Tag Archives: Chris Speedie

Toad Hall: The Poster Returns

With the holiday season fast approaching we’ve started taking particular notice of holiday-themed photos in our collections.  These photos can vary from Whistler Mountain ski instructors dressed up as reindeer to Santa finding hidden powder to Season’s Greetings from the Philip family.  One of the more interesting holiday photos shows a roasted turkey in a wood burning stove called “Master Climax” (so named for the make of the stove).

Master Climax Turkey Glory – Christmas Dinner at Toad Hall in 1969! Benjamin Collection.

This stove was part of the kitchen set up at the first Toad Hall, one of Whistler’s most famous (or infamous) lodgings.  This Toad Hall was built by Alta Lake resident Alf Gebhart, who first came to live in the area in 1936.  In the mid-1960s, Alf sold his property to Charles Hillman, a high-school teacher working in Vancouver.  Charles, in turn, rented his property to a “respectable-looking” father with two daughters.  The rent was paid consistently and on time, though after a while the names on the cheques started to change.

By the time Charles Hillman decided to start using his cabin to ski, unbeknownst to him, the property had been renamed Toad Hall and was gaining a reputation across the country.  Charles arrived to find a young resident from Montreal cooking breakfast, evidence of a campfire in one of the bedrooms, and sleeping quarters set up wherever possible, including the chicken house.

The first Toad Hall, 1969. Benjamin Collection.

With help from the RCMP in Squamish and a court order, the residents of Toad Hall were amicably evicted, with enough time given for a farewell party.

By the 1970s, the Soo Valley Logging Camp, near the northern end of Green Lake, was no longer in use by the forestry industry.  This became the second incarnation of Toad Hall.  Perhaps the best known image of Toad Hall, the Toad Hall Poster, was taken here.

The second Toad Hall was scheduled for demolition in the summer of 1973.  (Though no buildings remain today, some photos of Parkhurst donated by the Clausen family show the in-use camp across the lake.)

The Toad Hall Poster.

That spring, knowing their time there was limited, residents gathered with their ski gear and little else for a memorable photo shoot set up by photographer Chris Speedie – 10,000 copies of this poster were printed and sold for two to three dollars each.  Copies were distributed along the World Cup ski circuit by Terry “Toulouse” Spence.

Over the decades, copies of these posters became harder to obtain.  Then, in 2013, Terry brought a box to the museum.  The museum officially sold out of the original run of Toad Hall posters this past January, almost 45 years after it was first printed.

The first official reprint of the Toad Hall Poster is now available to purchase at the Whistler Museum.

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This Week In Photos: May 3

From road conditions and ski races to golf tournaments and end-of-season competitions (LA Legs Contest?) the Whistler Question reported on everything and anything going on in town.

1980

Nester’s residents won’t have any speeders in their neighbourhood if they can help it. And to help them are large- to dangerous-sized boulders strewn about the roadway in an attempt to slow drivers to a crawl.

This bus seems to be missing a key component.

(L to R) Minister of Tourism Pat Jordan chats with our Pat – Mayor Carleton – at the Town Centre during a tour of the site and an explanation by the mayor of what exactly is going on at the busy construction site. With Honourable Minister and Mayor are Tourism Ministry staff Joan Jarvis and George Plul.

A golfer drives one off the third tee at the Whistler Golf Course during the Bob Parson’s Memorial Golf Tournament.

Chauffeur Chris Speedie and assistant Rod McLeod take the golf course refreshment buggy around the course.

This temporary decking on the bridge over Fitzsimmons Creek on the Blackcomb access road will be replaced during May by a full width concrete surface.

A spring trip to Meager Creek Hot Springs BC Forest Service Recreation Site.

1981

Architect Joe Yamauchi and Alderman Mark Angus inspect the model of the controversial Whistler Tower Building planned for Parcel 26.

Jody Wick, 10, of Myrtle Philip Elementary, brings out the shine on Ike’s tow-truck during the WPTA’s successful carwash held May 2.

Costumed members of the Vancouver Telemark Society practice group telemark turns on the last day of the season.

For being the top MPE artists, not to mention electrically alert, Tami Wick, Rya Kirkwood and Cris Simpson were awarded these framed certificates. Standing behind (l to r) are Ross Dinwoodie, Laroy Watt and Gary Wong.

We don’t know whose best friend this is, but who could resist that face?

Whew! All tuckered out at the end of the season, Donald Campbell, 4, of North Vancouver decided that the best place for a weary skier to lay his helmetted head was the front step of Jim McConkey’s Ski Shop.

