When we think about ‘history’ we don’t always think about the forests. Yet, here in North Vancouver, there are histories hidden across the myriad of trails that surround us. Recently, I’ve been exploring this history with my children and taking advantage of local trails to inspire my work and their learning.
Like many of us right now, I am juggling a variety of demands while trying to ensure my children are suitably engaged. With a 4 year old and a 9 year old, it’s pretty challenging to find activities that keep them both interested.
As a Museums Programmer, I am often faced with the same challenge: finding activities that will resonate with audiences of differing ages, interests and knowledge. So what better way to develop and test ideas than to get my kids involved and to discover history together?
We start with a trip to one of our favourite places, Capilano Regional Park. This area was heavily logged, from 1918 until 1931, so we hope to see evidence of this as we wander through the trees.
Walking round the ‘Coho Loop’ it doesn’t take long to see evidence amongst the stumps of Douglas fir, Cedar and Hemlock trees that populate the area.
The rectangular shapes you can see on many of the tree stumps are actually notches that were cut to insert a narrow springboard for loggers to stand on. This allowed loggers to fell trees above the flared base. However with the biggest trees being almost 80 metres high and 2.5 metres diameter across, this was a hugely dangerous job!
We couldn’t find evidence of the amazing log flume that used to go from Capilano Timber Company down to the waterfront. However we looked at some of the archival images available at NVMA Archives Online and wondered at the bravery of the people who rode down the flumes for fun on a Sunday! You can also see a great life-sized model of a log flume at the entrance to Rice Lake.
The main trees cut down for logging were Douglas fir, Cedar and Western Hemlock so we collected some samples of foliage, bark and cones from the ground. We explored fun ways of identifying the different trees by comparing the different specimens. We then created a fun, matching game using foliage and bark images.
“The bark of this tree feels a bit papery but the other one feels really rough” – Riley aged 4
“I enjoyed climbing on the stumps and trying to put my foot in the rectangular holes, they were pretty high up. It made the walk less boring” – Kirsten, aged 9
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Donations are accepted through the Friends of the North Vancouver Museum & Archives Society, Registered Charity No. 89031 1772 RR0001.
We respectfully acknowledge that MONOVA: Museum and Archives of North Vancouver is located on the traditional lands of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations, whose ancestors have lived here for countless generations. We are grateful for the opportunity to live, work and learn with them on unceded Coast Salish Territory.