Unlocking North Vancouver History

Wilderness on the Doorstep: Vancouver’s Mountain Playground

‘Bridge Over Lynn’ by Frederick Varley

One of the founding members of the Group of Seven, Frederick Horsman Varley (1881-1969) moved west in 1926 to escape his money troubles and teach at the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts. During the decade he spent in Vancouver, he left his wife and children and moved to a Lynn Valley house with one of his students, Vera Weatherby. He found new inspiration and artistic focus in the local scenery, painting scores of landscapes of the Lynn Valley area (including this one), as well as of Mount Seymour and Grouse Mountain. Famous works recording his communion with the North Shore wilderness include Dharana, Birth of Clouds, Lynn Creek, The Trail to Rice Lake and Weather–Lynn Valley. In 1998 a nature trail in the Upper Lynn Valley was named in his honour; the Varley Commemorative Walk follows the routes and vantage points of his painting and sketching forays.

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Frederick Varley’s watercolour and gouache, Bridge Over Lynn, shows a view of Lynn Valley, which was visibly logged at the time.

Frederick Varley lived for several years along the west bank of Lynn Creek, on what is now Rice Lake Road.

During the 1930s, Frederick Varley painted scores of works recording views of Lynn Valley and the North Shore.

Frederick Varley was a founding member of the Group of Seven, Canada’s famous landscape painters who helped to define a national identity between the two world wars.

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