West Vancouver Beacon | September/October 2023 | Edition 58

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Our first edition 10 years ago

Ten years ago, we decided it was time to showcase the incredible people, events, and natural beauty of our community. We were told our dream was silly. People with more experience, more know-how in the publishing industry, more skill, said it would never work.

But the thing about dreamers is that “little” things like logic, reality, and roadblocks are simply minor inconveniences. So we did it anyway.

In September 2013, our first edition - with no name - arrived at 500 homes in the Caulfeild area. This, the 58th edition, will be delivered to over 5000 homes between Dundarave and Lions Bay. All editions are now online too, reaching a much greater readership than we ever imagined.

We thank our many contributing writers, loyal advertisers and supportive readers for making these 10 years possible. We could not have done it without all of you.

Chris, Lindy, Penny, Melissa

Shedding light on the communities from Lions Bay to Dundarave
CANADIAN FITNESS PG 3 IN THIS ISSUE BE ACON THE the penny mitchell group penn y & stephanie mitchell 604 - 816 -7825 • 604 - 812 - 7158 penn ymitchellgroup@gmail.com TM
We are grateful to live and work on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples.


Lindy Pfeil Editor lindypfeil @westvanbeacon.ca

Penny Mitchell Promotions

pennymitchell @westvanbeacon.ca


Please note that all contributing writers for The Beacon retain full rights and that the full or partial reproduction of feature articles is unauthorized without the consent of the author. Personal opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed are solely those of the respective contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Beacon, the publisher or the editorial and creative staff.

Submissions for The Beacon

The Beacon is delivered bi-monthly to 5000+ households between Lions Bay and Dundarave. For submission guidelines and queries, please e-mail the Editor: lindypfeil@ westvanbeacon.ca

Please note that all submissions are subject to space constraints and editing. For advertising queries, please e-mail the Director of Marketing: pennymitchell@westvanbeacon.ca

For all other queries, please e-mail the Publisher: chrisstringer@westvanbeacon.ca

All editions of The Beacon (beginning in September 2013), can also be read online at: www.westvanbeacon.ca.

Leave a legacy and change the world

“From the moment we are born, we are involved in the creation of the story of our time here. It is what we arrive with. It is all we leave behind,” said award-winning Ojibwe Canadian author and journalist, Richard Wagamese. “We are story. All of us. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together.”

It was in this spirit, three years ago, that 23 West Vancouveri tes between the ages of 16 and 80-plus, met online to share stories of love, loss, friendship, fear, and hope. A West Vancouver Foundation Small Neighbourhood Grant enabled us to write, edit and publish a book of community stories. We were in the midst of a global pandemic – confusing, scary, uncertain times.

West Vancouver Stories: The Pandemic Project became an Amazon bestseller, making bestselling authors of all the participants, many of whom had no prior writing experience. But the book itself was really only a by-

product. The process – gathering, writing, reading, sharing, building community – that was the focus. And while bestseller status is fun, it’s the relationships kindled and friendships made during the project that are, without a doubt, the most satisfying.

ally edited and published, and each writer will receive a copy of the book – a snapshot of contemporary North Shore life. A legacy for future generations. The book will launch in early 2024 with a celebration at the library. Perhaps with a new group of bestselling authors.

Thanks to another Small Neighbourhood Grant, West Vancouver Stories: The Post-Pandemic Project launches with a meet-andgreet at West Vancouver Memorial Library on Thursday, October 19 from 6-7:30pm. This will be an opportunity to meet the writers from The Pandemic Project, hear some of their stories, and find out about the next project.

There will be three in-person writing sessions at the library (November 2, 9 and 16 from 6-7:30pm), and these will provide strategies and tips to help participants write stories about family, community, and home. The stories will be profession-

Anyone who lives, works, studies, or plays in West Vancouver, is invited to participate. There is no fee, but registration is required (go to the events page at westvanlibrary.ca). Or call the library at 604-925-7403, or email info@ westvanlibrary.ca to register. You do not need any writing experience to participate. Visit westvancouverstories.com to read about the previous project, its participants, and the writing/publishing process.

When we share our stories, Richard Wagamese reminds us, “we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship – we change the world, one story at a time…”

So let’s write some stories and change the world. Together.

PAGE 2 September/October 2023
If you are not receiving home delivery of The Beacon please let us know at chrisstringer@westvanbeacon.ca
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“Stories create community, enable us to see through the eyes of other people, and open us to the claims of others.” - Peter Forbes

Can Canada become the fittest nation on earth?

It all began in 2010 at a public forum before the 2010 Olympics, when Nancy Greene Raine joined me in posing the question: “What should be the legacy of these games?”

The looming crisis of sedentary health beleaguered the nation. Little did we know that things would only get worse. Sedentary behavior? It sounds so banal, doesn’t it? How does that stack up against acute healthcare problems? What about the fentanyl crisis? Housing? Suicide? Inflation?

It was becoming increasingly obvious that these major headline-grabbing problems could not be effectively tackled unless

active citizens retained the capacity to operate effectively, yet the health and fitness of individuals was steadily eroding.

Ominous trends kept worsening – obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, loneliness, outdoor deprivation, mental illness, depression and associated skyrocketing healthcare costs.

The country needed an initiative. Hence, National Health and Fitness Day.

