Pineapples growing on our North Shore

There is a sunny window on the North Shore that is brimming with pineapples, plumeria and bougainvillea. Perhaps more typically found in Hawaii, the mini garden is finally bearing fruit in Lynn Valley. 

Mini-farm’s own Robin Thorneycroft has been growing pineapple plants in Lynn Valley for nine years.  

“It was an experiment to see what happens, I could never quite get avocado pits to take off, so one day I thought to try a pineapple,” she said. “Frankly, we had young kids and just bought a home – money was tight. I liked the idea of a “free” plant.”

From one little plant rooting in water, the family now has six pineapple plants in various stages of maturity and this time last year there was a small big surprise.

“Without question, with a harvest of two so far, I think we are the premier pineapple farmers of North Vancouver. We had always assumed that these would just be some greenery in our living room,” said Thorneycroft. “Last year, I was watering the largest of the pineapples – its leaves are about 90 cm long – and noticed in the centre there was a teeny, tiny pineapple growing.”

While Thorneycroft had considered it was possible to have the pineapple fruit after they were well established, she hadn’t taken any of the steps typically needed to trigger the fruiting process. 

“It was such a great surprise,” she said. “It took so long for the plant to produce a fruit we had no idea how long it would take for the fruit to mature.”

The answer: about six months over the summer for the first. The second pineapple which fruited last October took even longer. The winter seemed to slow down the process even more – taking more than eight months. Most unexpected were the beautiful magenta flowers that are part of the pineapple fruit, said Thorneycroft.

“This is something we have been playing by ear,” said Thorneycroft. “We could have maybe helped it along by creating a greenhouse. Our second pineapple really needed sun. Once we got the warm spell in late April it went from hard and dark green to bright yellow in about three days.”

Compost pile rescue

Growing pineapples from food waste is pretty easy, she said. 

“When shopping for your pineapple choose one that still has its green leaves in good condition,” said Thorneycroft. “When you want to eat it, carefully twist off the top. Next, peel off a few leaves to reveal the base and place it in a glass with the white fibres immersed in water.”

With frequent water changes the top will develop roots that can then be planted as a houseplant. 

“The plants have been around the house for so long, they have names – Spike was our first and Prickles our second,” she said. “It does feel a bit weird to say Spike was delicious but it really was. They have not been the biggest pineapples but they have been the most aromatic. Just like homegrown tomatoes, there is a big difference when picking one at the height of ripeness and eating it  moments later, compared to getting one from the store that was picked weeks before it was fully ripe and then endured shipping across the world.” 

Much of the advice for growing pineapples focuses on more southern parts of the US – suggesting it takes about three years to go from grocery store top to next-generation fruit harvest. Last year, a grower in the Yukon shared their approach

“This isn’t about food security or trying to be self-sufficient,” said Thorneycroft. “It’s more about bringing a little bit of the Maui to our dark winters. We now have plumeria and bougainvillea growing alongside the pineapples to bring a bit of an indoor tropical vibe.” 

She said her next goal is to get the plumeria to bloom and to see if their first pineapple will produce fruit after replanting its top – in about six more years. 

Looking for more?

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

A home run for dinner

The smell of grilled onions slowly drifts over Upper Lynn. The sounds of kids playing and bats cracking aren’t the only sensations coming from Kilmer Park these days. If there is baseball in the field, there are likely volunteers behind the concession. The Lynn Valley Little League tradition of fundraising through food is by far the best bargain for dinner in Lynn Valley.

A grand slam on and off the field

Four evenings a week and most of the day on Saturday, the Kilmer Park Concession opens its doors under the watch full eyes of

Michelle Buxton and Christine Halicki

LVLL’s concession coordinators Michelle Buxton and Christine Halicki (The full schedule is at the bottom of the post). They oversee hundreds of volunteer hours each year – every one spent for the same goal – to get more kids playing baseball. 

“It’s a bit about feeding the kids and parents before and after baseball but it’s important fundraising for the league,” said Halicki. “It keeps fees down so more kids can participate and helps buy equipment.”

