Group in boat off Point Atkinson.
Point Atkinson, West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Larry Grafton remembers trips to Vancouver to supply the lighthouse:
Dad had an old gas boat and used to go to town and pick up supplies on Saturdays. He used to put the boat into Gore Avenue wharf and shop at Woodward's. Sometimes we used to go … with him, and in the wintertime, he would put a whole bunch of bricks on the back of the stove and get them good and warm and put them in the bottom of the boat so we were nice and warm.


Lighthouse Park.
Point Atkinson, West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Nature was always close by.

Larry Grafton remembers:
Bears, cougars, lynx, mink, martin. I remember one time going up the trail to Caulfeild and the hair started standing up on the back of my neck and about twenty feet up, there was a cougar sitting on a limb. I got out of there in a hurry. We used to bump into a lot of bears when we were going to school.


A group of friends at a summer gathering at Point Atkinson, c. 1930s.
Point Atkinson, West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Courtesy of Brian Grafton.


The lighthouse was also the setting for fond childhood memories.

Larry Grafton remembers:
After we had done our duties, we used to do a lot of swimming. We used to do a lot of cod fishing in the spring of the year and salmon and grills the rest of the summer.


Original Cypress Park School, c. 1923. Larry Grafton, back row, second from right.
West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Before the military built the road to Point Atkinson and public transportation expanded past Caulfeild, east of the Point, it was a long journey to and from school.

Norm Dawe remembers:
I went to Pauline Johnson [school] and my sister to Inglewood junior high… In good weather you would row the boat to Caulfeild and then walk up to the bus stop… If you had a good southeast wind, you couldn't get the boat off, let alone row it. So then you would have to walk and the trail at that time was nothing like it is now. It was a very rugged trail and from above Snug Cove, above Park Lane, there is a very high ridge, sort of a mountain ridge that goes through and the trail comes from Park Lane, half way up Park Lane and you had to go over that ridge, and then down the other side of it. It was quite a walk and you really didn't use that unless there was no other way.


Grade 9 class photo of Hollyburn School, West Vancouver.
West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Life at the lighthouse was hard work but there was some time for play.
Point Atkinson, West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Even though until recently Point Atkinson was a long distance from the more settled areas of West Vancouver, young people were not completely isolated. Often children's friends would come for a sleepover. Both Laurence Grafton and Jean Odlum remarked that visiting the lighthouse overnight was quite a thrill for many young people.


Laurence Grafton with fish.
Point Atkinson, West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Courtesy of Brian Grafton.


There were some downsides to growing up at the lighthouse.

Norm Dawe remembers:
One thing that life on the lighthouse shorted me on, was my interaction with people. It made a loner out of me. You couldn't play [sports] in school. We got out of school and onto the bus and home. We didn't have radio, so you wouldn't listen to games as they do today or how the kids, they were always talking about the various hockey teams and so forth. My knowledge of that would be zilch. Today's kids, even on the remote [light] stations, television is right in the front room.


Sometimes, being the child of a lighthouse keeper was a lot of work.

Larry Grafton remembers collecting wood for the foghorn and the house:
Primarily all the wood came off the beach. When we were kids, we had to pack ten loads of wood off the beach on Saturdays. We had a boiler, washday on Monday. There were six tubs in the back shed. We had to fill the tubs with water, of course. One tub had a steam pipe right into it, for boiling clothes. Monday morning was quite a do!