A space for digital storytellers

The goal of enhancing the community’s digital literacy has led to an innovative maker space at the Lynn Valley Branch of the North Vancouver District Public Library. The StoryLab’s covid-delayed public debut allowed the library to seamlessly pivot to its pandemic programming, and now it is open for creating.


Evolution of storytelling and literacy


“The original goal was to launch in April of 2020,” said Maryann Kempthorne, manager of innovation and learning for the NVDPL. “But a silver lining was we had this space and resources to take the library digital [during the pandemic restrictions]. We had a studio that allowed us to continue our programs online.”

The new StoryLab facility is a new creativity and learning space. Essentially it is an audio-visual maker space stocked with computers, digitization equipment, an audio booth, and a film studio – complete with lights, mics, and a green screen. It’s a technology hub that builds on the North Shore’s tradition of storytelling, said Kempthorne. 

“Maker spaces are a trend in libraries,” she explained. “We went with audiovisual instead of a sewing machine or 3D printer to suit the community. There is a lot of impact from the district and the shore that is visual and very media. We have North Shore Studios right here. We have an opportunity to influence storytelling in an audiovisual way.”

With a commitment to diversity and inclusion, the StoryLab is also an effort to support more people. 

“Our library has a really strong background in creating readers,” said Kempthorne. “Literacy can be digital literacy – podcasting, film, green screen production.”

But more than that, the StoryLab is about meeting patrons where they are and helping them grow, she said.  

“There are people who are not interested in our anchor services around print. We are able to reach them with content we make that is more accessible. Youth who can’t see themselves reflected in other services might see themselves in digital media learning. It also allows us to support multilingualism.”

When the StoryLab is not booked by the public, it is used by staff to enhance the digital collection, to run online programs and events, and to record audiobooks by patron request.

There are other practical uses for the space. In a pandemic world and the rise of video conferencing and digital connection, people without resources at home or the knowledge to participate can be helped by the StoryLab, said Kempthorne, giving the example of a senior needing to attend a virtual court hearing.


Collaborative creation


The original plan was to have a space where creators could come together to innovate. There is an entire room still on covid-hold that will host technology education sessions in the Digital Learning Lab. As the pandemic pivot continues the NVDPL has plans to host virtual sessions from expert creators, think filmmakers speaking in a similar way to an author talk. 

In the short time, it has been open, the current vision of collaboration has shifted and is supporting creators, small businesses, and local organizations. 

“One of the best examples is North Van Arts was completing one of their local videos and wanted to get people in to record in alternate languages.”

The space is also part of a larger collaborative North Shore vision between NVDPL, the North Vancouver City Library, and the West Vancouver Memorial Library as they all explore maker spaces and aim to provide complementary services with little duplication, said Kempthorne.


How it works


Users can now book the film studio, audio booth, computer stations, or digitization stations. Staff will have a quick consultation to see how much support a creator might need and offer reading materials, digital resources, or other prep materials to make their session a success. Users will need to utilize cloud file transfers or their own portable storage to save their projects and they are also welcome to bring in their own equipment. 

Kempthorne is excited about the innovation opportunities the StoryLab will provide. 

“We have an opportunity to attract and develop storytellers and digital media artists. Having more storytellers in residence at our local library is really exciting. One of the founding projects we did was for youth. Some of my podcasters we have now, came and attended when they were 12 – that’s the continuum of digital literacy and learning.”

This project is the first step in an evolving vision, said Kempthorne. Just as patrons can recommend books they can chat with and make requests with the digital services librarian to improve the space and further innovate.  

 

Visit the Lynn Valley branch or its website to learn more. 


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.

Spring Break 2021

Spring Break will look quite a bit different than last year and even more different than 2019. Last year organizations were dealing with uncertainty and a hastily applied lockdown. While the options for Spring Break activities offered are fewer in 2021, they are thoughtfully crafted with safety in mind. The odds of outdoor spaces being shut down is also slim – giving kids a chance to play on playgrounds, skate parks, and trails. We have put together some options for Lynn Valley adventures – virtual and outdoor.


Lynn Valley Ecology Centre


Coming up for Spring Break the Lynn Valley Ecology Centre is back with its Wildlife Weeks! The naturalists at the centre have prepared a number of fantastic virtual programs, a scavenger hunt and a handful of in-person camps, plus the centre is extending its mid-week opening hours. 

The Centre will be open for Spring Break from 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday, with its weekend hours remaining noon – 4pm. 

