Since opening in December 2021, MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver has been engaging the community by exploring the past, present and future of North Vancouver and its people. And soon, it will connect with the community in new ways with the opening of its Feature Exhibit Gallery.
Opening December 8, MONOVA’s newest feature exhibition, You Are Here @ The Shipyards, invites visitors to imagine the area around the Museum in its earliest days as North Vancouver – on the site of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) village of Eslhá7an – and follow its transformation into a vibrant waterfront community.
Walk around The Shipyards and you’ll see living history woven into the buildings and etched into the streets. With giant cranes, historic docks and heritage buildings, evidence of the past is all around. Just imagine the ferry wharf in Lower Lonsdale, bustling with people 100-years ago. Many were immigrants starting a new life, others were exploring the nearby mountains, and some were taking trains to other parts of British Columbia. Since then, the area has seen some dramatic and historical changes.
Using voices drawn from MONOVA’s oral history interviews, the stories are told through those who experienced and contributed to it. “With the opening of our new Feature Exhibit Gallery, we’re thrilled to be able to kick off MONOVA’s exhibition program,” says Acting Director Laurel Lawry.
“As one of the newer destinations within The Shipyards Cultural Precinct, we wanted to introduce ourselves to the neighbourhood through an exhibit that explores the history of the area. Since time immemorial, this place has served as a gathering place for Indigenous peoples, for those arriving in North Vancouver, and to the commercial and industrial drivers – we see the new, vibrant Shipyards District as a culmination of those experiences and transformations.”
Gary Penway, former Deputy Director and Waterfront Project Development Manager for the City of North Vancouver, spent much of his career (between 1990 to 2019) on the Pier Development/Shipyards restoration and development. Penway says construction on the site began in earnest after Pinnacle International acquired the property in 2001. He notes a site of such historic significance deserves recognition
“Retaining industrial buildings and artifacts shows respect for this part of our history and makes us a richer community. It adds authenticity and interest to our development,” says Penway. “Heritage should reflect the people who worked and lived here, not just estate homes of the wealthy.”
Penway adds he’s pleased MONOVA: Museum of North Vancouver is launching its Feature Exhibit Gallery with an exhibition on The Shipyards, a vital part of the North Shore’s history. “Given the importance of The Shipyards to this community, it warrants an exhibition of this nature.”
Presented by Neptune Terminals with the support of the Port of Vancouver, You Are Here @ the Shipyards retraces the steps of the workers, dreamers, and innovators who brought the area back to life. The exhibit opens Thursday, December 8.
A special preview event for MONOVA Annual Pass holders takes place Wednesday, December 7 from 6 p.m. to 9 pm. A free community day will follow on December 11, 2022 from 10 am to 5 pm and the entire North Vancouver community is invited to stop by to celebrate the opening.