Over time, some 500 communities in Canada proclaimed the first Saturday in June as a day to promote healthy physical activity. Next was Bike Day on the Hill, Swim Day and Ski Day. MPs from different parties ran and swam together, acting as role models for physical activity. Bill S-411 passed to ensure that National Health and Fitness Day would remain in perpetuity.

But these were all ceremonial steps that

could not measurably improve the physical, mental or spiritual health of Canadians. And so, the Canadian Health and Fitness Institute initiative was launched in 2017. The charitable foundation’s mandate was to “Make Canada the Fittest Nation on Earth by 2030.”

We just pulled off our biggest project ever, getting 24,000 participants to log 400,000 hours of physical activity in June. We’re also aiming to build a powerful digital platform to engage West Vancouver and other communities, and catalyze a hut-tohut trail system to get Canadians outdoors and moving in concert with one another.

To get involved in this initiative, please visit CHFI.fit where you can connect with the many talented volunteer leaders. There are opportunities to donate, become a sponsor, volunteer your time, or become a board member.

“On behalf of all of us on council, I would like to extend our most sincere thanks to Chris Stringer and his wonderful team for creating and keeping the West Vancouver Beacon in circulation. It provides not only accurate, useful information and stories, but is helping to build an even better community.”

We live in such a beautiful place. Invite someone to walk, run, paddle or bike with you. You’ll feel good, have some fun and help CHFI work towards its goal to make Canada the fittest nation on earth by 2030.

September/October 2023 PAGE 3
Photo provided John with Canadian Olympic Committee vicepresident, Andrew Baker. In Ottawa on National Health and Fitness Day, a John Weston initiative.
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Navvy Jack and remembering Tom Dodd

Three years ago, the District of West Vancouver’s Heritage Advisory Committee was advised of council’s decision to demolish Navvy Jack House. Members of the committee, West Vancouver Historical Society, and community members including the Squamish Nation, came together to propose that this decision be paused. The pause would enable reconsideration of the plan to demolish West Vancouver’s oldest building and the community’s earliest settler residence.

We have lost a friend

We are saddened by the loss of Tom Dodd who passed away on July 4, after an active battle with cancer. Tom was an admired colleague with whom a personal friendship developed over the course of 25 years.

Tom’s vast range of skills and interests were the result of his fertile, curious mind. This led to an entrepreneurial life as a hightech leader, real estate marketing trainer, hands-on home builder and skilled artisan. A community leader with a passion for making a difference, he was also a writer, and over the past decade, he graciously contributed to The Beacon Sue and the family are in the thoughts and hearts of all at The Beacon.

Council agreed to the pause. The Navvy Jack House Citizens Group, comprising representation from the committee, the society, and the community, was created, and led the charge to turn that decision around.

Within six weeks, in time for the September 2020 Council meeting, the group prepared a report presenting a number of compelling arguments to retain and restore the house as a functioning, contributing community asset.

These included, as noted, the age of the house, and its place in the community. The house construction is notable as well, built of first growth North Shore timber, in the ‘balloon’ style common in the Lower Mainland

during the late 19th century and exceedingly rare today.

The house was home to John Thomas, his wife Sla-wiya of the Squamish Nation, and their children, an early union of Indigenous residents and settler newcomers. Their descendants live in the Lower Mainland to this day.

Thomas, known as ‘Navvy Jack,’ was active during a pivotal time in our history. It is on record that Thomas prospected for gold in Barkerville. Subsequent research indicates the quest for gold led him on some extreme treks in the wilds of what would become British Columbia.

Closer to home, Thomas operated a ferry service from the North Shore. An entrepreneur, he owned part of a hotel in the new city growing across Burrard Inlet. He mined and sold a specific mix of gravel to the builders of the city. The gravel, still used today in construction, is known as ‘Navvy Jack.’

At the July 24 council meeting, Mayor Mark Sager made the welcome announcement that the district was close to completing negotiations with a lead donor/proponent. Since that meeting, the negotiation has been completed and the restoration of Navvy Jack House approved.

In return for a major contribution to the capital costs of renovation and repurposing, a long-term lease to operate a coffee shop will be in place. Work at Navvy Jack House is expected to begin later this year. Additional information about the project will be provided at the September meeting of council.

While the fact that the project is moving forward is reason to celebrate, it is with great sadness that we report the loss of a member of the Citizens Group.

Tom Dodd died on July 4, before he could

be told of this major milestone towards the future of Navvy Jack House, to which he contributed so much.

Tom was a well-known and well-liked resident of West Vancouver. He was a man with the gift of friendship, and an artist in working with wood. In his public life, Tom stood for council, and more recently led the district’s Neighbourhood Character Working Group. Its work led to by-laws aimed at reducing the bulk of new homes and encouraging renovation and infill housing in West Vancouver.

For over three years, Tom played a key role in the community-led effort to preserve and restore this significant local landmark. He will be missed by those who knew him, not least by his colleagues on the Navvy Jack House Citizens Group. Our thoughts are with his partner, Sue Daniel, and with their family. We will remember Tom Dodd as the process of restoring and repurposing Navvy Jack House moves forward.

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Photo: courtesy of Brenda Clark A rendering of what Navvy Jack House may look like when restored. Tom the artisan. Photo: Chris Stringer


Murder and the mistral

February, as the medical profession would say in its quaint circumlocutory way, was contraindicated as the ideal month to visit Provence.

