Floating the River of Golden Dreams is an ideal way to pass a hot Whistler summer’s day. Its lazy pace and winding course makes it an idyllic journey, which Alex Philip, proprietor of Whistler’s first lodge, recognized early on. Alex would paddle honeymooners down the River of Golden Dreams in a large canoe, often by moonlight, where they could snuggle up and soak in the valley’s natural beauty.
According to Myrtle Philip, Alex (who was a hopeless romantic) named the river and dubbed it ‘The River of Golden Dreams (and Romance)’ in honour of these moonlit journeys. However, that version of the naming of the river is somewhat contentious. According to Glen Smith, his mother Peggy Archibald named the river in honour of the famous song ‘Down the River of Golden Dreams’. The song Glen Smith was likely referring to was popularized by The Boswell sisters around 1930. Its peaceful tune and wistful lyrics certainly match atmosphere that Alex Philip was trying to promote: “Down the River of Golden Dreams, drifting along, humming a song of love…”. The popular folk song was later recorded by both Slim Whitman and The Platters. Click the link below to listen to the song on YouTube:
Regardless of who actually gave the river the moniker ‘The River of Golden Dreams’, the name is apt for the river. Its true name, however, is Alta Creek, as its source is at the Northern end of Alta Lake. It meanders from Alta Lake to Green Lake.
Floating down the river is still a popular activity for honeymooners, locals, and summertime visitors to Whistler. Whether by inner tube, stand-up paddle board, canoe, kayak, or any other water craft, the trip continues to be a great way to pass a hot summer’s afternoon.