gently gathering into piles can be an ideal way to support pollinators. 

“Leaf blowers are like a tsunami – nothing is left. Raking into piles will have little disruption and leaving it for organisms to grow will be hugely beneficial for butterflies and their lifecycle.”

For our climate the Butterflyways Project recommends 12 plants, in this handy PDF from the David Suzuki Foundation:

  • Common Camas – Camassia quamash

    Virginia strawberry

  • Goldenrod – Solidago multiradiata
  • Pearly Everlasting – Anaphalis margaritacea
  • Pacific Bleeding Heart – Dicentra formosa
  • Nodding Onion – Allium cernuum
  • Coastal Kinnikinnick – Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  • Virginia Strawberry – Fragaria virginiana
  • Western Yarrow – Achillea millefolium
  • Douglas Aster – Aster subspicatus
  • Salal – Gaultheria shallon
  • Hardhack – Spiraea douglasii
  • Ocean Spray – Holodiscus discolor

Other tips from the DVF:

  • Host plants: Adults need a place to lay eggs where their caterpillars will forage. (Plant species that will get eaten and not just look pretty!)
  • Mud puddles: Some butterflies rarely visit flowers. They prefer mud, poop (a.k.a. “scat” or “dung”), sap and rotting fruit.
  • Blooms from spring through fall: Don’t limit your garden to an end-of-July colour extravaganza. You’ll need a diversity of native nectar plants to flower over a few months.
  • Overwintering habitat: Consider not raking leaves to provide a butterfly nursery! Most butterflies in Canada overwinter as caterpillars, others as pupae. A few species winter as adults, hibernating in hollow trees, under bark and firewood piles, or in garden shed cracks and crevices.  ew spend winter as eggs.
  • Sunshine: Make sure you (or your neighbours) have sunny spots.
  • Nectar plants: Most butterflies will feed from more than a few plant species

Learning more


The DNV is home to a special part of the Butterfly Project. Off of Dollarton there is a particular neighbourhood embracing the concept, culminating in the Butterfly Lane, led by Stephen Deedes-Vincke and Sally Hocking. Check it out on Google Maps or visit.

Join iNaturalist’s Butterflies in My Backyard observation collaboration – another project supported by Deedes-Vinvke. Download the app and help track Lynn Valley and North Vancouver’s biodiversity.  

The Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre is hosting online gardening workshops through April and May. Nothing specific to pollinators, but lots of great gardening topics. 


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.

Finding HOPE in Lynn Valley

Walking down the street you might find some hope on Wellington Drive.


Family tradition


There is a house mid-way down the block that is always decked out for holidays. 

For decades the Tindales have been celebrating Christmas and Halloween with home and yard displays, but in the last few years, daughter Jennifer has stepped up their holiday game in a big way. 

“I have such great memories as a kid of how my family celebrated holidays. We keep adding and adding. In 2017 I started with all the plywood displays. Last year was the biggest but we are reaching a point we almost need a shed to store all of this,” laughs Tindale, 43. 

The displays mean more to Tindale than just giving her parents a great yard. She has been unable to work as a result of a workplace injury and its resulting condition. 

“Doing these displays is part of my mental health therapy,” she said. 


Giving hope


The thought and work on the displays goes on almost all year round. Preparation for Christmas 2020 was already well underway as the COVID-19 situation moved towards North Vancouver. 

“I was out in the backyard already cutting for next year and I had this sign already done and waiting at my home,” said Tindale. “It is my little piece of putting the spirit out there. This is hope for everything going on now. It’s my passion doing these displays but it is also a nod to the HoPE Centre.”

The Greta and Robert H.N. HO Psychiatry & Education Centre, (The HOpe Centre) at Lions Gate Hospital was opened in 2014. It brings together both inpatient and outpatient mental health services under one roof and also houses both the Djavad Mowafaghian UBC Medical Education Centre and is a permanent home for BC Ambulance. Tindale is both a patient and supporter of the centre. 

“The displays give me purpose,” she said. “I am tied to this community. It’s where I was born, grew up and went to school. It’s so special on our street, there are people I went to school with that are now buying their parents homes and raising their kids here. So they grew up with our family being into holidays and now they get to experience it with their kids.” 

The seasonal displays at the Tindale home kicked off a trend much of Wellington Road has embraced. With the Dovercourt Crypt around the corner the area has become the destination for Halloween in Lynn Valley. 