Two days after we arrived, we decided to visit Toulon on a shopping expedition. The weather was odd: overcast, cool and windy, it carried an oppressive quality that seemed to drive everyone into a state of edgy depression. The locals were uniformly surly when addressed. The postman answered our thanks for the mail with a sullen growl, normally the speciality of Parisian waiters. The usual cheerfulness of the natives of Provence was strangely missing.

Arriving in Toulon, we fed a parking metre with enough euros to last till after lunch and set off on our shopping spree. There was no rain, but the wind was, by my estimate, gale force: somewhere in excess of 60 miles an hour. We had to be careful crossing the roads for fear of being blown over and at times we grasped railings for support. None of the inhabitants seemed to be paying much attention.

We espied an appealing looking art gallery and went inside to find some shelter. An attractive middle aged French woman greeted us and bade us take our time to look around. I mentioned that it seemed to be very windy. She shrugged, “Ah, oui,” but made no other comment. Several paintings were tempting, but beyond our means, so we said au revoir and walked further down the hilly street to the sea front, poking about the shops along the way.

Toulon is France’s Mediterranean naval base and a sizeable collection of sea grey

warships was berthed in a dockyard surrounded by a formidable fence, guarded by a platoon of intimidating “flics”, all armed with what looked like assault rifles. There was no way that we were going to be allowed a closer look at the French fleet.

The Romans originally established a signal station in the bay of Toulon and Henry IV founded the naval arsenal in the late sixteenth century. In 1940 the bulk of the French fleet was concentrated in Toulon under the command of the Vichy government. In 1942 the Allies invaded North Africa, which provoked the Germans into occupying Vichy France. The Wehrmacht attempted to seize the French fleet, which would have been a serious disaster for the Allies had they succeeded. Admiral Laborde took matters into his own hands and ordered all 72 ships to be scuttled.

The old town was largely destroyed during the war, leaving just a few tantalizingly quaint 17th century portions and much architecture dating from Napoleonic times. Its industries, warfare apart, consist mostly of fishing and, of course, making wine.

On the waterfront the wind battered everything with full force, unhampered by the buildings through which we had threaded our way to the harbour. Except for the vast expanse of La Place de La Victore, the gale had not troubled us all that much until we reached this great square. It would have comfortably accommodated a dozen rugby fields. The wind, which was out of the north, dipped over the tall official looking buildings standing at its north end and whipped with vicious force across its expanse, gust-

ing round the stone cherubim in the granite pools that decorated the northerly end.

At the southeast corner, a newspaper vendor was bravely defending his kiosk against the unwelcome gale. His papers and magazines, tethered by a variety of bulldog clips and pieces of string, flapped about wildly. Some occasionally sprung loose and whirled across the road scrumpling up in corners and doorways where the eddies corralled them. Monsieur le vendor made no attempt to retrieve them: it would have been futile.

There was a surprisingly big fleet of sailboats in a vast marina next to the naval base. The wind roared through the rigging and this collection of craft gave off a highpitched whine accompanied by a percus-

“The amazing Beacon newspaper celebrates our community, showcasing stories of fascinating people and events. It shines a light, enlivening community pride.”

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sion of lines flapping against the masts. The water was churning in an ugly chop. The flags still tethered to flagpoles stood out at right angles, shuddering violently in the wind. Without doubt, none would last till sunset.

We were at first puzzled that none of the good citizens of Toulon seemed to be paying any attention to this gale. A wind like this in London, Vancouver or Williams Lake would have sent its inhabitants into a

See page 6

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Mistral at Frioul, near Marseilles. Photo provided

The wobblies

Iused to be nimble as a squirrel. I climbed trees, hopped across river stones, and even won the three-legged race with mum at Sports Day – dragging her to victory!

Recently, I’m like one of those Monty Python Funny Walking videos. My legs sometimes refuse to agree on the direction in which they’re heading. Racing to the community center for gym, I try to stick to the center of the sidewalk. But suddenly, I find myself taking a quick skitter to the right. Or left. I have to correct course and get back online. Which can be confusing to people behind me. What’s causing this lack of balance? A recent tumble from an elevator that stopped short, about 18 inches above floor-level? Former injuries? Aging? All of the above?

Not wishing to alarm my longtime doctor, I tried self-help first.

An experiment with a balance class flopped. None of the students seemed prone to Funny Walking. A series of heeltoe walks, first forwards then backwards, threatened to lay me out like a rug. They performed it like a well-oiled chorus line. Tai Chi, or anything requiring standing on one leg with arms reaching for the sky, was also challenging. What to do?

The answer was at hand: aquafit!

In aquafit, many exercises are good for balance. Including standing on one leg. The difference is, should you fall over or get the wobblies, the worst that can happen is that you’ll get totally wet. So what? That’s what

Blame the mistral for murder

Continued from page 5

panic and greatly excited the media. It finally dawned on us: this was not an unusual event for Toulon. It was, in fact, a mistral. They occur with some frequency in the winter and people are so used to them that they simply pay no attention. Over the centuries, the city has been arranged so that the wind fails to cause any damage. In the little square in front of the opera house, people were sitting at outside tables, drinking coffee and aperitifs as if it were a balmy summer’s day.

