Tag Archives: Black Tusk

The village that ceased to exist, part two

Part 1 of this story can be found here.

After a May 1980 Order in Council (OIC) called for the evacuation of their village, the residents of the Garibaldi Townsite faced a stressful and uncertain future. At first, many of the residents refused to accept the fate of their community, and fought the OIC with everything they had. With every day that passed, their situation seemed to become more complicated and controversial.

After the OIC was issued, the evacuation process progressed quickly. Property assessments for the area were to be completed by the coming September. Following that, residents would have until December 31st to accept their purchase offer. The residents were given the option to buy back their buildings at auction (so long as they could meet the highest bid), but at the time there were no plans for a relocation site, so the residents had nowhere to move their houses.

A Garibaldi Townsite home being relocated. Whistler Question Collection.

The situation seemed bleak in the summer of 1980, but by the fall there was a little more hope. The deadline to accept offers was extended to June 1981, which gave residents a little more time to get their affairs in order. An interdepartmental committee between the Ministry of the Environment (who were handling the evacuation) and the Ministry of Housing (who were handling the relocation) was established, and residents who chose to buy back their homes were given permission to leave them on the land until a relocation site was completed.

Despite these concessions, the evacuation order remained in place, and residents remained unwilling to give up on their town. The matter was brought to Ombudsman Karl Freidman in October 1980. While reviewing the case, he found several causes for concern. Among them was a lack of open communication between the government and the residents, the terms of sale being stacked in the government’s favour, and the lack of official commitment to a relocation plan. A few months later, likely in response to Freidman’s report, the provincial government sent letters to the residents that included the complete OIC and plans for a relocation site 7km north of the Townsite.

Just as the plight of the residents was starting to improve, disaster struck the Townsite on December 26th 1980. After days of heave rain, B.C. Hydro was forced to open the gates of the Daisy Lake Dam to prevent it from overflowing. The resulting flood wrought havoc on the village. One home was swept away into the Cheakamus River, many were undermined, and the Garibaldi Townsite infrastructure was severely damaged. The destruction shook many of the resident’s resolve to continue fighting for their community, and some decided to leave entirely.

In September 1981, the remaining residents launched a final attempt to save their town, or at the very least to spread awareness about the mismanagement and perceived unfairness of their situation.

A Garibaldi resident stands beside some of the signs for the September 1981 protest. Whistler Question Collection.

Fifteen signs were placed along Highway 99, and drivers were asked to pull over to be handed copies of “The Great Barrier Grief”, a circular that detailed their situation, the OIC, and their theories and questions about the matter. “The Great Barrier Grief” was put together by Ian Barnet, who owned the Garibaldi Lodge. It included everything from editorials on the issue, stories of longtime residents, political cartoons, and summaries of some of the theories about the cause of the evacuation.

The circular suggested four theories behind the evacuation. The first (“Pure Government Bungling”), suggested that it was miscommunication within the government that caused the situation to escalate as it had. The second (“Over-Reaction to Tenuous Report”), suggested the government’s seemingly sudden action had been caused by the eruption of Mount St. Helens (it erupted on May 18, 1980, shortly before the OIC was issued). Perhaps, it suggested, since the government had been aware of the potential risk of the Barrier, they could be held accountable for any damage it did. The third (“The Conspiracy Theory”) suggested that due to all of the development happening in the valley, the government had a vested interest in owning the land, and were therefore forcing the residents out by any means necessary. Similarly, the fourth (“The Land Grab Theory”) suggested that because land values in Whistler had recently sky-rocketed, the Crown stood to profit should they take back the village’s land, hold onto it for a few years, and to then redistribute it at Whistler prices.

Below are some examples of illustrations from the publication.

Illustration from “The Great Barrier Grief” that shows the path a landslide would have to take to damage the Townsite but none of its surroundings.
Illustration from “The Great Barrier Grief”

In the end, their resistance was not enough to save their village, but it did result in a guaranteed relocation site and provincial commitment to better and more transparent communication. In 1982, residents were offered lots in a new development called Black Tusk. Residents were welcomed to the new community in September 1984, though some fought to stay until as late as 1986. In the end, only twenty-six Townsite families chose to relocate to Black Tusk, and the remaining lots were sold to the general public.

Today, all that is left of the Garibaldi Townsite is a small collection of ageing cabins tucked away off Highway 99 across from Daisy Lake.

This Week In Photos: September 13

A lot has happened this week in Whistler’s history – this week in 1982 has almost 400 photographs.  If you’re interested in seeing more the Fall Festival and other events from that year, check out the whole album here.

1979

Potholes galore! The entrance to Alpine Meadows as it appeared last Sunday.

Typical Town Centre scene last week – the rain keeps coming and the mud gets deeper!

Swinging in the rain! A foursome tees off at the first hole in the Bob Parsons Memorial Golf Tournament.

The bottom terminal of Blackcomb lift #2 takes shape.

The front entrance of the new Fortress Mountain Blackcomb base facility.

1980

Crowds begin to mass for the Town Centre rally organized by the Whistler Contractors Association. Over 300 people took part in the rally and march through Town Centre.

