Looking Back

Tom Nichols and the origins of Pacific Spirit Regional Park


The opening of Pacific Spirit Regional Park in 1989.  Tom Nichols is in the back row under the word “for” in the grey sweater. Photo: MV Archives

Current role in the Park: Ivy League Leader

Preserving the Park since: 1973, before it was a park!

Favourite trail in the Park for Cycling – Council Walking

Favourite trail in the Park for walking – Sword Fern between Marine Drive and Imperial.

Tom was a steward of Pacific Spirit Regional Park well before it became a park and remembers the days when the “trails” were old logging roads. In the 1950’s and 60’s the endowment lands were slated for residential development, which motivated concerned neighbours to advocate for the protection of the beautiful forest and its unique ecological, cultural and historical values. Tom joined the Endowment Lands Regional Park Committee in 1973 and worked with them for 16 years until formation of the Pacific Spirit Regional Park (PSRP) was finally announced on December 10th, 1989.

Tom’s work in the Park did not stop there. He volunteered with other members of the Endowment Land Regional Park Committee to be a presence in the Park until 1991 when Metro Vancouver (then GVRD) established their Park Association partnership in the Park.  Seeing the spread of invasive plants throughout the Park, Tom started tackling the English Ivy, which  grows along slopes and up trees, reducing the stability of the slopes and trees and threatening native plant biodiversity.

Even though Tom has been preserving the Park for over 40 years, he maintains a strong vision for the future. Tom is working with  Pacific Spirit Park Society and Metro Vancouver Regional Parks to develop an invasive plant management monitoring system which meaningfully measures the impact various invasive species have on the park in order to prioritize invasive plant removal. Further, Tom is looking at possible compensation restoration sites with the development of a new Metro Vancouver Pacific Spirit Regional Park works yard.

If you are interested in joining Tom at the monthly Ivy League event, email Krista Voth at volunteer@pacificspiritparksociety.org or find us on Meet Up.

* Participants 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Please follow and like us:

2 thoughts on “Looking Back

  1. I have a question and wonder if you can help me. There was talk about an old homestead in Pacific Spirit Park above Spanish Banks. I’ve walked through this site many times starting with my UBC student years in the 1970’s. Someone who is not native to Vancouver recently asked me about it. I did some research but wasn’t able to find any information about it. Perhaps it was just a myth? Can you tell me anything about this?

    1. Hello Maureen,

      Yes, there was a farm along Pioneer Trail, north of Chancellor BLVD. There is a clearing along this trail where the old farm house was. The invasive Ivy spreading in the area can be traced back to that site! The clearing is slowly filling in as the forest encroaches, but you can still notice the change in the forest age and composition when you reach the old farm yard.

      Best regards,


Comments are closed.