“We are kicking off March with a scavenger hunt and a colouring contest,” said Cassie Allard, Ecology Centre education programmer. “Taking place inside, kids can look around to solve clues. The colouring contest is also available online and can be dropped off during opening hours or emailed to ecocentre@dnv.org.”

During Wildlife Weeks – March 15-26 – there are seven family-friendly virtual presentations. 

“These are going to be great,” said Allard. “We have Lynn Valley’s Tom Flowers – a local dad and Capilano University biologist – who will be taking us from Africa to BC showcasing fascinating birds. We will also [virtually] visit the Oceanwise Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. In another David Wong will join us with his frogs and families will learn how they can help local amphibians.”

The programs last 30-60 minutes and are geared for children six and up and should interest the whole family, said Allard. A donation of $3.50 is suggested per person or $6 per family. Registration links are here

Check out:

  • NIGHT FLYERS

Monday, March 15, 2021. 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Join biologist Danielle Dagenais from the BC Community Bat Program. Learn about the threats to bats and how you can help the bats living around your neighbourhood.

  • THE GREAT GATHERING

Tuesday, March 16, 2021. 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Join wildlife photographer Liron Gertsman for a virtual exploration of British Columbia’s coastal ecosystems above and below the surface.

  • FANTASTIC FROGS

Wednesday, March 17, 2021. 10:30 am to 11:30 am

Join David Wong, “the frog guy” for a virtual talk about amazing amphibians.

  • CITY SALMON

Monday, March 22, 2021. 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Take a virtual journey with “outdoor storyteller” Fernando Lessa into the watery world of Vancouver’s rivers and streams

  • TALES OF A BIRD BIOLOGIST

Tuesday, March 23, 2021. 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Join Dr. Thomas Flower on a journey to a desert island off the coast of Africa, the Kalahari desert, and meet some sneaky Steller’s jays in BC’s coastal rainforest.

  • FLOURISHING OCEANS

Wednesday, March 24, 2021. 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Take a deep dive into marine mammal rehabilitation with Emily Johnson of the Ocean Wise Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. 

  • WILD ABOUT BEES

Friday, March 26, 2021. 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Learn how to identify our mason bees, discover what makes their life cycle so fascinating, and build a bee house. Materials needed are listed on the Eventbrite page.

The Centre is also offering three in-person camps for children ages five-eight. 

“The camps take place completely outside and we have reduced the number of children to a maximum of six,” said Allard. “They are lead by enthusiastic naturalists and focus on fun, being active and learning about local plant and wildlife.”

She reminds participants to be ready for all types of weather that can change quite quickly in Lynn Canyon. Layers are great, she said. More details on Boisterous Birds, Forest Friends and Pollinator Party can be found here.  

There is one more offering that has recently opened at the Lynn Canyon. After several years of planning is a self-guided nature trail. The trail takes 15-30 minutes and uses a booklet ($3) available at the Ecology Centre. It begins to the left side of the centre and goes past almost all the park’s common trees and shrubs. 


More Lynn Valley options


Escape Adventures

The crew from Escape Adventures has put together Covid-19 protocols and an (almost) full roster of Spring Break camps. The camps for the smallest riders (3-5 years) are on hold because they require close contact. There are four camps running this March, and some have a number of different time slots. This late in the game the camps are full but there are waitlists available if you are looking for a last-minute possibility. 

Kudzu Studio

Jeri Sue Engen has pivoted to offer virtual camps this Spring Break. She has put together one-hour classes for kids and teens. Her classes feature a range of subjects and materials. Engen’s reputation for engaging, age-appropriate classes extends well beyond her roots in Lynn Valley. Details on her Spring Break programs can be found here

North Vancouver District Library

The NVDPL has added a handful of virtual programs for Spring Break focusing on cooking. There are two Teen Cook Alongs with Chef Mark March 18th and 25th. Whether you’re a whiz in the kitchen or a cooking novice, teens are invited for an afternoon of side-by-side kitchen help. Participants will receive a list of ingredients beforehand, and the library can assist in providing ingredients as necessary. Open to ages 12-18. Chef Mark of Crisp Cuisine has been a chef for 15 years. Details can be found here

The whole family is invited to join the NVDPL in helping the BC Parks Foundation rally kids of all ages in our community to become citizen scientists and take on the Foundation’s challenge to post the most observations in Canada. Becoming a NVDPL citizen scientist is simple: upload observations using iNaturalist and complete a NVDPL Nature Challenge activity booklet. Children have a chance to win a book prize. Details are here


Looking for more?


