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North Vancouver's Shipyard Pals return for another season

The historical walking tours will run from June until September
MONOVA's Shipyard Pals 'Sam' (Charlie Cook) and 'Sal' (Kelsey Ranshaw) will be conducting historical, theatrical walking tours of North Vancouver's Shipyards district. | Paul McGrath / North Shore News

As summer makes its grand return, so too do the Shipyard Pals, MONOVA’s two long-standing history buffs who offer Shipyards tours across the warmer months.

Shipyard Sam and Shipyard Sal are characters created by the museum, who take guests on a trip to yester-year when The Shipyards was home to bustling waterside operations.

Their costumed characters represent the countless people who lived and worked in the area in the 1940s, with Sam and Sal using local anecdotes and tales to tell the history of shipbuilding at Burrard Dry Dock on Vancouver’s North Shore.

“As actor interpreters, when Charlie and I are Sal and Sam, we are immersive storytellers,” said Kelsey Ranshaw, who takes on the role of Sal alongside actor Charlie Cook's Sam.

“In character, we lead participants through The Shipyards, ‘discovering’ the area together through stories, songs and dance, and bringing the history, people, and stories to life through the context of the major shipbuilding operations which took place here during World War II.”

The two are “very recognizable” she said, “stylishly dressed” in 1940s style coveralls.

“Over the course of approximately 45 minutes to an hour, the Pals highlight the lesser-known history of the area which is hidden in plain sight, and emphasize the importance of The Shipyards to women’s labour rights, Canada’s contributions to the war, and as a place of community in past, present, and future,” she said.

Designed to be informative and engaging for all members of the family, the tours comprise stories, songs and historical learning in one package.

Kicking off at the museum itself from June 4, the free tours will run every Wednesday and Sunday, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., until late September.

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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