A flat gravel path perfect for a short stroll, this dog-friendly route offers unique views of North Vancouver and reveals a section of Lynn Creek that most tourists who visit Lynn Canyon never glimpse.
The leafy trail is located on the south side of 1325 Main Street in North Vancouver, adjacent to the large PetSmart parking lot. On hot summer days, locals are fond of placing lawn chairs right in the river’s edge, to spend the day drinking beer and watching their kids and dogs splash in the water.
Following Lynn Creek south, the trail passes under a CN Rail bridge. Upon coming out of the graffiti-bright underpass, the park abruptly changes name and is thereafter called Harbourview Park. An official parking lot is located at this point at Harbour Avenue, just off of Dominion Street, and the trail widens out to a broad gravel path that is stroller and bicycle friendly–perhaps even wheelchair accessible, though I haven’t tested this option out personally.
Geese and seagulls thickly inhabit the mouth of the creek, where fresh water meets salt. On the west bank, a thicket of cranes heralds the industrial docks where stevedores and longshoremen are hard at work. Adirondack chairs are strategically placed for folks to enjoy the view.
The path ends at a free observation tower, excellent for unusual views of the North Shore, Vancouver city, the dockyards, and the Lynnterm rail-yard. Lynnterm handles over 250 ships a year, loading up to 2,000,000 tonnes of forest products and general cargo annually. That’s a lot of trees!
The land to the east of Lynn Creek (in the direction of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge) has a special history. Currently part of the dockyards, “Lot 204”, once belonged to John Linn, a pioneer of the North Shore.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1821, John Linn joined the Royal Engineers at age 25 and was selected to serve abroad, following the Fraser River Gold Rush. During the six month voyage to British Columbia aboard the clipper ship “Thames City”, around Cape Horn and up the South American coast, Mrs. Linn gave birth to a child, the event announced in a shipboard newsletter created by a fellow passenger.
John Linn married Mary Robertson during a military stint in Halifax, Nova Scotia (then called New Scotland) in 1848. (Photograph circa 1865).
John Linn–also known as Jack and sometimes Jock– was given Lot 204 on the north shore of the Burrard Inlet on February 10, 1871 as a military grant. He and his wife, Mary, raised six children on Lot 204 and tamed the heavily forested land for their cattle, horses, hens, a large orchard, and a garden.
Legend has it that Jock Linn was fond of rowing across Burrard Inlet in order to get thoroughly soused in one of the many “watering holes” on Water Street in Gastown, thereafter to engage in street brawling. Mary frequently had to cross the inlet at night to collect him.
John Linn wasn’t the first settler on Lot 204; two others had preceded him but had failed to clear the dense forest from the 160 acres.
Only a few logging trails existed at that time, in a forest rife with cougars and wolves. A mile to the west of Lot 204 (near the present grain elevator) stood the bustling sawmill settlement that was to become known as Moodyville. There, the six Linn children attended a tiny one-room school. To the east of the Linn property sprawled an Indian reserve, and a burial place where the bodies were traditionally placed on platforms erected on trees. The first dairy ranch on Burrard Inlet was located further to the east, at the mouth of Seymour Creek.
Photo: A group of visitors to the Linn cottage, long after John Linn’s death in 1876. By 1896, the Linn cottage was used as a camp for private picnic parties, at a time when there were few places near Vancouver where a summer camp could be made.
An 1880 survey map of Indian Reserves on the North Shore shows the name of the river flowing east of Lot 204 as Fred’s Creek, after the first preemptor in the area. Hitherto, the Indians of the nearby reserve had called it, “Kwalcha, or Koalcha”, after their tribe. Eventually, the creek was named Lynn Creek, a misspelling of John Linn’s surname, and the name has stuck to this very day.
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