One candy bag at a time, the concession typically nets around $20K. The fundraising helped reduce the fees this year in some age groups, said Buxton. That has translated into a record year for LVLL with more than 650 boys and girls participating this year, said registrar Becky Carlsen, adding the hard work of Halicki and Buxton is essential to making the league accessible. 

Remarkably, a hamburger still only costs $6 at the ballpark.

Best value

In a world of climbing food costs, the league is walking a fine line between fundraising success and affordability. As one patron said Tuesday: “It’s cheaper than Mcdonald’s and it helps the kids.” 

“It isn’t just for players and their families, we get hikers and bikers so happy to enjoy a burger after the trails,” said Halicki. “It felt like we had half the community here last Saturday.’

But it’s still a bit of a secret. What a fun evening to walk up to Kilmer, grab some food and watch some T-ball from the hill. 

“I think the prices are reasonable and who doesn’t love concession – there is something nostalgic about it,” said Halicki. “Maybe it’s remembering when we were kids. It is so fun to see a tiny kid walk up with their 10 cents to buy a piece of gum – or these days tap their parents’ credit card. For little kids, this is often the first place they buy something on their own.”

The menu at the ballpark has all the classic fare: burgers and hot dogs – both meat and veggie, chips, and Gatorade.

“The candy bags are huge,” laughed Halicki. “We switched to paper bags a few years ago to be environmentally conscious but the mystery of what is in the bag has boosted the sales. I try and make a mix of sweet and sour and always include one big candy.”

Other favourites that stand out are slushies and freezies when the weather warms up.  


Somedays the crowd around the concession may look large, but a closer look reveals that is not necessarily a line. It is the gathering place at Kilmer Park. 

“I can’t count the amount of people I have met at the concession,” said Halicki. “I have spoken with people I have seen at my kids’ school but never had a chance to talk with. I stay in touch with parents from past teams.”

Each team is asked to cover at least one shift at the concession with older teams taking on more. 

“It’s a bit of teambuilding for the parents too,” she said. “It helps break the ice and helps parents get to know each other better.”

It’s not unusual to see grandparents stepping up either. 

“The other day there was a Grandma on the grill and her daughter was also helping out,” said Halicki. “That is three generations at the park that day – how cool.

“Everyone volunteers for the kids. It’s very important that when the costs of so many sports are going up and up, Little League is accessible. Kids are outdoors, playing in their neighbourhood – it’s the best.” 

The Lynn Valley Little League concession is open weather dependent Monday to Thursday 5 – 8 pm until April 20th – and 5:30 – 8:30 pm after April 20th and Saturdays 10 am – 5 pm. The last day of the season is June 24th. With it being only about $9 for a burger, chips and pop – this is our pick for dinner this spring. 

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.

North Shore solution to take on bike theft

A local mountain biker is aiming to disrupt the rampant bike theft market tormenting Vancouver, and anywhere bikes are ridden, with hidden GPS technology and some mentoring from a Dragon, Fraser Vaage has launched Snik.

Reaction to inaction

When the pandemic slowed the job market North Vancouver’s Fraser Vaage saw an opportunity to tackle a problem plaguing biker riders like him: bike theft.

Fraser Vaage

“Bike theft is a real problem,” said Vaage, Snik co-founder. “Coming from competitive downhill mountain biking I had four of my core friends have their bikes stolen in a really short time. It’s a bad state in Vancouver – and really everywhere. We have seen a jump in users through the pandemic and an increase in bike value – there are bikes worth $10,000 sitting in unattended communal storage areas.”

The North Shore RCMP agree.

“It’s a problem here,” Cst. Mansoor Sahak, media relations officer for the North Vancouver RCMP. “I don’t have any stats of stolen bikes. But I can tell you that we get a lot of reports of stolen bikes.”

With more people on bikes and more people living in condos – some of which forbid bikes in hallways preventing in-unit storage – Vaage was frustrated with the rise in thefts. Friends were seeing bikes stored in ‘secure’ storage with multiple locks disappear. 