The mistral is one of the seven great winds of the Mediterranean. A dangerous

swell can get up in a surprisingly short time. Yachtsmen have to be cautious about sailing more than a day’s distance from land.

The mistral originates on the western slopes of the Swiss Alps. When the air cools over the mountains in the presence of high pressure, it slides down the Alps into France, gathering speed across Burgundy until it encounters the Rhone Valley at Lyons. Then it veers south: the venturi effect causing it to accelerate down the valley, a funnelling effect that results in gale force speeds approaching 90 miles an hour. The Rhone debouches into the Mediterranean at Marseilles, but the mistral spreads out in a delta of wind from Montelimar in the

we’re there for!

So, I’m focusing on aquafit classes. Three times a week. Do I still have the wobblies? Yes. It’s early days. But I’m encouraged. I got to the community center without a sin-

gle skitter last week. Now that’s something to celebrate!

At this stage of life, I don’t have to be able to do line dancing. Getting from point A to B without wobblies is joy enough. Yee-haw!

west to Toulon in the east. It cools over the mountains, becoming denser than the warm air below and slides downwards, gathering speed as it falls. It is cold, fierce, and relentless.

The mistral we encountered lasted three days, but the locals told us that they can last up to five days. Five days of incessant gales have a serious psychological impact.

In France, the influence of the mistral constitutes a genuine defence to crimes, even murder. This was why our postman had been so uncustomarily rude.

If you are intent on buying a holiday cottage in France, try the River Lot instead, or the sunny climes of the Loire.

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Photo provided Bell Tower La Cadiere d’Azur Provence France.

Christa Bortignon: Still breaking records

The past few months have been busy for West Vancouver masters athlete, Christa Bortignon. In March, she received the 2023 North Shore Sports Award: Lifetime Achievement in Sport.

At the BC Athletics Masters Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Kelowna, at the end of June, she broke her world record of 6.35m in the triple jump with a new distance of 6.52m.

“I also broke the long jump with a distance of 3.08, but the wind was too high

for a new world record,” Christa explains. She added gold medals in the 100m with a time of 19.22, and the 200m with a time of 41.94. This was followed by the Washington State Senior Games on July 22, where she won 8 gold medals and set 8 new meet records.

“For the first time since starting track and field I completed 8 events in one day: discus, 200m, long jump, standing long jump, 50m, 100m, triple jump and shot put,” Christa says. “I also won #600 in my medal count since starting to compete in 2009.”

Next up was the Canadian Masters Track & Field Championships from Au-

Estate planning basics

When it comes to estate planning, there are essentially six ways to pass on your property to your heirs or successors after death.

• If you don’t have a will, or your will is invalid, Part 3 of the BC Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA) will provide a one-sizefits-all prescribed will. While practical, it most likely will not provide a satisfying result for anything remotely complex or creative.

• Designating beneficiaries on life insurance policies, pension plans, TFSAs and RRSP/

RRIFs directs those funds directly to the intended persons, bypassing your will.

• Joint ownership provides an estate transfer to a joint owner also bypassing your estate. There are many variations with potential traps, so be sure you get legal advice before registering property in this way.

• If you wish to leave assets to heirs who may not be able to manage them, an inter-vivos (trust established during your lifetime) or testamentary trust (a trust that is created by your will after death) can be an effective

gust 11 to 13, in Langley.

“It was a great weekend in spite of the heat. I won seven events in my age group W85: 100m, 200m, long jump, triple jump, shot put, javelin and discus. The long jump of 3.08m is a world record. I hold the current world record with 3.03m from last year. My 100m time of 18.24 was just short of my world record of 18.14, and my 200m time of 40.94 was a bit slower than my world record of 40.20.”

To top off her achievements, Christa received the Olga Kotelko Award for Best Individual Field Events Athlete of the Year, male or female.

Congratulations Christa. You continue to be an inspiration.

vehicle. An insurance-based life annuity can also function in this way.

• A partnership or shareholder agreement can effectively transfer your interests in a partnership or corporation to a successor.

• Finally, your will can direct the distribution of assets remaining in your estate (not already bypassing the estate). While simple do-it-yourself will kits can be purchased inexpensively, it is advisable to have your will designed and drafted by a legal practitioner familiar with BC estate law. You may also

choose to have an additional will to deal exclusively with property in another country or province.

If you haven’t reviewed your will in recent memory, maybe its time to find and review it. Make sure your executor knows where it is. This goes for powers of attorney and representation agreements as well.

September/October 2023 PAGE 7
“Congratulations to The Beacon and its staff for chronicling the wonderful community of West Vancouver over an eventful decade.” Francis Mansbridge Photos: courtesy of Attilio Bortignon Christa’s world record 3.08m long jump in Surrey at the Canadian Masters Athletics Outdoor Championships in August. Michael Berton is a retired senior financial planner living on the North Shore. MICHAEL BERTON DOLLARS AND SENSE
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The 100m dash in Kelowna.

Get to know local heroes: RCMSAR Station 1

Looking out at the vast mountains and ocean beyond Horseshoe Bay, it is difficult to miss the bright red shed at the end of the wharf and the or ange Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCM SAR) Station 1 boats.

While visitors to the area may not give it a second thought, those boats, and the large crew of locals who operate them, are integral for guaranteeing their safety on the ocean.

