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.

2020 needs a Good Neighbour

This tumultuous year has given us some outstanding signs of hope. We want to recognize the volunteers who make our neighbourhood a better place. There is no doubt this is our favorite time of year here at Lynn Valley Life: The Good Neighbor Award season.  Year after year this is a highlight for all of us.


Our quiet contributors


Day-to-day we try to gather interesting and innovative stories about Lynn Valley but one thing that is often missed are the quiet stories. The good that goes on in our neighborhood everyday – often unnoticed beyond the person or organization helped.  Perhaps it’s an essential worker pushing hard or a volunteer that adapted and pivoted to keep supporting the cause they are passionate about. In 2020, we have seen some spectacular acts.

We have people step up in times of need, 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.


Pillars of the community


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! 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 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 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 2020? 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 info@LynnValleyLife.com before November 23, 2020. 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.

Local helpers for the holidays

With most of BC is being asked to stick close this year, we have put together a group of great local suppliers to make your holiday season special. From indulgent dining to seasonal decor to having the freezer stocked and ready for anything. All three local suppliers have a common thread. All the business began as initiatives to make the community better. 


Indulgence ready


When a Folia grazing box shows up at your door, the day just gets better. The elegant and delicious offerings of Lucy Ana Van Egmond are the perfect way to make a cozy night in all the more special. 

“Grazing is a relaxed style of catering,” said Van Egmond. “There is a variety of meats and cheeses and other food on display and you can eat as you enjoy your evening.” 

As a busy parent, Van Egmond started Folia with fellow Lynn Valley local Robin Shore [they have since gone their separate ways] after successful fundraising evenings for Upper Lynn Elementary. The business has grown and evolved to include Folia’s amazing grazing boxes and pop-up picnics. 

“We have our grazing platters that can be for individuals or small family gatherings,” said Van Egmond. “Or I can come into a business and set up a grazing table. No longer can you have a big party, but we can help you celebrate in a more relaxed way over an afternoon or an evening where people pop in to get a few bites now and then.”

A full events company, Folia offers stunning picnics with everything from flowers to decor all displayed on low tables with warm rugs and comfy cushions. For the holidays, Van Egmond is offering her own family traditions.

“Every Christmas I would take my kids up to Seymour to play in the snow,” she said. “They loved the hot chocolate and fondue.”

That pop-up winter picnic will make this unusual covid holiday season a bit more special, she said. She will also be adding fondue options to her grazing offerings. In addition to the meat and cheese-based boxes, she has options for brunch, dessert as well as vegan and vegetarian boxes. 

“I can accommodate any dietary needs,” said Van Egmond. 

“I try to keep it as local as I can – we have some amazing local cheeses. I am a local business and I try to support local whenever I can. I have formed relationships with local bakeries and suppliers. I try to be as green as possible – most items are compostable and everything in the grazing boxes is edible – the flowers are edible. It is seasonal and done at the last minute so it is fresh and there is little food waste. 

Folia is taking its holiday bookings now and Van Egmond recommends putting orders in as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. She has some offerings available on her website but Van Egmond is also open to unique requests. 


Home ready


When Lynn Valleys Racheal Klausen planted her garden this year the plan was to grow her own plants for floral arrangements. It kicked off a year of planning, learning and making people smile. 

“I started with a self-serve flower cart,” said Klausen, whose business at the time was called Bird of Botanicals. “I saw this could be successful and it pushed me to expand.”

The growing season had a lot going on – for both the plants and Klausen – even with her background as a professional gardener.

“I have learned a lot. It’s a passion for me so I constantly am learning and reading up to expand my understanding,” she said. “I also had a lot of failures – plants I hoped would work didn’t have quite the right soil or didn’t have enough sunlight in my yard. It was a small start and a successful one.”

Now working as Local Flora she is expanding her contacts with other local cut flower growers and doubling down on her commitment to be sustainable. 

“I only use flowers from BC,” she said. “There are no plastics in my arrangements, everything is compostable.”

She has even made use of the local community. This fall Klausen used local Facebook gardening groups to procure flowers and grasses for drying and evergreen items, offering completed arrangements in trade. 

“For the winter season I am putting together some wreaths as well as mixed bunches of local evergreens with a frame so you can do a sort of DIY wreath if you want,” said Klausen. “I also do custom work, people can connect through my website to order garlands or centrepieces.”

Local Flora’s winter offerings will go live Nov. 12. Klausen works on a preorder system, offering pick up or delivery at the end of the week. 


Pantry ready


Born from a desire to help local schools and sports team’s Lynn Valley’s Sisodraker family started a business hoping to help Argyle Secondary’s girls’ soccer team score an international tournament. Selling samosas helped get the students to Hawaii – where they won! – and had the family permanently launch Samosa Fundraising Company.

“We said to ourselves ‘Hey, this serves a community need.’ We could help students get a reasonable return on their time selling and it was an easy program for schools and teams to organize,” said Vibha Sisodraker. 

Since 2019 they have helped numerous local schools and teams.

“We know that students are so talented but sometimes parents can’t afford the extra fee,” said Sisodraker. “This program can help them do that.”

The family also realized that the fundraising program had created new customers who were interested in continuing to purchase their locally made food products.

“An organization isn’t going to run fundraisers one after another,” said Sisodraker. “We wanted people to be able to get our samosas and we wanted to continue to support the community. We wanted to support a charity we have used as a family. Our daughter Ria was born at Lion’s Gate Hospital and during covid, we want to support essential workers. Ordering through our site supports LGH.” 

All of Samosa Fundraising Company’s products come frozen – the perfect pantry staple. The line of food products has recently expanded to include more diverse family favourites like chicken cordon blue and shrimp. The warming spices of Indian food are a partner to the holidays, said Sisodraker. 