“Bikes are most vulnerable in these low-traffic public storage areas and more often they are the only option for riders.”

Shifting gears

With a solid background in biking and a decade in marketing, Vaage started looking at theft in a different way. The rise of technology like Apple Air Tags was a step forward but not a gamechanger. 

“No one is tackling bike theft in a new way,” he said. “I should be able to know when my bike moves.”

Three years later, Vaage and his team launched Snik on March 1. 

“It’s a bike security technology,” he said. “It is integrated inside your bike to let you know if your bike moves without you. It’s been engineered specifically for biking. When I hop on it pairs with Bluetooth and knows it’s me. When I finish my ride and walk away it unpairs and it is monitoring my bike. If it moves it triggers a notification and from there I can look at a live map, I can send out a community alert or I can send a text message with a live link to the police.”

The RCMP are intrigued by what they have seen.

“I think the device is a great idea to keep track of your property. We encourage people to find ways to safeguard their personal property, ” said Sahak. “This device would definitely help police track stolen bikes and retrieve them.”

Snik slides into the stem of a bike and is secured using a lock also used by the US military and CIA. It looks like a normal stem cap, said Vaage, but hidden inside is a battery and GPS system with its own cellular signal. Coming in at $150 at launch including a year of monitoring, it falls well under the rule of thumb to invest 10% of a bike’s value in security. After the first year monitoring will be $7.50 a month. 

“We want to make it approachable,” said Vaage. “We want to give peace of mind to someone with a $1500 commuter or a $10,000 downhill bike.”

Innovation and buzz

There has been a lot of interest in the new technology. Vaage is being mentored [not financially backed] by former Dragon’s Den funder and tech venture capitalist Lane Merrifield, who just so happens to be a former boss. Talks are underway with e-bike manufacturers to incorporate the Snik at the factory level and local police have expressed interest in using the Snik as part of the bait bike programs in Vancouver and Whistler. Vaage says they are particularly interested because of how the location information in the Snik app is also paired with proof of ownership. 

“When you get the Snik app you enter your bike details, from there it goes into a database, with all the parts populated and its registered with the serial number and the value so we have all that information. An officer told me that if a thief is smart they simply say it’s their bike and now they need to go to court to prove it’s not. That proof of ownership is essential,” said Vaage.

“If your bike is taken and you aren’t comfortable knocking on someone’s door – like the downtown eastside, at that point you call the police – say this is what is happening, here is my registered bike, here is the route they took, here is proof of ownership. The officers don’t need to be on the Snik app, you can send them a web-based link with all the information.”

The app will also engage the community to get more eyes looking for the stolen bike.  

“Officers don’t tend to spend a lot of time because the odds of getting the bike back a few,” said Vaage. “I am trying to empower the community here. You can send a message and notify the 50 closest people – they are green, the bike is red and there is a chat below. I am not trying to encourage vigilantism but in the case of a stolen bike knowing where a bike is key.”

And with accurate information, Sahak says the police will be able to help.

“We don’t encourage citizens to put themselves in harm’s way in order to retrieve their property,” he said. “We ask that they call police and let us help them.”

The built-in, rechargeable battery is designed to last for months on standby, he said.

“We have designed this to only use the battery when there is a theft. When you are riding it is on standby, when it’s stationary it’s on standby. It’s only using the battery when it is moving without its owner,” said Vaage. 

Once the Snik is activated it pings every five seconds to produce a real-time record of its movements. With communication every five seconds the battery is expected to last two and a half days but can be adjusted remotely to reduce battery use and extend battery life. 

“If it goes out of service or gets low on battery it will divert to the same technology as an Air Tag,” said Vagge, extending the tracking substantially.  

Vaage hopes that when used with other security devices like locks the Snik will give riders peace of mind. 

“People aren’t using their bikes because they are afraid they will be stolen,” he said. “Maybe I will go enjoy a coffee or a beer after a ride because I will know if my bike moves.”