“There is so much appreciation from the kids and parents too – it gets me emotional thinking about. Last year we had 360 kids come by. It warms my heart. Every year, the kids can pick out what I have added. They bring their friends who don’t live here and show them.” 


Win-win


Laughing, Tindale shared she wanted to embrace the nationwide trend of putting out Christmas lights to bring some sparkle to Lynn Valley during this state of emergency but her parents weren’t on board. It was too big a job to tackle right now.

“In the times of what are going on right now, people are drawing together. Really it’s the simple memories of family and community that will get us through,” she said. 

The large letters of HOPE, with its double meaning of supporting mental health and community spirit are having the impact Tindale wanted.  

“People have gotten emotional when they see it. People have shared this is what they think this community needs,” said Tindale. “ I appreciate how the community as a whole is stepping up with what they are good at. Small businesses are trying to get creative to stay in business. 

“ It’s a sign of me being me. This is something I could offer our street, our neighbourhood.” 


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.

Ready for Spring Break?

Despite all the snow – Spring break is creeping up on us. There are a number of activities to keep kids and tweens busy over the school holiday. Lynn Valley will be bustling with everything from film making to Lego to pollinators. The Ecology Centre is also back with its Wildlife Weeks activities for drop-in fun for all ages.


Film making


The Lynn Valley Library is hosting a film making camp for students in Grades 6-8 March 23-27. Participants use filmmaking equipment and with the help of filmmaking educators from The Cinematheque come together to make great stories for the screen! Fee for camp is: $290 for a general application, however financial assistance is available for North Vancouver District residents. This is popular, so applications are due Feb. 18! 


Nurturing Nature


The Lynn Valley Ecology Centre has a number of mini-camps for children ages 5-8. These Monday-Wednesday half day camps are a great option for learning and an easy introduction to day camps for those that have never done them before. There are is a mini-camp about Pollinators and one all about out senses. There will be games, crafts and outside time. Cost: $79.95.

There are also a number of drop-in programs to celebrate the natural world during Wildlife Weeks from March 15-26. All events take place at the Ecology Centre and are available on a on first-come basis. The suggested donation is $2 a person or $5 for a family. 

  • Great Snakes and Remarkable Reptiles Sunday, March 15, noon to 4 pm, Presenter: Westcoast Reptile Education Society
  • Swoop and Soar – Birds of Prey Monday, March 16, 1 pm, Presenter: OWL Rescue
  • Our Wild Neighbours Tuesday, March 17, 1 pm, Presenter: Marcy Potter of the Fur-Bearers
  • The Caterpillar and Pollywog – Black Light Puppet Show Friday, March 20. Shows begin at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, and 1:00 pm.
  • Wild About Mason Bees Monday, March 23, 10:30 am, Presenter: Taren Urquhart
  • Night Flyers Tuesday, March 24, 1:00 pm, Presenter: Kirk Miles of BC Community Bat Program
  • The Bear Essentials Thursday, March 26. 10:30 am, Presenter: North Shore Black Bear Society
  • City Salmon Thursday, March 26, 1:00 pm, Presenter: Fernando Lessa

Get your hands a little dirty


The much beloved Kudzu Art Studio has found some local space and is back for two camps March 16-20. There is the Art and Animal Camp for school aged kids from 9am-noon. As well as a Tween/Teen drawing and painting camp from 1-4pm. Students will explore a variety of mediums, techniques and artists. Each camp is $300 and details are on the website

Lego time!

There are six camps with space available in Lynn Valley all focused on Lego – plus coding, robotics, animation and more. There are a variety of age groupings with half-day camps for children five-15 years old. The programs will take place at Lynn Valley Village or at the Lynn Valley Rec Centre. Details and registration are at North Van Rec. Prices start range from $175-$195.


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.

Project read for Project Samuel

Last year, the Pearmain family from Lynn Valley travelled for the second time to Zambia – suitcases stuffed with donated local soccer jerseys and reading supplies. It proved to be a  powerful catalyst for Argyle student Hope Pearmain, who will embark on a four-month internship to teach literacy after graduating this summer. 


Project Samuel


LynnValleyLife shared the story of Project Samuel last spring. It is worth a read but in a nutshell: The Pearmain family is helping to support the education of 24 orphans in Africa inspired by their friendship with former North Vancouverite Kim Close who is on the ground working and living in Zambia. Now with her own connection to Zambia, their daughter Hope is planning her third trip in as many years. 