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

Mountain Market gives back

For more than 15 years Mary and Steve Choi have been doing business on Mountain Hwy – Mountain Market is an institution in Lynn Valley. Looking to brighten up your spring Mary is joining us with a flower giveaway.   


A community needs corner stores


Whether it is spending your hard found pocket money as a child or hopping out of your car to grab flowers or a desperately needed loaf of bread – a neighbourhood needs corner stores.

We have a few in Lynn Valley but the classic remains Mountain Market. For today’s parents, it is nostalgically frozen in time, a reminder of childhood 30 years ago. For local students, it’s essential to meet their daily “nutritional” needs. For families, many an occasion is celebrated with Mountain Market’s beautiful bouquets.

The Choi’s have been behind the counter of Mountain Market since 2005 – their kids growing up alongside. Frequently Mountain Market is fondly referred to a simply Mountain Mary’s. In those years they have been supportive of local causes – remember that amidst the early pandemic, dwindling shopping numbers, they stepped up to donate a trunkload of flowers to graduates of Argyle Secondary.


Community Blooms


Mary is back at it. She would like to make some homes a little bit brighter. As we flip the calendar marking one year of Covid-19 restrictions Mountain Market would like to recognize the hard work and sacrifice of our frontline and health care workers. For the month of March, they will be giving away two small arrangements each week – one for you and one to give to your Covid-19 hero.

We will be drawing a winner each week. Winners will need to pick up their arrangements at Mountain Market. Draws will take place Friday mornings. If your name is not drawn, it will remain entered for future chances to win in March.

To enter, please fill out the form below.


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.

Blooming on Sunnyhurst

After an inspiring conversation with a friend, Lynn Valley’s Alexia Stack has decided to harness her blooming passion for gardening to support a local charity and brighten her neighbours’ days.


Growing some good


If you have walked through the lane behind Sunnyhurst Road you know it’s bustling with activity, from a Little Library to a physically distant, preschool Halloween street party. There is a lot of life happening on that small stretch of pavement. Resident Alexia Stack is going to do her part to make it a little more beautiful. Following her growing success as a gardener, she will be offering flower bouquets and seeds from her new farmstand – all to support the North Shore Crisis Services Society

“I wanted to do it last year but I didn’t have a purpose beyond brightening up the days,” said Stack, a mom and behaviour analyst supporting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. “Over the holidays I was thinking of a plan to donate the proceeds. I have a friend who has been supporting seniors in care homes through the pandemic and she inspired me and helped me think of it from a different perspective of what I could do and where the money could go. When I got the plan in place, I got really motivated to get started.”

She has been busy packing seeds to be the first offers at the new stand. She hopes to kick off sales – by donation – Family Day weekend. The stand will be located in the lane behind 3185 Sunnyhurst. 

“I will start with seeds available – I have sunflowers, poppies, cosmos, pincushions, and I will be harvesting once or twice a week in the summer and putting together bouquets in the alley. 

The box will be locked and a clear sign of where the donations are going – but you don’t have to donate but all the money is going to go to charity,” said Stack. “I think a lot of issues go unspoken about on the North Shore, we live in a really privileged place and things like domestic abuse are pushed under the rug and swept away. We don’t necessarily see it in the community. I think it’s an issue that is present and we can support locally here in the neighbourhood.”

Stack will post updates in local Facebook gardening groups sharing the stand’s offerings throughout the growing season. 


Just get your hands dirty


The thriving garden takes place in a small footprint – six beds surrounding her townhome. Stack said her success is rooted in trial and error and lots of learning with her former neighbour Tracy Romano.

“I wasn’t a gardener when I was younger – I had two black thumbs for sure.”

Eleven years into her self-education Stack loves getting her hands dirty.

“I love to get my hands in the soil,” she said. “I think it surprised me how good I felt working with soil. I have this tiny garden – just six garden beds but I feel so much more connected and grounded when I can get out and work with the earth.”

A feeling she thinks others could benefit from. 

“Growing a garden in whatever space you have keeps you moving in the direction of tomorrow: a fresh start, a new hope for something better, a belief life is ever-changing,” said Stack. “This belief is helping me make my way through this never-ending pandemic.”

For her – and most gardeners – the first step is planning. Pouring over seed catalogues and schedules. 

“I have already planted sweetpeas inside my office since the beginning of January,” said Stack. “This year over the holidays I used photos that I cut out into small squares and I have put together almost like a quilt that I have pasted into my garden book so I have a clear visual of where things are going to go and I have the dates assigned so I know when to plant. I am pretty keen with the schedules so usually go with the first suggested date of planting.”

