Held in the re-purposed historic shipyards of North Vancouver, a stone’s throw from Lonsdale Quay, The Shipyard Pals tour is a fun way to spend 45 minutes on a sunny weekend on the North Shore.
With a cast of two vibrant young actors playing the part of eighteen year old women hired at the Burrard Dry Docks during the Second World War, the walking tour combines musical theatre and story-telling with the anecdotal history of real men and woman who worked in the shipyards.
Through light-hearted dramatic sketches and song, the actors paint a vivid picture of what it was like to be part of the Vancouver workforce that responded to Britian’s urgent need for assistance during the war.
Whether acting out examples of the variety shows and poetry contests that were held as war bond rallies, or demonstrating how a 5-person assembly line produced 400,000 rivets in one week to complete the fabrication of a 10,000 tonne Victory Ship, the actors whisk through a couple of small costume changes against the picturesque backdrop of the North Shore mountains and the Burrard Inlet.
On the day we went (a hot July Sunday at 11am) the actors had to briefly compete with the amplified guitars and drums coming from an open-air church gathering hammering out music. The actors handled it with aplomb.
The charming shipyard story/musical tour lasted 45 minutes and involved minimal easy walking, with longer stops always taking place where there was ample outdoor seating. (This worked perfectly for David, who was recovering from a knee injury.) For afterwards, there are a plethora of cafes, pubs, and restaurants along nearby Lonsdale Avenue, in addition to the popular ice cream parlours, bakeries, delicatessens, and take-out eateries in adjacent Lonsdale Quay.
The free Drop-in Walks take place each summer in North Vancouver in July and August. When we went, they were being offered from July 2, 2017 to August 27, 2017, Saturdays & Sundays, at 11am and 1:30pm. Meet Shipyard Sal and Sam near the foot of Lonsdale at Victory Ship Way, in The Shipyards.
For a glimpse of one of the musical skits (a rallying cry against Hitler) see:
For more details, visit: www.nvma.ca
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