Thank you


With education support being the underlying goal of all their visits, Debbie and Hope Pearmain spent last spring working with literacy teacher Susan McLean and gathering a few items for the children before heading off to Project Samuel, in rural Zambia.

“We want to say thank you to Lynn Valley and the North Shore Girls Soccer and North Shore Football Club,” said Debbie Pearmain. “We wear able to take over 100 soccer jerseys, cleats and balls. We were able to give the high school enough jerseys for their entire team.” 

Soccer is a powerful social connector, explained Pearmain. A local church, North Shore Alliance,  sent a team to Zambia and was able to lead a soccer camp reaching up to 100 kids a day. In a place where many can’t afford education or don’t have the literacy to attend high school, community engagement like sports makes a huge difference, she said. 

 


Start with reading


On their first trip to the Chibombo District of central Zambia, Pearmain noticed a number of challenges facing the youth at the Project, as well as others in the community. 

“We helped raise the money to keep these kids in school but we were compelled to go back because I realized half the kids wouldn’t pass their Grade 7 exams because their English literacy is poor,” she said. “If they can pass their government exams they can stay in school. Once they can read – it’s their ticket to achieve their potential.”

Pearmain emphasized the students and teachers do a lot with what they have but it’s so different from the resources North Vancouver students experience it’s almost unfathomable. 

“The teachers are working so hard, but they have 100 students in a classroom. Sometimes they have no desks, they have no paper and they for sure don’t any have books. No LAC (learning assistance class). No literacy centre,” she said. “They are also double ESL – they are learning English, their third language, from their second language Tonga – one they may only have been speaking for a year or two and only speak at school. By Grade 7 all exams are in English and if they can’t read them, they can’t answer them. If they don’t pass, they don’t get to go to high school.”

It was a huge yet simple challenge that resonated with Pearmain, in part because her son also struggled with early reading. He was well supported here at home, an experience that connected them to, now-retired, literacy teacher Susan McLean. The Pearmains worked with McLean, and Boundary teachers Nancy Dale and Leigh Koeingfest, to learn a simple method to teach literacy. In addition, McLean gifted her personal resources after her retirement which lay the foundation of the Pearmains’ plan.

“Hope and I would return to focus on literacy. We started the program with the house moms and the older kids at Project Samuel before taking it to the local schools,” she said. “We taught a very simple way of teaching kids how to read – a seven-step process. And it totally worked!

“So then Hope and I taught some of high school kids and we literally worked with the kids at the Project everyday and they started reading. It was unbelievable. About two weeks in, we went back to the schools we had visited the year before and we did professional development with the teachers. When we did the professional development, we brought them the resources we had gathered here and we gifted them to the schools. Then we got to go into the classroom and were able to teach.”

The work put in by the students, teachers and the Pearmains quickly bore fruit. 

“One Sunday I went outside and I literally started crying because there were all these older kids from the Project in these random places – on a rock, under a tree, on the stoop, over by the chickens – with the younger kids reading them books. It was beautiful,” she said. 

The students continue to work and improve their skills.   

“I get emails from Kim [Close] – stories like this boy, 15 years old, who wants to be a truck driver. He had no hope of passing his driver’s test because it’s in English,” said Pearmain. “Now – he’s learning to read. He has a future. It’s the game changer for their future. 

“Fifty percent of kids in rural Zambia drop out of Grade 7. You can see during the day, there are tons of kids working in the fields or the shops or caring for babies.”


Evolving Hope


Hope Pearmain had visions through Grade 10 and 11 to be a nurse, said her mom. 

“But after this past summer, she came back and said ‘I am going into education and I want to teach LAC and help kids.’ As a mom, to watch her in the classroom was amazing – to see that sparkle and to see your kid light up teaching and doing something she was good at.” 

The experience led Hope to apply for an internship to return to Zambia. She will be spending four months there after her Argyle Secondary graduation, along with Carson Secondary grad Sofia Stanley. 

“She is going to go back to the rural school we worked at and be there every day in the classroom helping Grade 3s with literacy,” said Pearmain. 

March 7, 2020, the Pearmain family is hosting a fundraiser at the Hollyburn Country Club to fundraise for the Project Samuel kids. Those interested in supporting the event with donations or silent auction items or to secure tickets can contact Debbie via email.  To donate directly to Project Samuel go to: icmsgo.com. Then click: DONATE, select: Canada, agency: Project Samuel Foundation, supporting: Children and Project Giving.

“When Hope returns we want her to bring more advanced resources – it all has to go in suitcases. Books are heavy!”


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.