She recommends poppies, sweetpeas, cosmos, and dahlias for the budding flower gardner. This year’s focus for Stack will be to encourage density and to extend the blooms throughout the season. 

“I also look at annuals that benefit from being cut, there are a whole bunch of flowers like sweetpeas that live to be cut and produce more and some like pincushions that just thrive,” she said.  

For more inspiration and to get updates of Stack’s farmstand join the two North Shore garden groups on Facebook. 


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.

Loving in Lynn Valley

There is a busy weekend coming up to celebrate all kinds of love. With back-to-back holidays of Valentine’s Day and Family Day, and ongoing requests to stay in your community, February is the perfect time to celebrate with homegrown activities, gifts and treats.


Valentine’s Day


This is a year parents might get off a bit easy. Most schools are sending notices downplaying Valentine’s events. In class treat exchanges are a no-go and it’s a class-by-class decision to paper Valentine exchanges. 

If schools are thinking outside the box, we have put together some options that go beyond chocolate to celebrate February 14th this year. 

MaxFrut

Lynn Valley’s Rizzo family is behind the local favourite frozen fruit bars MaxFrut. They are offering a special on kid-sized bars all dressed up for Valentine’s Day. The healthy, whole-fruit bars are made locally, have no artificial flavours and do not use sweeteners. They have boxes of 10 kids-size bars for $20 – they have lots of flavours on their website, plus you can try new, limited-edition flavour Chocolate & Peppermint. Order can be picked up in North Van or they offer free delivery on orders over $40. Email: sales@maxfrut.ca or text 778-708-3355.


Stuffies


Just down the hill from Lynn Valley, near Phibbs Exchange is the Stuffies Pastry Cafe. Based on the South Korean, filled, animal-shaped waffle-like Stuffies offers sweet and savory options. The pastries are vegan and gluten-free – our pick for Valentine’s are the sweet bears filled with jam or strawberry creme. They have many rotating flavours, plus larger treats. For a quick lunch they have options like ham and cheese and for a larger dessert, Stuffies has vegan soft serve in their fish shaped waffles. Yum. A dozen of the small treats starts at $8. 


Dessert in a box


Our newly discovered neighbourhood caterer Folia Events is offering two specials for Valentine’s – a limited-edition LOVE grazing box with a slightly pink and red theme and heart-shaped offerings, and a Valentine’s Dessert box – the perfect way to share some sweetness with your family this year. 


Can’t beat classic flowers


Twig and Plum Florists at Mountain Market have beautiful options for all kinds of Valentines. From the single rose to a beautiful bouquet from cheerful tulips to their usual stunning centerpieces. Drop by or send them an email to make a custom arrangement for your special someone. 


Family Day and Valentines – two days of love


The Black Bear Neighbourhood Pub has put together a special treat for Valentine’s Day and is inviting families in (until 9 pm) for Family Day (typical family hours are M-F 11 am-2 pm, Sat & holidays 11 am-4 pm and Sun 11 am-9 pm). For February 14th the Black Bear is offering a special of Lobster Linguini with the option of adding its Chocolate Nemesis. This feature was a major hit last Mother’s Day and it is delicious. Dinner and Dessert is $27.00 per person or  dinner alone is $22.00 per person. Of course, that is a Sunday so it is also Prime Rib night.

The District of North Vancouver Public Library is celebrating all kinds of love this month. Join its Stay Home and Read Book Club that is marking  February with the theme of Family, Friendship, and Love. This ‘club’ encourages you to settle in with a good book February 6, and connect on social media @nvdpl to show what you’re reading when you Stay Home and Read. You also find theme books featuring love and family on the book displays this month, plus a Zoom Valentine’s storytime Feb. 12 and a Family Day trivia night

For more Family Day Fun

For some neighbourhood family fun there is skating and swimming available at Karen Magnussen Rec Centre – but the spots do fill up fast so book NOW! 

The Ecology Centre is hosting, by donation, Nature Drawing. Learn how to draw some of the animals that live in the temperate rainforest, and hear more about them! Connect to the internet, bring paper and something to colour with (felts, crayons, pastels, or pencil crayons). Drawings will be simple and easy for the whole family to follow. Suitable for ages 4-10 but all ages welcome. While this program is free, the suggested donation is $2 to help them continue to offer these amazing programs from the Ecology Centre.

