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Hollyburn Lodge
Thank you for being part of the future!
Jackie Swanson

Celebrating 90 years of ski recreation and Grand Opening of the newly rebuilt Lodge.
OPENED January, 1927     RE-OPENED January 15, 2017-

Welcome! Most of you here today have fond memories of Hollyburn Mountain and the original Hollyburn Lodge. For some of you, today might be the first chapter.

In 2015 a committee was formed to raise money to rebuild the decaying 1926 Hollyburn Lodge, in its own image and in its own footprint on the shore of First Lake. A remote lodge for everyone to continue to enjoy and recreate at, after almost nine decades of operation.

The committee set out to both raise the required funds, and to salvage as much of the original building as could be reasonably salvaged. Our first emotional discovery involved the hefty exterior boards milled on the mountain. In the early days, there were no interior boards or insulation. Patrons took to carving their initials, dates, and romances on the inside of these boards. A few years later around 1930, interior boards were nailed up likely to reduce the draft, covering the carvings forever. When we dismantled the Lodge, we discovered the carvings and Cypress staff put the images on Facebook, successfully tying carved names to actual people. Sections of these boards are on display in the new lodge. All the windows that were removed from the lodge were examined and any that could be saved have been refurbished by volunteers who each adopted a window. These 1920 frames are what you see suspended for display over the new aluminum windows that were required. Boards on the ceiling and walls are new, but in the same rough texture cladding that existed before. The interior boards that were salvaged have been reintegrated near the washrooms on the lower portion of the walls. The paint, inside and outside of the lodge has been colour matched to what was there at time of demolition. The Fondue Room walls are mahogany paneled, as they were. The hugely popular floor boards have been saved and de-nailed and will be incorporated into the lodge in some manner, in the future. Structural beams in the old lodge were removed but no longer were required for structure and no longer fit, as the new lodge has the same shape but a slightly bigger footprint. One such beam has been replaced, and you will see that on the ceiling near the washrooms. In the future, faux beams will be installed to represent the originals. The chimney has been installed and a new wood-burning stove will be brought in at earliest convenience. Original sentiments grace the Lodge Entrance.

The heritage work described here was substantially completed by a strong community of volunteers. The building of the Lodge, now a potential four-season operation, is thanks first to the political journey, then to the hard work of Cypress Mountain staff, outside trades, and services. A huge thank you to the corporate and private donations noted on the donation board outside and on websites. These tributes will appear as promised, as part of the new Heritage Plaza to be constructed this summer beside First Lake. Hollyburn Lodge is a masterpiece of devotion and cooperation. Thank you District of West Vancouver, BC Parks Olympic Legacy Fund, Hollyburn Heritage Society, Hollyburn Ridge Association, and Cypress Mountain, all founding donors.

January 2018

January 15, 2018 will be the first anniversary of the official opening of the renewed Hollyburn Lodge. Yesterday, we received the following document from Jackie Swanson, Chair of Hollyburn Lodge 2015 Renewal Project, regarding an application for funding related to the three display boards located near the Lodge. Jackie also makes reference to some things that remain to be done, including installation of a wood stove and some of the old flooring, two things near & dear to many HHS members.

As the 1926 Hollyburn Lodge was dismantled in 2015, the mandate was to rebuild to code, but as close as possible to its heritage and architectural mirror image. Cypress Mountain took on construction, a team of volunteers took on heritage preservation. Heritage intent was to remove every possible piece of the structure that could be salvaged, then to reuse those pieces in the new building wherever possible, and to record and share that information for continuity and public enjoyment.

The first step was to remove the original exterior boards, milled on the mountain, from the mountain. In doing so, we discovered that the side of the boards facing inward were doubling as interior boards for the first few years of the 1926 lodge, and a plethora of initials and name carvings came to light after about eighty-five years of being hidden by the ultimate "new" interior boards installed around 1930. Cypress Mountain put the images and names on Face Book in 2015, with an overwhelming response from the public who identified several of the original pioneers and wrote what came of them. Got married, died in the war, survived the war. The carved boards that could be salvaged have been trimmed up and mounted under plexiglass in three locations for display in the new lodge.

All the original windows were removed with care, and an "adopt a window" program was mounted. Ten windows were given to ten volunteers who repaired and returned them for remounting in the new lodge. They are now hung as asthetic display within all of the new double glazed aluminum windows in public spaces, expressing exactly what was hanging in the original lodge. The mood filled windows are each unique and original, coming from "Pidgeon windows" to anything and everything that was salvaged for free in 1926. Each window is labeled as original.