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.

Adapting local homes to aging

Aging is never easy. Fraught with loss and challenges, a new local business is hoping to ease the burdens on the elderly and their families with a plan to age in place and adapt homes to make them functional for later life. Tom and Melody Grant bring their expertise as an occupational therapist and a designer to Living by Design.

Lived experience

Living on the Sunshine Coast at the time, Tom Grant was not surprised when he and his siblings decided he should take the lead on helping his elderly parents downsize and transition to long-term care. With his experience as an occupational therapist it was the logical choice. What he didn’t expect was having to move back to the UK for a year, the massive mental and emotional labour, and the seemingly endless details of the task. 

Melody and Tom Grant

“At the time I had a big realization: ‘Why do we, and everyone else, leave these things so late – until it’s a big panic?’ It’s such upheaval in everyone’s lives to downsize,” said the Lynn Valley-based occupational therapist. 

He was dealing with the double whammy of downsizing his mother to a smaller home and settling his father into a long-term care facility to support his dementia. He knew he wanted to use his expertise to help others. 

“I am really on a mission to shift people’s approaches to aging. To think more proactively rather than reactively – like I did in my life,” said Grant. “We want to make the process a bit smoother so we can help a few families avoid having to rush in a crisis.”

It was also the experience with his family that brought his wife Melody on board to create Living By Design.

“When my mom got her new place my wife made it suitable for my mom with all its furnishings,” he said. “It doesn’t need to look institutional. I think you need the collaboration of both expertise or you will get something that is institutional or it could be very pretty but doesn’t take into account the progression of age, or a disability. If we could work as a team, we could help instead of calling in separate experts who aren’t on the same page.”  

Today, Tom offers traditional occupational services as well as their aging-in-place planning with Melody through their company Living By Design

Make a plan

If Grant has one piece of advice it’s: plan – and if needed, move early.

“Ideally people will have their home for life or downsize early enough and make that their home for life. Depending on their finances, as long as it’s accessible, there is no reason why some can’t stay at home as long as possible,” he said.

The biggest error families make is underestimating the amount of mental and physical effort to move, and how that mental drain continues for months or years as someone tries to establish themselves in a new community. 

“In my experience working in home care, if someone has to move their home when they are already starting to struggle with mobility and particularly if they are struggling with cognition, if they move environments – move home or into a new area so they can be close to family, it’s very discombobulating and can lead to massive functional decline.

“A new area, a new home they might not have the cognitive ability to take on this new environment. It takes a lot of cognitive ability to get to know your new environment and – not driving anymore – transportation can lead to feeling isolated,” said Grant. “Getting lost, struggling with timetables, it becomes a burden for adult children. Potentially, the older adult feels guilty that they need to be supported so much but they need the help. It becomes very demanding on everyone. If people stay in their homes and help can come in, they are more likely to function.”

Age with grace

The solution is fairly simple, but not necessarily easy. 

“What I see happening, downsizing and aging is a bit of a taboo topic,” said Grant. “Have a good plan in place around 65 that you are going to stick to and be accountable to your family members.”

That is a broad strokes plan sharing the elder’s wishes and setting goals. 

“At 70-75, you might have the cognitive capacity to do it but not the physical capacity to do it yourself. The brain power to do all the packing or getting to know a new area is underestimated. It has to happen before your abilities decline and the burden shifts to adult children.”

This also empowers the elder, rather than forcing decisions on them, another stress for the family, he said.  

“My mission is to get people to start talking about this. The conversations are getting delayed.  Be honest, be transparent and commit to the plan of aging. Acknowledge there is a functional decline with aging without any particular health condition.”

Connecting the dots

With the experience of working within and out of Coast Health, Grant understands the pressures and limitations of the public system. He hopes Living By Design helps families move forward with living and aging. Too often, after a brief evaluation from a Coast Health OT patients are left with more questions than answers. 