Enjoy some time family together: 

  • Trade board games or puzzles with another family or neighbour and try something new. 
  • Talk a wander through the woods looking for geocaches
  • Come up with a family random act of kindness plan – kids love to be sneaky – why not do it for good? Pick up some treats or coffee, write a heartfelt note and drop it off with a loved one or friend.
  • Do some green cleaning – while doing a family wander bring along a garbage bag and make the forest a bit cleaner as you go. 
  • Host a family quiz day – reach out to family or friends to create some Kahoots and take turns hosting. The site also has premade quizzes but more giggles are guaranteed from homemade ones. 
  • Online Pictionary – If you can Zoom you can play Pictionary! Set up a meeting and engage the “whiteboard” feature. Suddenly you are in the game! 

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.

Community Art Day

The pandemic pivot is leading to all sorts of innovation. A local artist who took her art lessons online in 2020 is inviting Lynn Valley to join her January 29 for a community painting party. Local artist Caroline Liggett has partnered with the United Way’s Local Love campaign to provide materials and instruction for an online class at the end of the month.


A real artist


Liggett’s journey to becoming an artist is echoed by the experience of many enduring the Covid-19 pandemic: she was dealing with grief. The busy working mom was rattled by the unexpected death of her sister in 2009. 

“A friend of mine suggested I journal,” said Liggett. “But I didn’t want to see the words of grief, I didn’t want to be reminded. I had taken a few painting lessons in the past and picked up my brush to see if I could channel all those feelings of anxiety, the pain of grief, into something beautiful.”

She connected with North Van’s Dene Croft as an instructor and mentor and began to paint. Years in she is prolific and is a teacher herself. From youth classes to adults she has been guiding individuals and groups through ongoing lessons and one-off painting parties.

“I hear from people all the time ‘I can’t paint’ or ‘I am not an artist,” she said. “I think to be a real artist all you need is a desire to create art – the rest is just learning. I think people are surprised by what they can do when they complete a painting.”


One stroke at a time


The desire to help others fall in love with painting did not end when the pandemic hit last spring. For some students, Liggett moved outside during the summer. For others, especially for her students with special needs, she worked with families to create learning spaces that allow for physical distance and masks. But for the majority, she turned – like most of us – to Zoom. She has even taught classes for a high school in Nanaimo all from the comfort of her studio. 

“I started with some groups I know, and then offered more classes in November,” said Liggett. “I think people wondered what they could create guided by a video but it was interesting, I had a former colleague of mine doing a class one Wednesday with her kids and her husband was wandering in and out of the kitchen. Then in my Friday class – for adults – there he was wanting to give it a try!”

Each week Liggett offers two classes, one to suit children (but any age is welcome) on Wednesday afternoons and an adult class on Friday evenings. Participants are provided with a finished image of the class painting to help inspire them, an accessible supply list and a link to the class. For a flat fee of $10 (kids classes) or $15 (adult class) anyone in the household can participate. 

“These classes are for the very beginner,” she said. “All you need is a yearning to paint. You don’t need 40 different colours. I have created a very limited palette of colours that you can find at Opus or Micheals. Depending on the painting I might paint along, but I have found that by breaking it down into four or five steps and being able to offer immediate feedback tends to work best. 

“And by the end of the two hours,” she laughs, “you have a masterpiece.”

She also puts together private events. Over the holidays Liggett worked with several families to lead a family event together while all in their own homes. She also has some dedicated clients who take a more social approach – more of cocktail and create – all of which can be done on Zoom, she said. 


Community Paint Party


Last fall the Greater Vancouver United Way launched a Local Love Campaign to foster connection within Lynn Valley during the pandemic. Residents could submit proposals for small grants to create an impactful project. Liggett was awarded a grant for a community-wide paint party to put together 30 supply packages for Lynn Valley residents. 

“I am thinking it will be birch trees,” she said of the design. “People could then ‘carve’ a name or some initials, a heart or something into the bark that was impactful to them during this time. I would really like some seniors to participate.”

To sign up or learn more about the Jan. 29th Community Paint (Online) Party visit Liggett’s Facebook page or email her.


Looking for more?


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

Good Neighbour 2020

Every year we have the joy of recognizing a local resident and the good work they do. This has been a challenging year and many, many people have stepped up to support friends, family, neighbours and strangers. People put out the calls for help and others answered. There were huge undertakings like the North Vancouver Cares Foundation which evolved early in the pandemic. This organization is an outstanding accomplishment but this year we also wanted to highlight that the decision to do good can be small and slowly ripple out to deeply impact Lynn Valley, North Vancouver and beyond.


Walkstar


Almost six years ago Dawn Moore and her friend Ann decided they wanted to get moving, be more active and try to be a bit healthier. 