The original interior structural beams were removed and re-installed as faux in the new lodge. Although they appear to be structural, they aren't anymore. These logs, also carved with initials, remain exactly as they were removed, and contribute immensely to the visual replica of the original lodge. Combined with the exact colour match of the original interior walls, and the mahogany paneling that was the fondue room, many can't believe they aren't in the old, original lodge. Volunteers cladded the ceilings and walls with rough cut wood as in the original, with not a speck of drywall showing in the public space. All the original interior boards were combed through for anything re-useable. What boards were saved have been re-installed on the lower section of the walls around the washroom halls. Information plaques indicate this, as otherwise you would never be able to tell. Outside, the unique scallop of the original Swedish entry door has been replicated.

The ever-popular Hollyburn Lodge Dance Floor was removed and de-nailed. This timber is currently stored in the Cypress Works Yard, with the hope that some day it will be re-planed and reinstalled. Plans are in place and donations have been raised for an efficient wood stove to be installed in place of the popular high-volume, inefficient wood stove of the past. Many other details have been replicated or reused and smaller heritage assets and photographs adorn the walls.

Music has been a major piece of cultural heritage in this backcountry lodge. In respect to that, a large donation was made for a superior sound system which is now being enjoyed and is a welcome addition to our continuing story.

Defining the Story of the Backcountry - Preserving the History of Hollyburn Lodge, is now outlined in a 25' long, 3 panel Heritage Board, permanently mounted outside of the Lodge, on the shore of 15t Lake.

This information kiosk talks about the Backcountry Lodge, Preserving Heritage in the area, a map of the area, and a list of major contributors to the project, including the Heritage BC, Heritage Legacy Fund. We thank you for your contribution.

Jackie Swanson Chair 
Hollyburn Lodge 2015 Renewal Project


As the story goes:

During the winter of 1926/27, a young lad named Frank Flynn ["Paddy" Flynn, as he came to be known on the mountain] bunked overnight at the newly-opened Hollyburn Ski Camp. Some five years later, he and a pal were building cabin #180, lately occupied my Merle Michael. Frank roamed The Ridge for some 20 years before leaving Vancouver in 1948. Last August, Frank celebrated his 101st birthday.

He loves to talk about his days on the mountain, and since I go far enough back, I can relate to some of the people and places he also knew. Both Frank and I send our best wishes to all of those in attendance on this impending New Year's Sunday event.

I believe January 15th, 2017 will be remembered as a special moment in time when the past, present and future coalesce. For upon this heritage site stands this new lodge built in the image of its predecessor, thus to reclaim what passes for hallowed ground on Hollyburn. And, who knows, some 90 years from now, like Frank, perhaps some old-timer will look back and say: 'I remember visiting this lodge the year it re-opened'.

Now, as usual, when I give thought to the mountain, I often come up with a poem to express same. As you know, Hollyburn Mountain means a lot to me, and since my sentiments concerning it are best expressed in verse, I've composed a short poem to commemorate what I'm certain will be grand event. Attached to this missive please find my contemplative 'ode' to Hollyburn Lodge entitled logically enough: "The Old Red Lodge".  Regards, Tony


Oil painting on a cedar shake by Eilif Haxthow - early 1930's


For ninety years, this landmark
weathered snow and summer heat,
Though its passing was foreshadowed,
parting ways seems bittersweet.
When the old lodge left us as it came,
we bid our fond good byes,
Now this new lodge bears a legacy
and traditions to reprise.

Recall the schemes of yesteryear,
and Saturday night soirees,
When shadows danced on rough-hewn walls
midst smoky-fire haze.
Those winter days when a John Deere crawled
to Popfly's diesel roar,
And summertime: when packboards and rucksacks
lay outside the door. 

To have wandered up a sunny trail
past the margin of First Lake,
and found the lodge had vanished,
would have made a stout heart break.
That old ski camp was a haven,
for folks inclined to roam;
As decades passed it became a place
where people felt at home. 

Oscar, Fred and dearest Ev:
in their presence, anyone could see,
Why Hollyburn existed,
and what The Ridge was meant to be.
So when future generations
behold this sylvan glade,
They'll learn about a mountain lodge,
where history was made.


A.G. M. (TONY) FLOWER (Winter of 2016/17)
This poem is dedicated to: "The founders of Hollyburn Ski Camp,
whose vision inspired this mountain's enduring spirit"

To open/download a pdf copy of the "Hollyburn Lodge Opening - Handout.pdf", CLICK HERE.