Crowd marches past the still uncompleted Resort Centre.

Not a skateboard ramp but the Olive Chair’s newly-paved loading and discharge platform at the Gondola Station.

NO PARKING! Itinerant pickup decides to use the new Olive Chair ramp as a parking spot.

Bob Wick points out golf course features to a group of appreciative horticulture students from Langley.

Recently created public access to Alta Lake in the Alta Vista subdivision. This area is unknown to many Whistler visitors and residents.

1982

Whistler Mayor Pat Carleton and Howe Sound MLA Allan Williams take in some of the scenery in Lost Lake Park. They were en route to the September 11th official opening of the 500-acre recreational site.

Myrtle Philip cuts the opening ribbon held by Health Care Society Chairman Rollie Horsey, September 12.

One of the vehicles which helped wipe out both signals at the Green River railway crossing – a 1979 Ferrari which was driven by Brent Freitag of Vancouver.

Two waiters roll through the Waiter/Waitress Race during Fall Festival fun.

Shasta Trampoline Club members soared as part of a festival demonstration.

Edelweiss Dance Group from Victoria chopped. It was all going on at Whistler’s second Fall Festival.

They also danced in Village Square.

Kids anticipated winter in the snowflake drawing contest.

Fun was also had in the bouncy castle.

Delta Duck and Willie Whistler tee up.

A fitness class gets everyone moving in Mountain Square.

Gumboot Lollipop gets a helping hand from a couple of “volunteers”.

Terry Boston lauded the lowly duck.

Tapley’s A’s player streaks over home plate as a Pemberton Zipperhead fumbles the ball. Tapley’s went on to win the game but came in fourth in the tournament.

1983

The Rangerettes Baton Corps of North Vancouver goes through its clown routine at Sunday’s Fall Festival. Other entertainers at the weekend event included folk and can-can dancers and live music in Village Square. Despite the wet conditions about 1,500 people were attracted to the end-of-summer extravaganza.

Whistler’s new Arabesque tent protects dancers and drinkers from the rain.

Kids had their bit of fun riding the giant merry-go-round set up in the VIP parking lot.

And at the bouncy dome outside the service building.

Tim Cleave from the New Westminster-based Shasta Trampoline levitates over Whistler Mountain.

Workmen from B & O Blacktop put the finishing touches on the Valley Drive bridge that was washed out in 1981.

Ross Smith, manager of Stoney’s Restaurant, does his Hamlet imitation while teaching would-be bartenders the finer points of slinging gin. The three-week course takes place in Mountain House Cabaret.

Instant curbs ooze out of Alpine Paving’s machine along Mountain Lane by Delta Mountain Inn. Paving is expected to be finished next week.

Parks employee Ted Pryce-Jones completes the new suspension bridge on Callaghan River near the Cheakamus River junction. Parks Planner Tom Barratt says the $12,000 bridge should be ready to cross this week.

Alpha Lake Park officially opened to the public.

1984

The summer students hired by Whistler Resort Association said goodbye last week following a season-long series of performances in Whistler Village. (L to R) Rob McQuaid, Mike McQuaid, Karen Overgaard and Rick Johnson were four of the university and community college students who helped create a festive atmosphere in the village this summer. WRA summer students who were absent include Kimberley Paulley, David Lyford, Paul Ciechanowski, Kristine Keiland and Susan Mathew.

Peter Oblander, winner of the Rotary Club of Whistler lottery for a lifetime dual mountain pass, was presented his prize Friday by Lorne Borgal, president of Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation, and Hugh Smythe, president of Blackcomb Skiiing Enterprises. Oberlander, a University of British Columbia professor and director of human settlement for the United Nations, spoke to Rotarians at their weekly luncheon, on his own experiences in this area since he first visited Diamond Head at Easter, 1950. Oberlander recalled the trip by water to Britannia Beach from Horseshoe Bay, and from Britannia to Squamish by jeep. In the 1960s, Oberlander assisted Keg owner George Tidal in laying out his restaurant on Alta Lake. Later, Oberlander helped plan what was to be the Olympic townsite, and has since then been a frequent and enthusiastic weekender here. Winning the lifetime pass, he said, is “in many ways a crowning achievement” to his three decade-long familiarity with the area.

Tony Brummet, Land, Parks and Housing Minister, officially opened the Black Tusk Village subdivision Saturday. The 94 strata-lot subdivision was built to provide a new home for former residents of Garibaldi, which in 1981 was declared hazardous because of the Barrier, a rock face nearby.

Whistler residents Lee MacLaurin and Ian Mounsey were wed Saturday in a ceremony at Tyrol Lodge. Lee is the daughter of Isobel and Don MacLaurin of Whistler, and Ian is the son of Ken and Sylvia Mounsey of Galiano Island. Best man at the wedding was Jim Lang, while Lee’s sisters Sue and Jill were bridesmaids. Marriage Commissioner Joan Hinds of Squamish performed the ceremony and guests at the Tyrol Lodge reception were treated to a topographic wedding cake sculpted in the form of Whistler Mountain and decorated with a pair of “ski-niks” and candy trees. Lee started a family tradition by wearing they same dress mother Isobel wore at her wedding 26 years ago.

