The City of North Vancouver Council is looking to build a third artificial turf field for the city at Mahon Park on Jones Ave. One of the options is to locate the field on the current spot of the gravel field directly in front of Fen Burdett Stadium grandstand. This area of Mahon Park and its surrounding area is rich with the history of North Vancouver.
The park itself was named after Edward Mahon (pronounced Mann) who emigrated from England in 1888 along with his brother. The Mahon’s purchased land throughout the North Shore and formed the North Vancouver Land and Improvement Company. They sold the 40 acre site of the park to the City in 1910 and the park opened officially in 1914 with a dance pavilion and a track with a grandstand that seated 1,000 spectators.
Soon after opening, the park was utilized as a training ground in preparation for World War I by the 6th Field Company of Canadian Engineers branch of the Canadian military. Stationed at the nearby J.P. Fell Armoury that was also built in 1914, the cadets used the fields of Mahon Park for drill practice, trench digging and bridge building exercises.
The armoury was named in 1986 for Lieutenant Colonel James Pemberton Fell who was integral in the development of early North Vancouver and the first commander of an Army Company from North Vancouver. The building was registered as a government of Canada Heritage building in 1988 and remains one of the few examples of this type and size of armoury west of Ontario. The 6th Field Company based here provided support during WWI, WWII and conflicts in Korea, The Balkans and Afghanistan.
The large original grandstand named Kinsmen Field saw witness to countless sporting and community events. Legendary track and field star Harry Jerome threw a no-hit game as a teenage pitcher on the baseball diamond in the mid 1950’s, not once but twice. In 1973 Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau presided over the opening kickoff of the provincial soccer finals here as well. The empty grandstand would burn to the ground one night in the mid 1970’s. The current grandstand was constructed almost immediately on the same spot as a replacement. The stadium was named for Fen Burdett, who beginning in 1956 was a manager and sponsor of youth soccer and baseball clubs in North Vancouver. He was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame as a builder in 1982.