“This is the season of chai [tea],” added husband Dharmesh. “It’s a warm soothing type of drink.”

“Indian families always have samosa and chai,” said Sisodraker.

“Many cultures have a pastry with filling – a spring roll is basically a samosa, a Jamaican patty,” said Sisodraker. “Samosas are a great way to dip your toe into Indian comfort foods. Ours are ‘medium’ spicy – we think they are for just about everyone. My favourite is the potato and pea.”

For those new to Indian flavours but wanting to learn more, the family has put together baskets of spices – the perfect pairing with Sisodraker’s new cookbook: The Flavourful Indian – Recipes from My Kitchen. The basket with the book and spices would make a great local gift for any foodie. 

Available through local groups and schools doing fundraisers or directly from the website, these local foods offer easy meals and a dash of community support.


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.

Docu series to showcase North Shore Rescue

When a yellow helicopter flies over Lynn Valley at first light, residents know that some of their neighbours have been spending the night in some dreadful and, likely, dangerous situations trying to help someone’s loved one. This month the volunteers that makeup North Shore Rescue are hitting the small screen. Coming to the Knowledge Network November 10 (on cable and online) Peg Leg Films’ Search and Rescue: North Shore will share the commitment of those volunteers in a five-part series.


Investing time


Peg Leg Films’ most recent project is a follow-up up to their past success with outdoor films. As creators of 2018’s This Mountain Life, producer, director, and cinematographer Grant Baldwin brought along fellow cinematographer Ian Christie to complete a year-long project embedded with North Shore Rescue. 

“They gave us full access,” said Baldwin. “Every call we did with them. Our skills improved and we practiced alongside them.” 

Just like the volunteers they were chronicling Baldwin and Christie became experts in on the fly decisions. They drew on their extensive outdoor experience and relied on each other’s strengths to capture the best film.

“As the year progressed we improved our teamwork, we figured out who should go in on foot and who should stay back and fly with the helicopter,” he said. “We also made some bad calls. There are some rescues with interesting stories but didn’t make the cut because we didn’t capture them well.”

A conversation with Baldwin reveals a deep respect for the volunteers and the commitment they make to help others. 

“Whoever volunteers for the team, goes in knowing it is not an individual commitment – it’s a whole family commitment,” says Baldwin. “We were filming the SAR manager at home on Thanksgiving and getting ready to go on a walk to talk about that. Then a call comes in and off we go. It’s hard on the people at home. The husbands and wives have to be just as committed.

“It struck me after a really long call. It was hard work, we had spent all night waiting in the bush and I was tired. I was thankful this was my job [filming]. These guys were going to head home, get dry, and head out for a full day of work.”


Teamwork


A year spent with the North Shore Rescue team, left and lasting impact on Baldwin and Christie. 

“There is so much camaraderie in the group – that is why people do this for more than 30 years,” said Baldwin. “When we finished we realized how much we missed these people. You learn a lot about each other sitting in the bush waiting for sunrise, there is a lot of opportunity to talk and make connections. These are intense experiences and they support each other so well.”

One very public example of this was the support of the Piggot family, said Baldwin. Jay Piggot was an ambulance paramedic and North Shore Rescue volunteer who passed away from cancer in 2017. The team organized everything from fundraisers to taking care of holiday preparations for the family. 

The two filmmakers were deeply affected by their time on the project, so much so they have officially joined as resource support to missing persons cases bringing their drone skills to the search team, said Baldwin.


Lessons learned


North Shore Rescue can be quite public with some of its work, but so much goes on behind the scenes, Baldwin hopes the project shares that side of the team. 

“We know the high volume of calls the team gets, those numbers would be even higher. Instead, NSR has made decisions to help mitigate those calls,” said Baldwin. “They could see the escalating trend of calls on the Grouse Grind, so they organized a nightly sweep – every night two members walk down the trail to guide those stuck after dark. That simple idea reduced calls significantly.”

Baldwin says he learned a lot about the people NSR gets called out to rescue.

“I think most people think it’s just a bunch of stupid people in poor footwear – they roll and ankle, or fall and hit their head,” said Baldwin. “But a lot of the calls could happen to anybody at any time.”

Following the team for a year exposed Baldwin to difficult calls that don’t make the news. 

“They deal with calls where the people don’t want to come home, they don’t want to be found,” he said. “That is so hard. It was hardest to film the people we didn’t find or who passed away. We want to show that respectfully but not shy away. That is an experience these volunteers take home. We saw that the information NSR provides families about their loved one – where they were, how their last day likely went –  was very important.”

Another take away he hopes viewers leave with is a new respect for the pilots.

“Strictly speaking the helicopter pilots aren’t members of NSR, but they are being trusted with their lives,” said Baldwin. “The terrain is tricky back there and they are so skilled. I was amazed to see them work. We look at the mountains and see all the trees, but it’s really piles of jagged, gnarly rock. 

“I hope the series doesn’t scare people out of the backcountry, I hope it shows the beauty of the place and the people that work there and that will inspire people to enjoy it.”

Search and Rescue: North Shore debuts Nov. 10th on Knowledge Network at 9 p.m. and can also be streamed online. Peg Leg Films next project returns again to the mountains – this time inside. They are currently documenting a project on caving. 


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.

Growing community celebration

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

And now – we celebrate! 


Virtual Fall Fair


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

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

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

Send us your photos in one of these categories.

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

Here is how you do it:

Pick ONE entry per category.

Put the category in the subject of the email.

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

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

Deadline Sept. 30, 2020.

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


Looking for more?


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

The mystery trail artist of Lynn Valley

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


The joy of chainsaws


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

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

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

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

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

“Obviously I am working on dead trees.” 


Local inspiration


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

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


Living a dream


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Looking for more?


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