“We thought if we made a commitment to each other we would stick to it,” said Moore. “Pretty soon there were five or six of us and it grew from there.”

Today that promise to a friend has snowballed into a group approaching 1000 that gets together every week to walk and connect. The Walkstars has about 200 semi-regulars who drop in now and again and a core group of 40-50 who join the Sunday walks as much as they possibly can. Dawn and her husband Paddy coordinate routes, the sign-up (which in a covid world means contact tracing), and an optional donation.

“Over the years we have offered a lot of support to Covenant House,” said Moore. “People share a loonie or a toonie and I save them up until there is a donation matching opportunity. We just donated $700 for part of this year.”


Impact


Not all people have close extended family, they don’t belong to faith groups and as the years go on, some have lost their partners leading to more solitary lives.  The Walkstars have created a network of support for its participants.

“We have a lot of people who live alone or don’t feel comfortable walking alone, or are newcomers to the North Shore,” said participant Fiona Lewis. “This is really important to their social connection.”

A sentiment echoed by fellow walker John Kennedy.

“It’s been a lifesaver,” he said. “My wife died seven and a half years ago. I live alone, if I get a little bit down, being able to go for that Sunday walk is really important. It is written in ink on my calendar.I look forward to every single time and I miss it like nobody’s business when I can’t.”

He added that some reading he has been doing lately shared the fact the chief indicator of long life is the ability to socialize. For Moore the thriving group has changed much of her social life – adding so many she would never have met if it weren’t for weekly walking. 

“North Vancouver is very diverse, but sometimes we don’t have the chance to really get to know others,” said Moore. “Going for a walk has allowed me to meet people I would have never had a real conversation with, and now we are friends.”

Some are even more than friends, Moore laughed. 

“It changed my life,” said Lewis. “I lost my husband five years ago and this man who is now my partner. It is so important to our lives.”

Over the years Moore has gathered about 40 different routes the Walkstars rotate through. 

“We live in a car society,” said Kennedy. “There are places on the North Shore I would not have discovered if it hadn’t been for the walks.”

Each week the group aims to walk for two hours then share a social coffee at a local shop. They vary the routes aiming for easy and medium terrain. The walks are guided by a leader and have a sweeper at the end – valuable volunteers, said Moore. 

“It’s not always the same group but there is a core group that is usually there,” said Lewis. “So you are connecting with people you know and meeting new people each time.”


Covid


The pandemic brought on a short term hiatus, that was felt deeply, said Kennedy. However, Moore pushed through offering virtual options and then establishing smaller walks with covid distance protocols, said Lewis.

She created an online walk across Canada and invited Walkstars members to log in and record their individual steps walked,” said Lewis. “This was a great way for us to stay connected and be motivated to keep walking.  We finally reached Newfoundland virtually by August!”

Initially a bit skeptical about the virtual events, Kennedy said the group deepened its connection as they met around zoom each week and virtually explored where they “were” in Canada, sharing stories and photos of past trips through the areas. 

“It brought back wonderful memories for us,” he said. “It turned out to be a marvelous way to share stories with each other.”

Moore spent many hours pouring over the changing covid protocols and making plans for a return to in-person Walkstars. 

“We reduced the number of participants, and broke into two groups,” she said. “We wanted to make sure everyone felt comfortable and safe and we didn’t want to disrupt other trail users by having a large group.”

“Dawn is kind and compassionate, but it is worth saying she is tough,” said Kennedy. “She was excellent at instilling discipline into a group – “of a certain age” – that all have habits we don’t like to change and tends not to pay attention. Well, we all pay attention to Dawn.”

Currently on hiatus to respect the current Provincial Health Officer orders, they hope to be out soon – regardless of weather, said Moore.


Creating community


The Walkstars began with a friendship to encourage each other to be healthy and has grown to be a North Shore wide community of caring for many. In a society where lasting social connections can be hard to foster, the simple act of gathering and putting one step in front of the other, has formed a web of support for its members and at the centre is Moore. 

“People always say she is very sweet – and she is,” said Lewis. “A very kind person. She is concerned about the people around her. She is intelligent and thinks of others before herself”

Kennedy agrees.

“I generally don’t walk around with a frown on my face,” he said. “But if you’re down, Dawn will notice. She is sensitive to others and will ask if she feels you’re just a bit off. 

“Dawn and Paddy are intelligent people so they know they are doing something good, but I don’t know if they understand on an emotional level how deeply I feel about what they are doing. I am not sure they really know how big the impact is on the community.” 