The station was founded in 1987, is run entirely by volun teers, and is independently funded through donations.

Training Officer Kevin Faw and Coxswain Joshua Lepin (an easy interviewee, as he is my father) provide insight into the goingson of the station and their nine and ten-year commitments to it, respectively.

When asked what the most rewarding aspect of RCMSAR is, Lepin answers: “The comradery, the educational aspects of it, (and) making a difference to someone who’s having a bad day.”

Faw agrees, adding, “The feeling of serving your community shoulder-to-shoulder with your neighbours.”

RCMSAR crew members can be as young as 16 years old, the only prerequisite being a physical test. Crew members can be no further than 15 minutes away when on-call, including weeknight shifts, from

Once recruited, new trainees must complete first aid certifications, classroomstyle lessons, and on-boat training. After achieving the necessary number of training hours, recruits can then be called out for mis-

Faw and Lepin both emphasize that being on RCMSAR is a significant time commitment, and potential applicants must be prepared to perform a variety of tasks for the organization. A crew member at the most basic level invests a minimum of 10 hours each month, as well as committing at least one in every five weekends to being on-call.

While individual teams of four to five members will be on-call at their allocated times, the entire station meets or trains on Wednesday evenings. There is significant potential to climb the ranks within RCMSAR.

Faw and Lepin agree that the most significant struggle within the station is finding funding. They compare themselves to North

Shore Search and Rescue, who can be followed by the community, observed online, and even encountered face-to-face. All of this increases awareness and therefore, funding.

“The challenge we have is that no one sees what we do,” says Faw.

He emphasizes that most rescue missions are completed in under an hour, and these rescues are only witnessed by other boaters. This decreases during harsh weather and storms.

“The elements that we deal with are uninhabitable.”

Station 1 finds most of its funding by hosting fundraiser events like the annual Dinner on the Dock, and engages with the community through outreach such as delivering Santa Claus to the Bay’s Christmas bonfire on the beach every December.

Faw says: “You actually do make a difference in people’s lives, with varying degrees of drama.”

Station 1 will be accepting new recruits for 2024. If readers would like to get involved by becoming a member of the station’s support crew (a position in which you assist at community events and attend meetings) the station can be contacted via the “Contact Us” page on their website. Being independently funded, supporters can also help RCMSAR 1 through donations, a link to which is also available on their website.

Rose Lepin is entering her second year of her Bachelor of Media Studies degree at UBC. She has been a contributor to The Beacon for six years. When not studying, she can be found singing in UBC’s Eh? Capella or writing poetry on her blog, Map of Madness. Rose is a recipient of the Ted Rogers Future Leader Scholarship, in part for her contributions to The Beacon.

PAGE 8 September/October 2023
Lepin and his crew with the station’s Type 1 boat. Photos: courtesy of Joshua Lepin
the Banfield Coastguard Base on Vancouver Island in 2019.

When a short stop becomes forever

Short stops sometimes change a person’s life. This was the case for Noreen Wilson, who left Australia in August 1956 with a friend. For years, travelling and exploring has been a rite of passage for many young Australians and New Zealanders. Noreen and her friend were set to continue that tradition.

Vancouver was to be the first stop on their around the world trip. Europe was going to be next. But Noreen’s plans changed when she met Lorne. He showed them around the city in his new baby blue Ford. When her friend continued on her travels, Noreen stayed, and in 1957 she and Lorne were married.

Noreen and Lorne lived in Horseshoe Bay for many years. They did eventually visit Europe, but it took a long time before they got there. In 2012, for a Westerner article, Noreen shared stories from their wonderful trip in the 1980s. Sadly Noreen and Lorne are no longer with us.

Recently, I learned about another short

step-up from reading in the rest of the Lower Mainland. Dave did not have a driver’s licence and he needed a car to get around West Vancouver, so the company paid for his driving lessons. Upon passing his road test he was able to book out a car from the company’s fleet for his daily drive.

Dave’s West Vancouver route included Horseshoe Bay. He remembers climbing Telegraph “mountain” 65 years ago to eat his packed sandwich lunch and marveling that such a beautiful place existed. He decided that one day he would move to Horseshoe Bay. It took 20 years, but he says the wait was worth it as he had the opportunity of buying into a partnership which purchased the Troller Pub.

He was ecstatic. He’d always dreamed of owning a pub. And he was now part owner of a pub in the loveliest spot in BC. Could it get any better? Well, yes!

Browsing through old notebooks recently, Dave came across the locations of the meters he had once read. One was in Bruce Street. At the time, he possibly didn’t notice the 15-year-old girl sitting on the steps of 6458 Bruce Street. How was he to know that 22 years later he’d meet her, marry her, buy the family home and live happily ever after?

Looking back, Dave says the meter reading job was probably the best thing that happened to him in his long and wonderful

Thank you to the late Noreen Wilson for chatting to me back in 2021 and thank you to Dave Patrick for sharing his story.

September/October 2023 PAGE 9
Photo: courtesy of Noreen Wilson Noreen and Lorne in front of The Bay Groceteria in 1956, where Community Spirits Liquor Store is now. In the background is the Home Gas station and the original Troll’s Restaurant. 6458 Bruce Street, circa 1950s.
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Daisy chains and maple games

The driveway is littered with seeds from bigleaf ma ples, and I can’t resist the urge to toss a few high in the air. They twirl back down like tiny helicopters and drift sideways to land a fair distance from my feet. It’s a perfect demonstration of the tree’s strategy to send its progeny out from under its skirts, and it’s also a childishly simple game that never fails to entertain me.

