The End of the Line General Store
4193 Lynn Valley Road
North Vancouver, BC
Western Canada is littered with hundreds of communities that sprouted out of the massive project that was the construction of Canada’s transcontinental railway. Supplanting these major lines were other local tracks in some areas to support the local citizens and industry. In today’s day and age, its kind of hard to imagine an era where rail transportation was the primary way to get people and supplies around from place to place, but it sure is nice to know that some remnants of that history remains or is preserved in some other fashion.
Having just been in San Francisco where I saw the famous trolley cars yet again, I was reminded that here in North Vancouver, we used to have that same transportation system in the early years of the 1900’s. Beginning in the Lonsdale area, service was available to take people all the way up Lynn Valley, with the terminal stop being at Dempsey Road. And fitting with so many rail stations around the world, a little community flourished and was supported by local merchants capitalizing on the constant flow of people in need of daily goods.
Standing in that very same location today is a refurbished heritage structure that has seen a series of ownership changes but has functioned pretty much as it always has, as a corner store where locals could pick up necessities instead of having to head further down into the city for their shopping needs. With some increased investment and stronger focus to offer more than just perishable goods, the current reincarnation of the business has a keen focus on supporting local artists and offers a wider range of products (edible and non-edible alike) for locals as well as the strong base of tourists who come to visit Lynn Canyon’s trails and lakes and want to pick up some giftware or branded clothing to take home with them.
The End of the Line General Store can’t be missed if you’re coming up by car or happen to hike up the nearby stairs by the valley, at the intersection of Dempsey Road and Lynn Valley Road. It stands out on the corner of the three-way stop there, and you’ll probably see some people enjoying some drinks or sweets on the outdoor seating available, especially during the hotter summer days. The big doors on the Lynn Valley Road side are always swung open in a welcoming way, making it seem a lot like the classic corner stores of yesterday.
While my sweet tooth is limited for the most part, for those who enjoy partaking in sugary treats, the display case near the front counter offers a good range of goodies to perhaps satisfy most dessert-minded folks. After a long hike that morning, I was willing to give myself a break and opted to have a creamy vanilla milkshake. Perhaps I was in a bit of a dehydrated daze after ordering as I just nodded when asked if I wanted to have whip cream on it – in hindsight, it was a bit too rich.
As I watched the fellow making it lump three huge heaps of cold ice cream into the stainless steel container in preparation, I knew I was in for a big treat. As I grabbed the cup later and took my first sip, I knew it was made with real ice cream, none of that airy and light artificial tasting substitute for ice cream that I detest. Perhaps it was my rather jovial mood, the adrenalin calming down from a solid morning of walking up and down the trails, but this was one of the best milkshakes I’ve had in a while.
Retro. Nostalgia. And nature, all come together here at the End of the Line General Store. If you ever find your way up here, I suggest you indulge in some sweet treat and soak in the atmosphere. Its worth the trip!