“When people leave it to a crisis: like they are in hospital after they have fallen and broken their hip, suddenly they need an accessible home. People spend a lot of time in rehab only to find their home is not appropriate for them,” said Grant. “OTs with Coastal Health are stretched too thin. They will say you need an accessible bathroom but they don’t have time to tell you what that means and how you can get it. We are trying to fill the gaps in what the public system can offer. They can’t go into this much detail, they will do a basic assessment, but I will do a much more detailed assessment and treatment.”

Whether it’s a crisis, a disability or managing the general decline of aging, if a home needs renovation, that is Melody’s specialty. Her skills help make the functional changes homey and aesthetically pleasing. 

“Often people get recommendations but there is no one to help with the next step of implementing them,” he said. “It might be adding some grab bars but it might be renovating their whole bathroom and they are left to their own devices to figure it out. 

“You can’t rush a lot of these things – it takes time finding contractors, supplies. Ideally, it should be done ahead of time step-by-step.” 

If adult children are out of town, or if that process is simply too taxing, Living By Design can help homeowners through the process. 

“One thing I think might be very helpful is project management,” said Grant. “If you need changes but you might not have the knowledge or the energy to call and make those changes. Melody can help organize reliable trades, keep them on track and make them accountable. The burden often falls on the children who might not even live in the area. If your spouse previously looked after these responsibilities and they have recently passed, it can be intimidating to talk to a contractor and makes them vulnerable to being taken advantage of.”

The first steps to aging in place are simple conversations and assessments, said Grant. He evaluates over 300 potential hazards in the home and can also establish a cognitive baseline to monitor mental changes. 

“If someone thinks ‘We are slowing down and we want to make some changes,’ we can do a joint assessment and look at the space planning and we can work together.” 

Living By Design is based in Lynn Valley and works throughout the North Shore and Sunshine Coast.  

Looking for more?

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

Ready and willing to help

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

Help where it is needed

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

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

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

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

Protecting yourself, caring for others

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

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

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

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

Choosing your legal professional

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking for more?

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

Gillian Konst – Good Neighbour 2022

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

Decades of giving back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Constant contributing

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

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

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

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

Learning from mentors, leaving a legacy

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

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

Before the surprise announcement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking for more?

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

Looking for our Good Neighbour 2022

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

Notable neighbours

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

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

A decade of outstanding contributions

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

How to nominate your good neighbour

Who might our Good Neighbour be for 2022? Please send us a note telling us why you think your nominee makes Lynn Valley a better place to be. It doesn’t have to be long and fancy – just from the heart! Please send your suggestions to [email protected] before November 25, 2021. Lynn Valley’s Good Neighbour will receive a plaque, a restaurant gift certificate, and some well-deserved recognition!

Looking for more?

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

CBC broadcaster shares joy of Lynn Valley

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

Early roots

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local micro climate

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

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

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

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

No bad weather, only bad gear

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

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

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

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

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

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

Climate Changers

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

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

Wagstaffe says her hope is to give agency to youth. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Images courtesy of Johanna Wagstaffe and Orca Book Publishers. 

Looking for more?

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

A day at the museum

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Our story

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

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

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

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

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

How to visit

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

Looking for more?

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

Healthy goodness Valley to Shore

Inspired by her own adventures in growing food led an Upper Lynn mom to take on the mission of providing local, quality produce to North Vancouver homes. All it took was meeting the right farmer to help launch Valley to Shore Harvest Boxes. 

Planting seeds

Healthy living and eating has always been a priority for Dana Dykema. When possible she buys local or grows her own food. 

“It’s been a journey of years for me changing how I think about food,” she said. “We don’t go on extravagant holidays because I have to feed our eating habit of buying farmer direct.”

That care for her own family led to Dykema to seek out a farm partner and launch a small business this past fall. 

“I was looking on Instagram and went down a rabbit hill when I saw the name Local Harvest. I thought: ‘Oooo I like that.’ I saw the trailer for a gardening course,” she said.  

Hooked by the quality of the online course, soon Dykema was making the trip out regularly to Dan Oostenbrink’s market garden farm. 

