The Annual Building Competition is Back!

The 26th Annual Building Competition with LEGO Bricks is back this month!

Like in previous years, we’ll be gathering in Florence Petersen Park to build and share some incredible creations. All LEGO bricks will be provided and contestants will get 40 minutes to build something that they think represents this year’s theme: What do you love about summer vacation?

Before visitors started to come to Whistler to ski in the winters, Alta Lake was a popular place for visitors to come in the summer to go fishing. These days there are a lot of different things you can do during the summer in Whistler, including fishing, swimming, biking, hiking, coming to the museum, or even going on trips to other places – what is your favourite part of summer?

This year’s competition will be held on Saturday, August 27 from 2 – 4 pm in Florence Petersen Park. Kids ages 3 and up are welcome! Every participant will walk away with a treat-filled goody bag and might even win one of our amazing prizes, generously donated by Whistler businesses!

Contact us to register by phone (604-932-2019), email (events @ whistlermuseum.org) or by dropping in during our open hours.

Whistler’s Answers: August 4, 1983

In the 1980s the Whistler Question began posing a question to three to six people and publishing their responses under “Whistler’s Answers” (not to be confused with the Whistler Answer).  Each week, we’ll be sharing one question and the answers given back in 1983.  Please note, all names/answers/occupations/neighbourhoods represent information given to the Question at the time of publishing and do not necessarily reflect the person today.

Some context for this week’s question: The Delta Mountain Inn opened in July 1982 and operated through that winter. In July 1983, however, the hotel announced that it would be closed from September 26 to November 21, 1983, due to the lack of convention business. The hotel claimed that the Delta would lose money by remaining open with so few guests expected during the period.

Question: What impact do you think the closing of Delta Mountain Inn will have on the hotel and on Whistler?

Lea-Ann Russell – Village Store Employee – Brio Estates

I don’t think closing was a good idea. To close and reopen like that would be hard to organize. They would have been better to stay open with a skeleton staff – maybe only one floor open. I don’t think it will hurt Whistler though because there are still enough places still open.

Dennis Waddingham – Village Store Owner – Whistler Cay

I think they should’ve announced it a lot earlier so local businesses would know when ordering their fall stock. Without Delta, Whistler’s visitor count will drop for sure. No, unfortunately I don’t think closing will hurt Delta itself at all. It’ll hurt their staff though.

Paul Clarke – Assistant Hotel Manager – Nesters Road

In the long run I don’t think closing will have a large effect on Whistler or the hotel at all. I feel sorry for them – it’s one thing to try and run a little restaurant up here but another thing to keep a huge operation like that going. From a business standpoint they just couldn’t do it.

Why Did the Raccoon Cross the Road?

Whistler is well known for the stunning natural environment. On the doorstep to nature it is not uncommon to see wildlife in and around town. I recently saw a raccoon crossing the pedestrian crossing near Marketplace, and on the same day I watched a coyote stroll through the playground in the Village. A few days later many people watched a bear cruise through that same playground, unfortunately for the bear.

This region has always been a hub for nature, but with an increase in development we are also changing the habitat for local wildlife. While humans are the biggest threat to most wildlife in Whistler, and throughout the world, raccoons and a few other animals thrive in human-altered environments.

Rocky the Raccoon was a nightly visitor to the Whistler Vale Bar in the late 1970s. Whistler Question Collection.

Before the lifts started turning, when Whistler was known as Alta Lake, a study of the local mammals was completed by Kenneth Racey and Ian McTaggart Cowan. After observing and collecting ecological data for a combined 22 years, including talking to many local trappers well attuned to the local wildlife, Mammals of the Alta Lake Region of South-western British Columbia was published in 1935. At this time it was noted that raccoons do ‘not occur regularly in the district’. Tracks of raccoons passing through the valley had only been identified twice throughout the study.

However, as the town started to grow rapidly raccoons started to find that humans could be a great source of food and shelter. When longtime local, Trudy Alder, moved to Whistler in 1968 the raccoons had already started to train the locals, or vice versa according to Trudy, who remembered, “We lived in harmony with many of the animals in our everyday lives. There were plenty of animals; the raccoons thought they were our pets and we could easily train them to eat from our hands.”

Raccoons are smart, bold and inquisitive, allowing them to quickly adapt their behaviour to the changed environment. Additionally, their paws are hypersensitive and tactile so they can easily get into things for further mischief. Populations of raccoons in Whistler have increased as the number of people have increased, and the same phenomenon can be seen in many urban areas where raccoon populations increase with human development. Raccoons that live in urban environments have much smaller home ranges and live in higher densities than in their natural habitats. They are omnivorous scavengers and humans provide great sources of high-energy food through garbage, pets and gardens. Why did the raccoon cross the road? Probably for food.

The caption from the Whistler Question, August 1984, is as follows, ‘And you thought kids only carry ghetto blasters on their shoulders these days? This raccoon was spotted roaming the village Saturday’. Despite the evidence in this photo, raccoons do not make good pets. Today it is illegal keep raccoons as pets in BC. Whistler Question Collection.

Another mammal that has increased in numbers since 1935, although for different reasons, is the beaver. According to Mammals of Alta Lake, at the time of publication beavers had been hunted to non-existence in the valley. Now that the hunting has ceased the beaver population has bounced back. Today you can see signs of active beavers around Whistler’s wetlands, and, if you are lucky, you might see the beaver itself.

Some things change, while others stay the same. There is an animal encounter recorded in Mammals of Alta Lake that could have happened today. Between 1927 and 1928, trapper and early Alta Lake resident, John Bailiff caught 28 flying squirrels in his traps. The squirrels were being stored in a freezer when a sneaky marten weaselled in and stole them. Today martens are still known to weasel into backcountry huts and on-mountain restaurants, helping themselves to food, and sometimes ski gear.

For more on the local natural history, drop in to Whistler Museum’s Discover Nature pop-up museum at Lost Lake Park. Open Tuesday through Friday 11am to 5pm until the end of August.

Whistler’s Answers: July 28, 1983

In the 1980s the Whistler Question began posing a question to three to six people and publishing their responses under “Whistler’s Answers” (not to be confused with the Whistler Answer).  Each week, we’ll be sharing one question and the answers given back in 1983.  Please note, all names/answers/occupations/neighbourhoods represent information given to the Question at the time of publishing and do not necessarily reflect the person today.

Some context for this week’s question: The Whistler Golf Course, the first golf course in the valley, first opened as an executive-sized nine-hole course developed by Bob Bishop and Bernie Brown in the 1970s. It was taken over by the Whistler Village Land Company in 1979 and redeveloped as an 18-hole course designed by Arnold Palmer. The course opened to players in June 1983 (the official opening with Arnold Palmer did not take place until August 1983), with $300 passes for what was left of the golf season.

Question: What do you think of the golf course pass which costs $300 for the remainder of the season?

Robin Crumley – Hotel Manager – Alpine Meadows

I think it’s a great idea. It gives the golf course some cash flow early on when they need it plus it helps out the golfers. It’s the same reason golf courses everywhere have members. They’ll find if the price isn’t in line they just won’t sell – they must be marketed the same as everything else.

Allyson Edwards – Village Employee – Brio

People who live at Whistler need affordable summer recreation so should have the option and advantage of a pass on the course. I’m waiting till next year to buy a pass though because I’d rather have a longer season than what remains now to enjoy it.

Patricia Najarian – Housewife – Alamo, California

I think it’s a wonderful idea. If I lived here I know I’d buy one because you use a pass up really quickly. One thing we have at home that they should consider here is a family pass.