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Lions Bay Historical Society Spring Update

Trail History, Building the Klatt and remembering Curly Stewart

The Lions Bay Historical Society (LBHS) was founded in 1995. Our web site is HERE and if you haven’t been to it before, it is impossible that you won’t find something of interest about our Village’s past when you visit. Take a moment to follow the link.

As separate entities, Brunswick Beach and Lions Bay were first surveyed in 1908 and the first home built in the region was at Brunswick Beach in 1911.

Logging was important in the area at the time and Kelvin Grove beach, main beach, and Brunswick were used as boom up areas. There was no road up Howe Sound and loggers commuted by boat to work from Horseshoe Bay. Once tied to the shore the crew went to work getting the heart of the logging operation, a 25-ton gas or diesel-powered donkey engine, from the waterfront up the mountainside. This involved block and tackle work, dragging the donkey on a sled, uphill from tree to tree, before doing it over and over again. Routes selected were over felled timber and logs and very roughed out paths.

Making little progress every day, it often took months to get to the desired location. Once there, logging began in earnest and we see evidence of this on our trails. While the donkey engines have been removed, 1.5 – 2.5 inch cables can be found in many places throughout our forest network and as high as up the trail to Tunnel Bluff, where it splits off from the trail going to The Lions.

Other evidence of logging can be seen not only on our trails but on properties that border the forest. The springboard holes tell us a story.

The picture shows Trailblazer godfather John Dudley on his 81st birthday beside the largest stump on the Erin Moore trail, which is estimated to be more than 600 years old.

The springboard holes were chopped into the tree so loggers could gain more height for their cutting with crosscut saws, as stumps tend to be very thick in the first 10 feet or so, especially in cedar trees. Cutting higher required a shorter cut with less energy expended. Springboards were not used once chain saws were developed around 1945 after the Second World War.

Many will not know that our Municipal offices on Crosscreek Road once housed an ambulance and our volunteer fire department, including truck and equipment. The Society recently was given a very unique video taken by Mr. Preston. He was the father of Bernice Pullen, a former Village Administrator. The short video is available through LBHS, and is worth a look.

It shows, from the ground up, the construction of our emergency services building, over a six-month period in 1990, culminating in its official opening.

The Village of Lions Bay was incorporated in January 1971 with Curly Stewart its first Mayor. He stepped down from this position in November 1982. Last month, I was fortunate enough to meet Lynn Cairns, Curly’s surviving (89-year-old) daughter. She gifted the Society with many items of historical value. This included mint 1980s editions of The Seagull and the original 'Lions Bay lots for sale' marketing brochure, an appreciation album and photos taken during Curly’s retirement party, the “keys to the Village” presented to Curly, and several Vancouver Sun and North Shore News articles from the 70s and 80s about the Village. These items will all be on display at the LBHS booth at this November’s Christmas Fair hosted by Lions Bay Arts.

LBHS continues to be vibrant as it nears its 30th anniversary . While there has been some turnover in membership, we now have more active historians than we have had for some time. Society founder Tony Cox has retired but has taken on the role of Chairman Emeritus. It is hard to image the Society without him involved.

This year we will begin upgrading our website. At the end of the year, we will approach Council to seek their approval for us to pursue two worthy projects we have identified. In July, we will hold our most prestigious event, the 25th Annual Croquet Tournament.

Ron McLaughlin, Chairman

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