Unlocking North Vancouver History

Wilderness on the Doorstep: Vancouver’s Mountain Playground

Hiking Boots

Photographs prove that women were among the North Shore’s earliest hikers and mountaineers, although the dress codes of the early 20th century didn’t exactly aid mobility. While hobnailed boots such as these were practical and necessary, heavy ankle-length skirts, high-buttoned blouses and jaunty hats must have had the opposite effect. The following report by trailblazing female mountaineer Phyllis Munday (1894-1990) explains how women got around the clothing problem: “You were never seen on the street with a bloomer or a pair of pants or anything like that. It just wasn’t done in those days. So we’d wear our skirts on the streetcar from home and [on] the ferry and streetcar in North Van and then up to the trail and cache our skirts under a log. That meant, of course, that you always had to come back the same way to get your skirt, because otherwise you couldn’t go home.”

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WHAT
This antique pair of women’s lace-up leather hiking boots has 48 eyelets and hobnailed soles.

WHERE
These boots were manufactured by the MacFarlane Shoe Co. in Montreal, Quebec.

WHEN
The boots date from the 1920s, when hiking trails weren’t as developed or well maintained as today.

WHO
The boots encased the entire calf to protect the wearer from low brush.

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