Local writer explores North Vancouver’s past

Residents and history buffs will be intrigued by a newly published book about the early days of the North Shore. The book forms the basis for a companion exhibit running now at the North Vancouver Museum as well as an upcoming vintage fashion show.

“I’m curious about what used to be here,” said Sharon Proctor which is reflected in her new book, Time Travel in North Vancouver: A Peek into the Past. “There are a lot of good books on the history, but I got interested in the smaller stories…of a house, a little hotel, a church.”

Each page of her book lists a location like Lonsdale Avenue or Lynn Valley (about 90 locations in all), with photos showing what’s there now and what used to be there plus a brief explanation of the background. It grew out of Proctor’s volunteer work over the past six or seven years with the Friends of the North Vancouver Museum and Archives Society, the charity that supports, promotes and raises funds for the museum.

Proctor is a biologist and has lived in North Vancouver since 1981. She retired from the Vancouver Aquarium in 1991, after 23 years in education and interpretation, and then became an independent science and technology writer.
Vancouver fashion on Nov. 14 at the Presentation House Theatre. He specializes in the study of fashion from 1650 to the present and has one of the largest private collections of clothing in Canada, dating from the 1800s.

“It’s like knowing a person,” said Proctor about the value of reading the book or seeing the exhibit. “If you met someone, you know them on a superficial
level…When you get to know a person better and you know their past, then you understand why they are the way they are, you have a much richer picture of
who they are. It’s the same way with the city or the district— North Vancouver has a past and it’s very colourful.”

Proctor said the story of the squatters on the Maplewood Mudflats, along Burrard Inlet in the early 1970s, was one of the most fascinating stories she
worked on for the book. She discovered she had friends of the squatters who introduced her to some of them. This led her to talking to people as far away as
Nova Scotia, discovering many old photos of the site, and a going on a tour of the old site with one of the former squatters.

On until the end of December, the exhibit North Vancouver: Then & Now displays some artifacts and large-scale photos of the old and new sites. It also shows a collection of historical postcards illustrating the local area.

Ivan Sayers, a renowned local historian and organizer of the Original Costume Museum Society, is producing a vintage clothing show about early North Vancouver fashion on Nov. 14 at the Presentation House Theatre. He specializes in the study of fashion from 1650 to the present and has one of the largest private collections of clothing in Canada, dating from the 1800s.

Nancy Kirkpatrick, the museum and archives director, said Sayers will be presenting clothing relevant to the region from about 1910 up until modern times. Additionally, he will be speaking not only about the garments but also about the stories behind them, like what they mean, who made it and who would have worn it.

“A lot of fashion and costume museums tend to collect only high fashion couture and women’s ceremonial garments, like wedding and graduation dresses,” said Kirkpatrick, adding that the items are only displayed on mannequins and not worn by people. Sayers has a living collection which is worn by live models so people can see how they fit and move. “He has a social history. He also collects working and sporting clothes, like bathing suits. [His] garments represent the whole social spectrum. He’ll give us a glimpse of that.”

Fashion show tickets are $25 and include a tea party afterward. Reserve them now via nvmac@dnv.org or 604-990-3700, ext. 8016. The museum is located at 209 West 4th Street, North Vancouver, open Tuesdays through Sundays, 12–5 p.m.

About Kerry Hall

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