This Week In Photos: April 12

The photos we share through This Week In Photos are only a very small part of the Whistler Question Collection.  The full collection can be viewed online here.  If you see a photo you love, photos from our collections can be purchased, either online or by contacting our Collections Manager John Alexander, and certain sizes can even be printed for you at the museum!

1980

A bird’s eye view of Creekside.

And a fly-over view of the Whistler Village, or what there is of it so far.

Somebody was spending a lot of time in a helicopter this week – here they flew over Cheakamus Lake amid the mountains of Garibaldi Provincial Park.

BC Tel and BCR towers on the west bluff of the Black Tusk.

WORM’S EYE VIEW of the new drugstore and office building in the town centre. This building should be one of the first to be finished this summer.

Question Editor’s Assistant BJ (Brad) Cooper.

1981

Nancy Greene-Raine takes to the polls April 11 with help from Pat McMillan.

Joe Cannon, with his personality-plus, gave the Question this comment on life during his April 10 show at the Brass Rail. His flexible voice worked its way masterfully around tunes from Bob Dylan to Gordon Lightfoot to Elvis the Pelvis. Cannon has quite a remarkable way with audiences, not to mention photographers.

The Municipal Hall on a snowy, windy day.

Mrs Turner’s class thanks Mr Strathers after their field trip to the drugstore.

A class also took a trip to visit the local RCMP detachment.

1982

Michell Brown and Doug Smith hold up the Price Waterhouse Trophy, which they won in junior skiing competition at Blackcomb Mountain on Sunday.

Some Whistler residents could do with a few lessons in tidiness and cooperation. This scene at the Mons garbage compactor tells a story.

The latest development in the Cheakamus Canyon project is the diversion which carries vehicles through the rock cut rather than around one of the most dangerous corners on Highway 99.

The Mountainside Inn has come a long way from the pouring of its foundations,

A friendly game of charades is played out in someone’s living room.

1983

A gift of two mountains was presented to Washington Governor John Spellman (right) by Mayor Mark Angus (second from right) during his tour of Whistler last week. Washington hopes to develop its Early Winters Resort. Governor Spellman was accompanied by Senator Alan Bluechel (left), Mrs Jeanne Erlichmann Bluechel and Mrs Irene Spellman.

Mountain Square buildings in various stages of construction. Some hotels are missing, giving a clear view through to Sundial Crescent.

First place winners in the Mouton Cadet Spring Festival held April 9, 10, 11 on Whistler Mountain. (l to r) Dave Murray, Nancy Smith, Jim Parsons, Toby Shale. Back row Xavier deEizaguirre of Mountain Rothschild and Werner Schonberger, president of Featherstone & Co.

An innovative storage system for the Mouton Cadet atop the mountain.

The Black Tusk

One of the most distinguishable mountains in BC is the Black Tusk. Visible from many different heights in Whistler and the Garibaldi region, it is often talked about and almost always identified aloud when viewed in any form; people can’t help themselves from calling out “Black Tusk!” when they see it in pictures or from afar. Aside from its distinct and fascinating appearance, the Black Tusk has quite an interesting geological history.

View from the High Note Trail on Whistler Mountain, 2014. Photograph by Trish Odorico.

View from the High Note Trail on Whistler Mountain, 2014. Photograph by Trish Odorico.

In the last two million years volcanoes and glaciers have added dramatic scenery to the landscape of Whistler and the surrounding area. The topography of BC has been continually modified by glacial and steam erosion and the eruption of volcanoes. The Black Tusk, a local volcano that erupted about 170,000 years ago, is a reminder of our volcanic past. The Black Tusk is a stratovolcano, meaning it is made up of many layers of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash. Centuries of erosion have stripped away its outer cone of bombs and ash, leaving behind solidified lava of its central conduit that now forms its narrow summit spire.

black-tusk-dec-2014

Photograph by Trish Odorico.

The Black Tusk reaches 2,319 m (7,608 ft) above sea level. Alike to well-known mountains such as Cerro Torre in Patagonia, the Barbarine in Germany, and the Vajolet Towers in Italy, it is a pinnacle, giving it its sharp and unmistakable structure. Pinnacles are individual columns of rock, isolated from other rocks or groups of rocks, that form the shape of a vertical shaft or spire.

The mountain hosts two significant glaciers that start from approximately 2,100 m (6,890 ft) and flow northward to below 1,800 m (5,906 ft). Both glaciers are heavily covered in debris due to the crumbling nature of the Black Tusk’s rock.

To the Squamish people, the Black Tusk is known as t’ak’t’ak mu’yin tl’a in7in’a’xe7en, meaning “Landing Place of the Thunderbird,” while for the L’íl’wat, the mountain is called Q’elqámtensa ti Skenknápa, meaning “Place where the Thunder Rests.” It is said to be named after the supernatural bird Thunderbird. The story goes that the jagged shape and black colouring of the Black Tusk is due to the Thunderbird’s lightning, or as another account goes, by the Thunderbird’s talons that crashed into the peak.

Whistler Museum Collection.

Whistler Museum Collection.