The future

For any community group in a pandemic, there is a lot of uncertainty. While in-person walks are not an option at the moment, Moore plans to start another virtual walk and zoom coffee soon. She hopes to plan future Walkstar travel adventures which in the past have taken the group to Mexico and she is figuring out the future of Walkstars beyond the pandemic. To learn more about Walkstars visit them on Meetup


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.

Cozy up with a good book

The winter is the perfect tie to curl up with a good book. Whether you are seeking refuge from the unrelenting rain or your family has the tradition to exchange books during the holidays, we want to send some local love to Lynn Valley’s resident authors. We did some digging and think all these authors live in the area – we may be off but they all have ties to the North Shore. Special thanks to the North Vancouver District Public Library staff who helped with this post.


Local literary picks


Garet Anderson

Set on the west coast Killer Gold tells the story of Bedard, who is hired by Queen Victoria to track down and deal with criminals preying on those working in the Lower Fraser River gold rush on Canada’s west coast in 1858. At the library here.

 Jenn Ashton

Check out her latest book People Like Frank – And Other Stories from the Edge of Normal. Inside you will find a young woman in a group home investigating a mysterious piece of knitting.  An obsessed bag boy does grim battle with a squirrel. A woman, an asparagus bag and a garbageman have a tumultuous short-term relationship. Otherwise unremarkable achievements become epic on the edge of normal. Ashton also has two children’s books.

Evelyn Cohoon Dreiling 

Dreiling has penned three books featuring the fictitious Tracey family and their journey from Scotland to a newly colonized Canada. The novels span multiple generations from Scotland to Montreal to Saskatchewan. Check them out.  

Megan Clendenan

Clendenan has written both fiction and non-fiction. She debuted her young adult fiction book Offbeat last year and is looking forward to her forthcoming non-fiction book. Design Like Nature: Biomimicry for a Healthy Planet will help kids answer their questions about the 

Michele Fogal

Fogal has always felt a sense of kinship with quirky and diverse people. As a bisexual author, writing love stories that explore the rainbow of human experience is both a pleasure and a calling. Her work celebrates the divine nature of diversity and the sacred, messy work of intimacy. She has two books, King of Snowflakes and King of Rain, available at the NVDPL.  

Daniel Francis

Francis is the author of 30 books, principally about Canadian, BC, and local history. Where Mountains Meet the Sea describes how the community of North Vancouver originated as the sawmill town of Moodyville, then evolved into a residential suburb of Vancouver until following World War Two it emerged as a bustling urban centre in its own right. The book documents the district’s major industries — shipbuilding, forestry and deep water shipping — as well as the rich legacy of outdoor recreation for which it is still known.

Eve Lazarus

Passionate about history and writing, Lazarus has published numerous books chronicling Vancouver’s past. More than a writer she also has podcasts on her website. The library has an excellent selection of her books.  

Fernando Lessa 

As a professional nature photographer, Lessa travelled all over the world. He didn’t have to look far for his 2019 book Urban Salmon: A Photographic Journey into the Metro Vancouver Watershed. The project chronicles two years in the Vancouver area. 

Steve Galliford

Based on his adventures and bedtime stories for his children, Galliford released his first book a few years ago. The House at the Edge of Space, a children’s novel follows a boy as he discovers incredibly weird secrets near an abandoned house on the outskirts of town.

Vihba Sisodraker

For those wanting to take their book to the kitchen check out this new cookbook from a local family. Perfect for cool nights: The Flavourful Indian – Recipes from My Kitchen.


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.

Virtual worship

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


Local church information


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

St. Clement’s Anglican Church

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

Mount Olivet Luthern Church

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

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

Mondays offer Spiritual Practices via Zoom and Saturday morning coffee and questions via Zoom. December 24 they will have family services at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm and more extensive service at 9pm.  at To learn more visit its website.
St. Stephen’s Catholic Parish
St. Stephen’s Catholic Parish has a list of available virtual masses on its website. There is a mass scheduled at 10:30am December 25.
Valley Chruch
The Valley Church has been offering virtual services via Facebook Dec. 24 at 4 and 6 pm. To learn more visit its website.
Westlynn Baptist Church
The Westlynn Baptist Church has been offering virtual services via its website Dec. 24 they have a service at 6pm. To learn more visit its page.

Looking for more?


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

Mollie Nye House is showing an ‘old dog’ can learn new tricks

As the covid pandemic unfolded, it was a hard day to close the doors of Mollie Nye House and an even worse day when the board had to lay off staff. The organization has used the time to reflect on the community centre’s role and how it can adapt to continue to serve. For all the times the Mollie Nye House has supported the community, in 2020, it could use a bit of support itself.