Obviously, I amuse easily. I’m still tempted to tell the time of day by puffing on dandelion clocks – unreliable as they may be. Equally uncertain were the daisy petals that we used to pull off one by one to discover if he loved me or loved me not. Daisy chains were also part of every spring ritual.

In summer, we turned snapdragon flowers into talking puppets and we held buttercups under our chins to prove that we really did like butter. In fall, we battled with

conkers, the big horse-chestnut seeds as glossy as polished mahogany, which we pried from their prickly green cases and hung from strings. In between times, we played ‘house’ or ‘shop’ with hollyhock seeds for donuts, poppy seed heads for pepper pots and berries for currency.

Our daughter-in-law has told me that as a child in Venezuela, she played ‘house’ by laying out the long narrow leaves of bamboo to sketch out rooms and buildings. Indigenous children on this coast make drinking cups from twisted salal leaves, or they play palapala by pulling single leaflets from a sword fern while holding their breath and saying pala between each one.

I used to assume that youngsters all over the world would always entertain themselves with nature’s toys. It seems I was wrong. As long ago as 2005, Richard Louv’s

book Last Child in the Woods duced the term nature deficit to describe how children were miss ing out by spending less time outdoors. Shortly afterwards, the Oxford Junior Dictionary removed many nature-related words in favour of more up-to-date terms such as blog and chatroom because, as the head of children’s dictionaries at the Oxford University Press explained, while many children “used to live in semi-rural environments and saw the seasons,” that was no longer the case. Buttercup and dandelion were banished from the dictionary’s pages. Horse-chestnut and conker were eliminated and even maple disappeared.

I was shocked to hear about the missing words. Had children really lost touch with the seasons and with the natural world?

Looking back at my own childhood I wondered how we learned to amuse ourselves with nothing more than twigs and leaves, seeds and flowers. Were these games our own inventions or had we absorbed them from older peers or from our parents?

I do remember that my grandfather showed me how to make a blade of ryegrass squeal by holding it tightly between my thumbs, and how, with a penknife, I could fashion a simple whistle from the hollow stem of an elderberry twig. I didn’t realize at the time, of course, that ryegrass and elderberry were becoming part of my vocabulary.

I began to wonder about my own grandchildren. Had they spent enough time playing outdoors? Had I helped? Had we tasted

miniature mice that bury their heads in a Douglas-fir cone? Had I shown them how to turn the three-part leaf of a salmonberry into a butterfly by removing its top leaflet, or how to find the small people who clutch the sides of their bathtubs in the flowers of the Asian bleeding heart?

All this fun, this pretending, experimenting, and tasting may seem trivial, but it isn’t. Isn’t it the daisy chains and maple helicopters of the natural world that start us on the path to caring for it?

PAGE 10 September/October 2023 PETTIT AND COMPANY* TRIAL LAWYERS 301-2609 Westview Drive, North Vancouver P. 604.998.0901 | www.pettitandco.com * Services provided through a law corporation. Personal Injury | Property Disputes | Employment Law Construction Litigation | Human Rights | Disability Claims Family Law | Strata Litigation
“I’d like to congratulate The Beacon on 10 years of community building. It is commendable that the Beacon focuses on relaying stories of all the great people, initiatives and history in our district. Endless content! We appreciate all your dedicated contributors and wish you another 10 years of success.’”
Sharon Thompson, District of West Vancouver

Colours will soon be blazing

With the heat of summer toning down, many perennials are showing their best and soon shrubs and trees will be ablaze with colour!

• As always, I highly recommend aerating your lawn now (in addition to spring) applying a thin layer of turf mix top dressing and overseeding generously as the cooler weather is better for seed germination. Doing this twice a year will help keep your lawn thick. Water frequently till seed germination.

• Grow garlic! Planted in mid October to early November, you can harvest this bulb mid to late July. I don’t recommend using store bought bulbs – they may have been treated. Rather buy from our local nurseries. Place pointy end up 8 inches apart and about 6 inches deep. Cut ‘scapes off in late spring so that energy is saved to the bulb below.

• Visit nurseries now to check out the early arrival of spring bulbs that can be planted now through November. Plant them 2.5 times the length of the bulb, in groups of 25, ‘shoulder to shoulder.’ This method makes a great showing when the groups are randomly planted. Maybe plant a few indoors for early blooming.

• Keep deadheading your annuals and perennials. You might want to save the seed pods to plant later.

• Clear beds of annuals now and add to your compost pile.

• Take up dahlias and gladioli and store them in a cool dry place.

• As perennials lose their lustre this is a good time to lift them to relocate or divide them.

• October is also a great time to select and plant new shrubs and ornamental trees when the soil is cool

with low risk of shock to the plant. Some of the most rewarding are Acer palmatums: Osakazuki or Seiryu, Magnolia ‘Elizabeth and Galaxy’ or try Camellia ‘Yuletide’ – it blooms at Christmas.

• Lightly prune spent rose blossoms. Collect all the dropped leaves and destroy; do not compost.