“I was going out to the [Fraser] Valley a lot to pick up what was seasonally available, to pick cherries, ” she said. “I have been frustrated with the lack of Fraser Valley produce on the North Shore. It’s so good and it’s right there. Why isn’t it in our stores?”

As she got to know Oostenbrink, and his family, and to experience the quality foods he grows, Dykema felt compelled to offer it to other families who might not have the time to source high-quality food. 

More than a box of vegetables

Last fall Dykema tested the CSA (community supported agriculture) waters by organizing a veggie box delivery as a Thanksgiving fundraiser for Upper Lynn Elementary. Students got to learn about local food security, visit the farm first hand and help pack the boxes. The interest in that project was the proof of concept needed to launch Valley to Shore. In the weeks since Dykema has been making the trek to Chilliwack and returning with a car full of produce. 

“It’s more than just delivering a product to the North Shore,” she said. “There is a lot more in what he gives in a harvest box than a typical CSA. It tastes better. There is nothing that compares. It’s also about education and building community around this food and seasonal eating.”

Dykema takes the time to offer inspiration and information with each box. Her social feeds chronicle the dishes she cooks for her family and later this month Dykema will be launching her website,, where there will be recipes, blog posts and more. 

“Because of the way [Dan] farms there is a large variety of foods available throughout the year,” she said. “Some of the ingredients are new to people so it’s a culinary adventure.”

Some items in the Harvest Boxes might come as a surprise. Those lucky enough to grab a Christmas box were surprised with Fraser Valley grown ginger and lemons – items more typically imported from China or South America. 

“Traditionally any lemon you get at a store has been sprayed with who knows what. This lemon is pure good food,” said Dykema. “The food tastes better than anything you find at the grocery stores. It’s picked at peak freshness – not picked before so it can travel thousands of miles and sprayed with preservatives. It is often picked as I am putting boxes together.”

Local Harvest, like a handful of other Fraser Valley Farms, is not officially organic. Having chosen to invest in organic farming practices but not the bureaucracy to get certified. In addition to organic practices, Local Harvest uses no sprays of any kind, as well as regenerative practices. Regenerative gardening also considers the emissions and waste when working the land. 

 “Knowing Dan, how he farms with the practices he uses brings me a lot of comfort,” said Dykema. “Being a farmer is not easy. People will look at the box and think $65 is a lot of money but I think we are valuing quality and responding to the value of people’s hard work and caring environmental choices. Society wants quick and easy convenience but that bottom dollar idea is bringing bottom quality.”

The past couple of years have been incredibly challenging for Local Harvest. The covid pandemic has limited workers (Dykema said this is a three-fold issue – limited migrant workers means stretching local workers thinner, no students applied to work the past summer versus the typical 100 applications Oostenbrink would get and income programs lead to more part-time workers instead of full farming season help). And then there is the weather. November’s devastating floods were felt throughout the Fraser Valley. 

“I think it has shown us how important these farms are,” said Dykema. “I was making a six-hour round trip to prepare the boxes during the worst of the floods.” 

Seasonal abundance

The winter is the slow time for harvesting in the Fraser Valley. Dykema and Oostenbrink are putting together one more box for a Jan. 18th delivery before taking a break until the Spring. Boxes are $65 and can be ordered by sending an etransfer to [email protected]. Boxes are then picked up Tuesday evenings and Wednesdays at Dykema’s Upper Lynn home. In addition to North Shore customers, she has people come from Vancouver and Richmond to get their share. 

“I love being hospitable and this is a way to do that by introducing people to a farmer and showing them a different way to take care of their families,” said Dykema. “I can’t invite all these people to my house and cook for them but I can help care for their families.”

She hopes in the spring to be able to offer 100 boxes a week. Dykema will launch a “taster” box in mid-late April, with hopes to kickoff the season in May. Details will be on her website (launching soon) and her Facebook and Instagram

“These dollars stay in the community, support local farm families and in return, I get nutrient-dense foods to feed my family.” 

Looking for more?

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