Growing community celebration

This has been an epic gardening season. More people than ever took to the earth and tried their hand a growing their own food. When the rest of the world was closed, the line-ups at Maple Leaf Garden Centre was well down the the block. We have fought cold and wet months, and now moths but Lynn Valley gardens have still never looked better.

And now – we celebrate! 


Virtual Fall Fair


We want to share the gardening glory and hard work being invested in yards and patios. More than anything we would love to gather and look at your summer projects – woodwork, quilts and art. While we would really love to taste your jams, jellys, pickles and pies, it doesn’t seem like the most covid-responsible idea.

Instead we are putting together a digital Fall Fair – we want to share your hard work with our readers and Facebook followers. We are running a contest from now until Sept. 30 for residents of the North Vancouver.

We have four $25 gift cards to Maple Leaf Garden up for grabs!

Send us your photos in one of these categories.

  1. Best flowers/ornamental garden
  2. Best Veggies – garden or harvest
  3. Best basket or container of any kind
  4. Best under 13 years old – I grew it myself!

Here is how you do it:

Pick ONE entry per category.

Put the category in the subject of the email.

Email the photo to robin@lynnvalleylife.com – please send a SEPARATE email for each entry. For adults there is a maximum of three entries, one per category and for children, a maximum of 4.

Include your name, postal code, phone number, age (if entering the child category) and any details you want to add about the photo.

Deadline Sept. 30, 2020.

By entering the contest you consent to receiving future editions of our newsletter, sent once a month. We will not distribute or sell your private information to others.


Looking for more?


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

The mystery trail artist of Lynn Valley

Walking the quiet trails of Lynn Valley may have been a bit noisier in recent months. When the quiet returned two new pieces of art had appeared. Some were left wondering how they appeared, others are Ross Road passersby more familiar with the work of local ‘mystery’ carver Ben Hemara.


The joy of chainsaws


A simple one-day carving class at Lee Valley Tools set Lynn’s Valley’s Ben Hemara on a path of joy – now with an accompanying soundtrack of chainsaws.

Over the past seven years he has transitioned from hand carving to using power tools. This Spring as Covid hit, Hemara was inspired to make his art more public.

“We live in Lynn Valley and I take my son and we go for walks on local trails. There are so many beautiful stumps that are old growth cedars. Cedar is so wonderful to carve,” he said. “When I did a woodspirit I thought it would be great to see one of these on the trails.”

He began his first public piece on a local trail off Allan.

“The trails through Lynn Valley are so neat how they connect and link to the different parts of the neighbourhood. I did a woodspirit and I thought it would be great to see one of these on the trails,” said Hemara. “I took it upon myself and did a piece on the trails and everyone loved it. I have gotten such positive feedback and I would like to do more. 

“Obviously I am working on dead trees.” 


Local inspiration


Two works have been completed on local trails using old-growth stumps and other dead wood. The two works can be found where Allan Road meets Draycott and on the path linking Draycott and Ross Road. The District of North Vancouver has become aware of the art and has led Hemara to take a break from carving on public land. 

“They are well aware of my artwork and I have spoken to them,” he said. “I haven’t added any since then because I don’t want to upset anyone. I am trying to bring positivity to the community and do something nice. I think it’s positive with the District. I would love to do some more pieces for the community.”


Living a dream


A New Zealand transplant and roofer by trade, Hemara balances his art with his family time. The dad, with a young son and another child on the way, spends what time he has available at carving. 

“It’s an odd artform using big power tools. The pieces are labour intensive especially since I am doing them on my own,” said Hemara. “And they sometimes require me to make my own scaffolding so I have a nice steady platform. I could probably do it in two or three full days but I am balancing my family and art.” 

The new forest works were a new project for Hemara, his usual works have much more suburban roots. 

“I usually carve at my in-laws on Ross Road – in their driveway,” he said. “I have a ton of people come by. I always display a few pieces out as I work and I have gotten a couple of commission orders from people who come by.”

