Unlocking North Vancouver History

Wilderness on the Doorstep: Vancouver’s Mountain Playground

Spray of Pearls Waterfall

The North Shore wilderness has always captivated the public imagination. In early days, people saw it as a romantic ideal–a spirit that seems to have been captured in this image. A melodramatic tale about the Spray of Pearls waterfall by Jane Parkin, published in 1916, reflects this sense of the landscape. It tells of an 1860s Scottish immigrant, Norman McNabb, who crossed Canada before finding his Shangri-La in this North Shore valley. Becoming fast friends with local Natives after helping the son of the local chief, he built a rustic cabin. Sadly, he fell off a cliff while contemplating the imminent arrival of his new bride, Pearl. When informed of the tragedy after her arrival, Pearl visited the spot and died of agony as the pearls of a keepsake necklace Norman had given her rolled over the cliff. The next morning, the Spray of Pearls waterfall cascaded in that exact spot!

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WHAT
A couple of early hikers–likely patrons of the nearby Wigwam Inn–visit the North Shore’s high and delicate Spray of Pearls waterfall.

WHERE
This beautiful cascade was a popular outing destination at the eastern edge of the North Shore. It is located in Indian Arm Park on Wigwam Creek, near Mount Dickens.

WHEN
This image was taken in 1916. The nearby Wigwam Inn opened in June of 1910, a high-class summer resort in a remote area, served by a sternwheeler.

WHO
Gustav Constantin Alvo von Alvensleben funded and built the fashionable Wigwam Inn with the help of high-born German financiers.

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