Locking the door


It was a grim task for the Lynn Valley Services Society to shut the doors of Mollie Nye House, not knowing what the future held, said Margret Fraser, president of the board. 

“It was myself and Matina [Spiropoulos, executive director] contacting everyone and all the rentals and getting their input,” she said. “Initially some wanted to continue but by the end of March everything was shut down.”

Like the shuttering of many community amenities, the loss of programs at Mollie Nye house was felt deeply. 

“Generally speaking, we have 1000s of visitors a year,” said Spiropoulos. “We have our rentals, we have the programs we run for seniors, we have groups that use it in the evening, there are classes – everything from puppy training to Weight Watchers.” 

“There were days we were jammed packed,” added Fraser. 


New reality


Fast forward several months everything has changed. 

“The biggest issue is loss of income. With no rentals and nothing going on we have no income. We can’t even do drop-ins,” said Fraser. “We were lucky we got a little bit of extra funding that we were able to muddle through.”

The income was essential to providing other services. 

“A lot of our programs are supported by our rental revenue, so when small community groups aren’t meeting, celebration parties aren’t happening, birthday parties aren’t happening – nobody is engaging in anything,” said Spirolpous.

The closure, however, was not wasted, said Fraser. They embraced the time as a resource that has been missing. 

“One of the key things is we have been able to take some time – we have never had that before,” she said. “Small organizations are go-go-go. We can think about doing things differently.”

They focused on outreach and connecting with clients.

“We have done some survey work to find out what people want,” said Fraser. “We don’t need to do things as they have always been done just because we are Mollie Nye House.” 

The pair know how important this process is to the long term success of the Mollie Nye House as they expect to never return to as it was. 

“We had a group that met here on Sunday mornings and now they have discovered they can do the exact same thing on Zoom. We will never get that revenue back,” said Fraser. 


Community support


The organization is heralding the call for fresh and innovative ideas, as well as interested members of the public to join their board. 

“People underestimate themselves,” said Spirolous. “They have a lot of ideas to bring to the table. People think board members need to be specialized – they don’t.”

“Now, we need some new thinking and new ideas,” added Fraser. “We can get that from the public but we need new board members who are prepared to see it through.”

Being a small organization they are adaptable, said the pair.  

“We are a community centre, we are a place for the people. A lot of people think only of the NorthVan Rec Centres, but we are a community centre too – we try to engage people and work with people. Our doors aren’t shut and our lights aren’t off. Most of the people we are serving are seniors but we aren’t limited to that,” said Spiropoulos. 

“If someone comes to us with a new idea – we can work with them to find the right space for them. We want to help create what we can,” said Fraser. 


Innovate


The time to reflect has also spurred some new activities.

“We have started back with programs with the most interest, we have to offer limited spaces and we have waiting lists,” said Spiropoulos. “We are offering a small free bingo on Zoom. The idea is to engage people to use Zoom. For those who may have never used it for whatever reason, in the past can contact me and I can run them through a small tutorial and show them how to do it.”

The goal is to support elder seniors who have never used the internet for their entertainment and are having to learn something new. Elder seniors are extremely isolated at this time and online is one way they can connect, but the technology can be intimidating, said Spiropoulos. 

The other side of the coin is to offer resources that will help them generate revenue to keep their programming going. 

“We are limited by covid, and we are limited by capacity – so we are at 25 percent of our revenue,” Spiropoulos. We are between a rock and a hard place. We want people to know we are here, we are open-minded. We are a community centre and we want to involve the community.”

In addition to volunteering for the board, for maintenance or IT support, the public can help LVSS and Mollie Nye house with  Individual and corporate monetary donations to support ongoing programs. As well as engaging with them online. Following activities and fundraising campaigns is a good way to show support. Follow LVSS on Facebook, Instagram, or check out their website.  

Portions of Mollie Nye House are back open for rentals, but in a much smaller way. The staff welcomes discussions with organizations that need space. 


Other community groups in need


Other community groups are also being hit hard by the pandemic. Two local schools have had to cancel fundraisers essential to supporting their programming and services.

The Lynn Valley Parent Participation Preschool was unable to run its most important community event and fundraiser it’s Great Pumpkin Patch. The annual event is a favourite of local families and is essential to keep their programs affordably accessible. As a registered charity, the school can offer receipts for donations. LVPPP is a favourite local organization of ours, so we have maintained our donation to the event. We hope families will consider a small donation to support the school.

 


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.