Club History

Compiled by Dan Burnett

Jack Wainwright remembers that back in 1976, some felt a need for a new canoe club. The existing 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.

Remember, this was 1976. Rocky won the Oscar for best picture. Billboard’s top hits included “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and “Play That Funky Music”. Jimmy Carter was elected president. What passed for fashion included platform shoes, Farah hair styles and polyester — lots of polyester.

But a band of campfire-cooking , wool-wearing wilderness rebels met on November 17, 1976 at the Burnaby Lake Nature House to form a canoe club. Dan Taylor was the organizer and became president, but they had no name, no newsletter, no meeting schedule. With the help of six members of the Dogwood Canoe Club, they met a second time on January 19, 1977 to make three decisions, which have lasted to this day. An excerpt from the January 19th newsletter reads:

The tone of the meeting was quite informal, but several earth shattering and historical decisions were made… Burnaby’s newest canoe club will henceforth be known as the Beaver Canoe Club. The overwhelming choice for the name of the club’s newsletter was “Beaver Tales”. Club monthly meetings will be held on the SECOND WEDNESDAY of each month.

And so it has been to this day. But the story of the logo is not so simple. From the January 1977 issue, a Beaver mascot appeared mysteriously but regularly, with no artist credit, no official acceptance.

We do know that a year later, a new logo contest was announced and the winner was published in the January 1978 issue of Beaver Tales. It containing the same unmistakable look of that upright Beaver! Suggestions for refining the logo were submitted by Jack Wainwright and Wally Predolins. Ultimately Wally’s refinement was chosen and the first Beaver decals were ordered.

1978 logo wally prendolins

Then the unthinkable happened. Steve Wong was elected president in 1980 and in the June newsletter, the following was printed:  “In Memoriam: With the coming of the new Wong regime, we permanently lay to rest the Beaver Guide masthead, a symbol of the old order.”

So from June, 1980, a new logo was used, based on a Haida Beaver motif, researched by Roy Isherwood and drawn by Bill McMullan.

1980 Haida logo Bill McMullan

But the circular beaver crest with canoe and paddles rose again, this time drawn by Vern Hale with better aesthetics and a more realistic looking beaver.

1982 logo vern hall

The first Beaver T-Shirts (now a rare collector’s item) were printed with the new logo and it has appeared consistently from the February 1982 issue of Beaver Tales until now!