Unlocking North Vancouver History

Wilderness on the Doorstep: Vancouver’s Mountain Playground

Girl Guides atop Grouse Mountain

Phyllis Munday (née James, 1894-1990) was an inveterate local explorer. In 1910, at just 16 years of age, she founded a company of Girl Guides. In 1915 she became a member of the BCMC, climbing the western peak of the Lions the next year as her first big challenge. She married mountaineer Don Munday in 1920. For their honeymoon, they hiked to a cabin Don had built on the west ridge of Dam Mountain. Together, the couple ascended over 100 peaks in the province (including many firsts), often taking along their young daughter Edith. The Geographical Name Board of Canada named a peak adjacent to Vancouver Island’s Mount Waddington after them, in gratitude for the large amounts of field information they provided. In 1973 Phyllis received the Order of Canada for her work with the Girl Guides and St. John Ambulance, and as a pioneering mountaineer. She was also featured in Canada Post’s Legendary Canadians stamp series in 1998.

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This picture captures the Second Company of the Vancouver Girl Guides on a chaperoned hiking trip.

The girls stand atop Grouse Mountain, dressed in the heavy skirts that were the norm in their day.

This photo was taken in 1912, when company leader Phyllis Munday (right) was about 18 years old.

Phyllis Munday (right) became a famous pioneering female mountaineer in British Columbia.

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