• Keep your lawn free of leaves and give a final light winter fertilize and apply dolomite lime but two weeks apart.

• A favourite plant at this time is Euonymus Alatus ‘Compactus’ also known as Burning Bush. It is a brilliant red in early fall.

For information contact Karen Harrison at 604.290.2050

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Join the fun at PumpkinFest

Attending local festivals with my family is, without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a day. It creates special memories that connect us as a family to our community.

I still remember, with much happiness, the festivals I enjoyed as a child, with my parents at a religious temple deep in the mountains: the intriguing lion dance; kind bald-headed monks; the soothing sound of crickets; delicious vegetarian cuisine and the beautiful colours of traditional attire.

Next time you are at a festival, take a moment to notice the aura of happiness hovering around people.

PumpkinFest, one of my family’s favou-

rite events, celebrates harvest season and Thanksgiving. Harvest festivals give appreciation for the blessing of bountiful food. PumpkinFest offers food, fun activities, and entertainment for all ages. It is the biggest fundraising event hosted by Enhance West Vancouver, which supports programs at the West Vancouver Community Center, Aquatic Center and Ice Arena.

The event takes place this year on Sunday, October 15, from 10am to 2pm at the West Vancouver Community Center. Admission is free.

Pony rides and petting farm time slots will be available for purchase in mid-September. Purchasing tickets for this ahead of time is highly recommended as it sells out fast. BBQ,

cotton candy and popcorn sales will start at 10am.

Local school groups, the West Vancouver youth band and other community groups will provide entertainment.

For more information, to attend this family-friendly fun event and support our community, visit enhancewestvan.ca. My family and I hope to see you there.

Please contact Jini at communitykids tbwv@gmail.com if you have an exciting event(s) kids can enjoy with their parents, grandparents and guardians.

“The Beacon is so aptly named and appreciated in West Vancouver on many levels. For a decade, it has been an enlightening source of information, inspiration, entertainment, and reflection. Local stories of our people, and our place in the world matter now more than ever because they remind us of our humanity, our diversity and our blessings. Congratulations to all those who have made it a success!”

PAGE 12 September/October 2023 2 bed | 2 bath | 1136 square feet $1,699,000
203-768 ARTHUR ERICKSON PLACE Evelyn is close to it all! Shopping, restaurants, beaches, parks & trails. This very roomy, freshly updated 2 bedrooms & den condo has a wrap-around terrace, an open kitchen concept, oor-to-ceiling windows, elegant master bedroom with en-suite and Savant Home Tech System. Interior features include sub-zero fridge, Miele gas cooktop and convection wall oven, granite countertops and wide plank engineered oak hardwood ooring throughout. Evelyn also comes with a fully equipped Wellness Centre with a spa & sauna room for your pleasure throughout the year! Photo: Jini Park Ema and Mr. Scarecrow enjoying PumpkinFest a few years ago.

New leadership at St. Francis-in-the-Wood

St. Francis-in-the-Wood has a new rector.

It’s been two years since the retirement of Rev. Angus Stuart, and the St. Francis community is thrilled to welcome Rev. Alex Wilson (as of August 1). Alex was previously vicar of St. Anselm’s church at UBC for seven years. He received his undergraduate degree in sociology and anthropology from SFU in 2012 before attending Trinity College in Toronto, attaining his master’s in divinity Honours, in 2015.

For Alex, the church is a place of questioning, community, and inclusivity. He brings a youthful energy that will complement the vibrant programming introduced by music director, Karen Lee-Morlang, this past year.

Since its inauguration on January 1, 1928, St. Francis-in-the-Wood has been led by 10 rectors. As the eleventh, Alex is looking forward to moving the church into its second century with vitality and vision.

Being part of a community, like the church, “was something that I took for granted most of my life,” Alex says. “It wasn’t until I became a teenager that I realized my longing for community and connection was what continued to bring me to a place like the church because I was able to grow alongside such different and fascinating people.”

He believes that the church is more than just pews on a Sunday morning. “It’s about relationships which stretch the length of our lives and help us find that kernel of truth. A truth which is that we exist for a reason. None of us are mistakes.”

That reason, Alex suggests, “is connected to something which lights our lives on fire with excitement and a sense of commitment to leave the world a better place than we received it.” His passion for relational community is about growing alongside people, “as we seek to help our neighbourhood, city, province, country and world grow too.”

Alex has an open-door approachability and enjoys good conversation over a cold brew coffee or a local craft beer. When asked what title he’d prefer, he responds: “I’ve been

called many things in my life, but the title I prefer is Alex.”

You are invited to come and meet Alex as he settles in, because he’s eager to get to know his new community.

“Happy Birthday, Beacon! Circulating information, stories and news: is there a better way to build community?

For 10 years, Chris Stringer and his team have kept residents ‘out west’ informed, aware and engaged.

For volunteer-based organizations like ours, this is an essential service. The Beacon delivers stories and news that define our history and heritage. In today’s media world, 10 years is a major milestone. West Vancouver Historical Society is grateful to be along for the journey.”

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Laura Anderson, WVHS Photo: Chris Stringer Rev. Alex Wilson at St. Francis-in-the-Wood.

For a limited time, we have beautiful suites available starting at $6800* with stunning ocean views and thoughtfully selected interiors.