His dream would be to transition out of roofing to be a fulltime carver – with his own workspace, to give the neighbours a break.

“It can be annoying for the neighbours, I try to keep it to a minimum and I know people want to enjoy their day and not hear it all weekend long,” said Hemara. 

Hemara says there is a thriving chainsaw carving community in B.C. and hopes to connect and learn more from his colleagues – and hopefully add a few more trail pieces to Lynn Valley. 

“It is so satisfying and brings joy to me to pop in and out and leave a beautiful peace of art.”

You can check more works by Ben Hemara on Facebook and he will soon be launching his own website (not currently active). 


Looking for more?


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

Masked crusader

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


Doable


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Across Canada


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Looking for more?


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

Working hard for their money

There are still some kids around willing to get their hands dirty to make a few dollars around Lynn Valley. Other young people are getting creative with their hustle to overcome the demise of many typical student jobs this summer. We have tracked down a few local options and if you hear of more – send them to robin@lynnvalleylife.com


Yard care by Daniel Dykema


New to the entrepreneurial scene is Upper Lynn’s Daniel Dykema. At 13-years-old Dykema is hoping to earn money for fishing gear and a small fishing boat. You may have seen his posters around advertising the new business.

“My small gardening business does mowing, weeding, trimming, watering your plants, and pretty much anything else around the yard,” he said. “I am most proud of doing everything to the max and doing it well.”

Rates start at $10 an hour. If you need a bit of work done and want to support Dykema’s fishing goals you can reach him at danjdykema@gmail.com or 604-999-0243.


Lawn Boys


At 16 and 14 Thomas and Peter Frankowski have been in business since 2014. Their Lawn Boys carbon neutral landscaping business has been taking care of Lynn Valley yards for years. Much more than lawns, they are willing to tackle just about any project. 

“We have been offering landscaping, handyman and renovation helper services since 2014,” said Thomas Framkwoski. “Mowing lawns, weeding and raking were the bulk of our jobs in the beginning. Now we are doing more complex tasks such as assisting with renovations, floor installation, demolition and painting.”

They got their start helping out around their own home. 

“Both of us learned a number of skills by working with our dad and we wanted to use these skills to be productive and offer assistance to people in our community,” he said.

They are most proud of growing their business based on recommendations from happy clients. You can check out their website or reach them at 778-917-3058.


STEMina


Local university students (and sisters) Romina and Anita Mahinpei are sharing their passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and supporting important causes.

“We are both proud that we are using our business as a platform to allow the public to showcase their love for STEM while also supporting local and national causes,” said 18-year-old Romina Mahinpei. “Our first fundraiser that took place in July, we decided to donate all of STEMina’s profits to the CanadaHelps COVID-19 Healthcare & Hospital Fund and support Canadian hospitals and charities.”

The sisters have created a t-shirt line that encourages people to showcase their love of STEM. A love that keeps the sisters busy. 

“When not busy with school, we spend most of our free time volunteering for STEM organizations and hosting our own events. This past year, I worked on organizing Teen Nerd Nite, a local initiative that introduces high school students to the fields of STEM through interactive presentations.

“Meanwhile, my sister was involved with nwPlus, a club at University of British Columbia, to organize cmd-f, British Columbia’s first all-female hackathon and several smaller women in tech events. Right now, with the restrictions on in-person events, we have devoted much of our time to STEMina and aim to help the public show their passion for STEM through this platform,” she said. 

Seeing the large number of participants at our past North Vancouver events, we were aware of our community’s interest in learning more about the STEM fields. Although the pandemic has put a halt to our in-person events, we didn’t want that to stop us from following our passion for STEM. With the free time that we had while quarantined at home, we decided to dabble with T-shirt design and launch STEMina, an apparel line that would allow people to express their love for STEM with what they wear!”


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.

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 a much needed escape and community 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 has 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 place it has 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 happen 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.