The North Shore Neighbourhood House was founded in 1939 by a handful of Lonsdale residents aiming to create an accessible gathering place for local youth, expanding on the informal “neighbourhood house” at Hugh and Rose Beattie’s where neighbourhood kids regularly gathered to build model planes, practice dancing, sew and various other activities. The city agreed to lease an old condemned building for one dollar per year and with the efforts of many neighbours, the first House was up and running by 1940, clean, painted and welcoming.
Since then, the House moved locations a few more times before it found its current home at 225 East 2nd street in North Vancouver. Decades have past, the House has seen many changes but it continues to provide programs and services to meet the needs of children and families, youth and seniors here in Lower Lonsdale and at program sites throughout the North Shore.
Back in the Day
1939 in History (In the Neighbourhood…)
- Sculptor Charles Marega’s lions were installed at the south approach to Lions Gate Bridge. Marega was unhappy with the work: he had wanted the lions to be of bronze, but budget restrictions forced him to use concrete.
- The official inauguration of airmail service Montreal-Toronto-Vancouver.
- The present Hotel Vancouver opened. Writes architectural historian Harold Kalman on Canada’s chateau-like hotels, “Inspired by the picturesque castles of France and Scotland, the steep-roofed hotels cater to our fantasies of palatial living. Vancouver's version, resplendent in its gargoyles, Renaissance detail, and fine relief sculpture, was built by the CNR. Delayed by the Depression, it was rushed to completion in 1939 for the Royal Visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The rival CPR co-operatively closed its own, earlier, Hotel Vancouver (two blocks east), lent the name, and entered into a joint management contract.”
- King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later to be known as the Queen Mum) officially open Lions Gate Bridge
- Canada declared war on Germany. In Vancouver, German-speaking citizens pledged their loyalty to Canada at a mass meeting in Moose Hall.
- Vancouver welcomed its first dial telephones.
- As a result of the Great Depression, Grouse Mountain had become home to a small colony of squatters. They built a small village of log cabins up there—nearly 100 of them—and that little settlement, as the economy improved over time, began turning into what the locals called “Ski Village.” Enter a fellow named Kent Ford, who proposed a sprocket railway from Mosquito Creek up to the village.
- Ford’s proposal ran into a vexing problem: with exquisitely inconvenient timing, the Second World War started after construction had begun and Ford was unable to get enough steel. He must have been a formidable optimist: without even pausing for breath he continued to build his railway —with one track of steel, the other of wood. It didn’t work.
- Curiously enough, an attempt nearly 30 years earlier to build a railway up Grouse had foundered for exactly the same reason: a lack of steel because of a world war!
- Comic strip "Superman" debuts.
- Uranium atom first split, Columbia University.
- John Steinbeck novel "The Grapes of Wrath" published.
- First transatlantic airline service, between Newfoundland and England, by Pan American Airways, 18 hours 42 minutes. Two-way fare is 140 pounds.
- "Wizard of Oz" premieres at Grauman's Chinese Theater, Hollywood.
- September 10, Canada, the Governor-General of Canada, Lord Tweedsmuir, announces that Parliament has declared war on Germany, as of the start of the day.
- The US extends its embargo on arms shipments to Canada.
- Nylon stockings go on sale for first time (Wilmington Delaware).
- First animal conceived by artificial insemination (rabbit) displayed.
- 27th Grey Cup: Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeats Ottawa Rough Riders, 8-7.
- The North Vancouver Youth Band was founded.
- North Shore Neighborhood House is founded.