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September/October 2023 PAGE 15

Real Estate Group

In the 13 years that I’ve helped my clients buy and sell homes here, I’ve always felt that I’m not just selling a home, I’m selling a lifestyle. When I move someone into a new home, the process doesn’t end with me handing them the keys; I’m involved in connecting them with their new community - my community. I was fortunate to grow up in Eagle Harbour and my husband, in Horseshoe Bay. Our son and daughter learn in the same classrooms that we did at Gleneagles - it doesn’t get more local than that. Since childhood I’ve been familiar with the trails, parks and beaches that my family enjoys today. I feel very fortunate to have fashioned a successful career doing what I love to do in this beautiful area I call home and I would love to help your family buy or sell the West Coast dream... because I believe it is.


This beautifully renovated 7 bdrm / 5 bthrm / 5,528 SF Kelvin Grove home boasts incredible panoramic views on all 3 levels. Hidden below the street for maximum privacy, this home reveals its magnificence the moment you step inside. 3 bdrms up; an impressive main floor with a 1000+ SF sundeck; TWO spacious 2 bdrm suites. Lots of updates, a detached garage and a separate studio.

Nestled in absolute privacy, this extraordinary 5 bdrm + office / 5 bthrm / 5661 SF residence sits on over half an acre surrounded by lush gardens. Main level features an open plan with gourmet kitchen. 4 spacious bdrms up plus a large hobby room. Downstairs offers a games room, gym, sauna, hot tub & tons of storage. A greenhouse, double garage & gated flat driveway complete this remarkable home.


This one of a kind 3 bdrm / 3 bthrm / 3400 SF semi-waterfront architectural masterpiece boats a unique nautical theme. It features stunning vaulted ceilings, curved walls, stained glass details and incredible panoramic views from every room. Situated on a 18,783 sq ft lot at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, surrounded by tranquil manicured gardens. Complete with a separate studio attached to the main house.

Inhabit the essence of majestic Lions Bay in this one-of-a-kind 4 bedroom home surrounded by unparalleled ocean and nature views. Imagine entertaining friends and family on your large viewing deck or flat, grassy yard. A warm community awaits you - just a short walk to three beautiful beaches, trails, community hall, general store, café and pre and primary school (in West Vancouver school catchment).

Tastefully updated and meticulously maintained 4 bdrm / 3 bthrm / 2739 SF family home sits on its own private oasis with stunning ocean and nature views. Incredible setting with beautiful perennial plantings, soothing creek and private old growth forest next door. The home offers an ideal open floor plan with 3 bedrooms up and a rec room and 4th bedroom down. Walk to beach, trails, store, café & school.

Experience luxury coastal living in this completely renovated 3 bdrm / 4 bthrm / 2467 SF home. This architectural masterpiece boasts br eathtaking ocean views from every room. Every detail has been well thought out, from the vaulted ceilings to the floor-to-ceiling oriel windows and skylights that flood the home w/ natural light. Walking distance to Garrow Bay, school, local shops, restaurants & transit.

Horseshoe Bay Sanctuary by Westbank is a vibrant waterfront community framed by nature. This brand new 2 bdrm / 1 bthrm / 941 SF suite boasts 500 SF of outdoor space & ocean views. Features include 10” ceilings, travertine stone fireplace, Miele appliances, granite slab countertops & wide plank floors. Steps to unique shops & restaurants. Complete with private boathouse & a 26ft Chris Craft boat for your leisure.

Move in ready 5 bdrm / 4 bthrm / 3071 SF family home sits at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac with marina and garden views. Ideal floor plan on 3 levels - main floor boasts beautiful vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, updated kitchen off the cozy family room and two back decks. Upstairs offers 3 large bdrms and downstairs you’ll find 2 more bedrooms and a large rec room with garden access (easily suitable).

This impressive 6 bdrm / 4 bthrm / 3725 SF West Coast residence is perched on a spectacular 14,228 SF lot with sweeping SW views of Howe Sound. Upstairs features 3 spacious bdrms, main level boasts an open kitchen/dining/living room with incredible vaulted ceilings, large picture windows & sliders to an expansive entertaining deck and lower level offers great suite potential. Complete with garage & carport.

Experience luxury coastal living in this completely renovated 3 bdrm / 4 bthrm / 2467 SF home. This architectural masterpiece boasts breathtaking ocean views from every room. Every detail has been well thought out, from the vaulted ceilings to the floor-to-ceiling oriel windows and skylights that flood the home w/ natural light. Walking distance to Garrow Bay, school, local shops, restaurants & transit.

This brand new 3 bdrm / 4 bthrm / 1687 SF half duplex in East Van is an entertainers dream. Enjoy a seamless transition between your living room and the outdoors with accordion doors to your private patio and backyard. The 3rd floor bedroom boasts a balcony with mountain views making it the perfect home office. Complete with high end finishes, surveillance system, built in speakers, AC, radiant heating & single car garage.

First time ever on the market, this home was lovingly built by its owners in 1969, who still reside in the house today. This 4 bdrm / 3 bthrm / 2833 SF residence is situated on a private treed lot set back far from the street at the end of a flat, quiet cul-de-sac. Well maintained and lots of updates in this beautiful home. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of your very own slice of nature.

PAGE 16 September/October 2023 KIM