For an institution that banks its continued success on nature and the outdoors, the flood of 2003 could be seen as some form of cruel irony for the North Vancouver Outdoor School (NVOS).
In October 2003, the raging waters of the Cheakamus River burst over the dyke system near the NVOS property and severely damaged much of the 400-plus acres of natural terrain in which the school calls home.
But with a superb effort from staff and volunteers to clean up after the damage, the NVOS is back on high ground and ready to celebrate. On Sunday, June 6, the NVOS will welcome between 1,000 and 1,500 visitors to its 34th annual 'Partners in Paradise' Open House.
"It'll be a great opportunity for people to explore the property and to see and participate in all of the many exciting activities we offer," said NVOS principal Victor Elderton.
Visitors will be able to take part in archery, canoeing, crafts, a First Nations Pow-Wow at the Big House, as well as educational components such as the study of the salmon hatchery, and interpretive forest walks.
"It's an open family day," said Elderton. "Anyone is welcome to participate in everything that we have available."
Although most of the property is back to normal after the flooding, there is still close to $750,000 worth of dyking repairs and improvements to be made.
"We're getting close," said Elderton. "We're still waiting for final approval for some dyking improvements, but things are working out really well for us."
Elderton noted that BC Rail donated a flat-bed railcar to the NVOS, which has been utilized in a unique manner to allow people to get from the main school property over to the Big House by the river.
Special events at the open house will include a fundraising silent auction, bannock making and salmon fry releases. The event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.