Beaver Club Beginnings

From Beaver Tales, April 2001

Jack Wainwright remembers that back in 1976 the Dogwood Canoe Club was large, often attracting upwards of 30 canoes on a trip. Wally Priedolins knew there was a need for a second club. Dogwoods met with Neil Dockendorf, an employee of the Burnaby Parks and Recreation Department who was teaching adult paddling on Deer Lake. His students included Pauline and Les Mushens who together with Dogwood members became the nucleus of the new group.

“The Beavers were a social club of eight couples who simply enjoyed paddling. And in those days it was all a flat water pastime,” remembers Pauline.

Resource material, canoes, even typing of the newsletter was offered by Burnaby council. The experience of the Dogwood Club was put at their disposal. Members participated in trips on Widgeon Creek and Harrison Lake. Wally and Jack offered basic paddling courses, which were later expanded to develop ocean and tide water expertise. And training was paramount—to help the Club understand the need for preparedness in changing conditions, to recognize the safety in numbers when paddling and to learn rescue techniques (which Wally recalls as necessary when the Mushen’s dog got stranded on a stump mid-river…).

All for a membership fee of just $10!