1982

Wind’s up… and that’s enough for Chris Jacobs to drag out his sailboard and take on the ice! Jacobs uses a wooden platform with skis attached and finds the boardsailing just fine. Andrew Stoner photo.

They’re switched on and tuned in at Mountain FM.

That toe-tapping beat inspired even the heavy-footed to get down to the music of the Sailboats at Blackcomb Daylodge on Sunday, May 2.

Pas de demux amid the hubbub during Boogie-in-your-ski-boots. Fiona Maxwell (2) is led by Neal Jennings (3), both of Whistler.

Move over J.R. On location to shoot a 10-minute promotional short for a possible new TV series called “Whistler”, this film crew from Eighth Avenue Productions was the centre of excitement. Driving his own Rolls-Royce is Peter Mueller (no, not the skier) who is reported to be providing financial backing for the project.

Whew! What a win! After tight competition through the season, Jim Wharin and Megan Armstrong skied to the top of the local championship series on Blackcomb.

1983

In Whistler, even line-painting comes with a view.

Workers at The Madhouse on Whistler Mountain at the end of the season.

A bunch of real hackers, Team Hack cleaned up on one of the valley’s most coveted trophies, the Whistler Cup. And the winners, ladies and gentlemen, were (l to r) Sue Boyd, Rob Denham, Mike Turcotte and Jim Wharin.

Hubba, hubba! What a beaut! This mystery entrant in Blackcomb Mountain’s LA Legs Contest April 30 strutted away with first prize.

Semi-finalists at Stoney’s Suitcase Party May 1 let off some steam before the final name was selected. The lucky winner? Dave Cipp of Tapley’s (fourth from left in back row, with his mouth wide open). Cipp grabbed his golf clubs, Brenda Davidson of Today’s Video and headed to Honolulu that night.

Yowser, yowser, yowser! The gang at Rendezvous Restaurant on Blackcomb Mountain have their own special way of saying goodbye. Of course they were in the midst of the clutches of spring fever Sunday, May 1.

1984

Former Delta Mountain Inn Food and Beverage Manager Dave Roberts received an unceremonious going away party last Wednesday, and to not let him forget what his job’s all about, Delta staff applied raw eggs, tomatoes and various other foodstuffs to Roberts’ body.

Simon Gould and family have yet another car in their collection after winning the Winterfest lottery Saturday. The prize was a $12,000 1984 Jeep Cherokee graciously supplied by Mountainview Motors of North Vancouver. Gould, from West Vancouver, happened to be on the scene when the draw took place and said it could mean that his daughter, the most thrilled of the lot, will be getting a car of her own.

The Squamish Youth Chorale, with a cast of 69, presented its latest production, “Dreamer”, to a packed house at Myrtle Philip School Saturday night. The story is based on the biblical saga of Joseph and his 10 brothers.

The Story of the Toad Hall Poster

Although the Toad Hall poster’s infamy has persisted through the years, it became harder and harder to get your hands on one. Until 2013, when  Toulouse himself came into the museum with a box of the original, 1973 print, posters that are still in mint condition. You can now get yourself one of these absolute classic pieces of Whistler history for yourself, available exclusively from the Whistler Museum!

(Warning: Nudity Alert)

This is the story of Whistler’s most famous photo, created on a whim one care-free spring afternoon four decades ago. 1973 in Whistler was another era. Less than a decade earlier, the construction of ski lifts on Whistler Mountain had put the previously quiet fishing resort on the map,  attracting an influx of youthful, free-spirited ski bums.

Meanwhile,  Whistler Village, Blackcomb Mountain, the Olympics and other major development remained little more than a pipe dream. Heck, many locals still lived without electricity or running water. Throughout the valley the ski bums lived in a wide variety of hand-built cabins, and conveniently vacated structures, perhaps none more revered than Toad Hall.

Toad Hall volleyball

Enjoying an idyllic volleyball match along the shores of Green Lake.

With a mere $75/month lease (for the property, not per person), this collection of wooden shacks near the north end of Green Lake, formerly known as the Soo Valley Logging Camp, came to be a focal point of the revelrous ski bum community. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that by the spring of 1973 tales of debauchery left local powers wholly unenthused with this shag-carpeted Shangri-la.

Toad Hall was slated for demolition later that summer. One sunny spring day, whoever was milling about was asked to convene out front with their ski gear, but wearing nothing else.  The photographer, Chris Speedie, orchestrated the photo simply to provide residents with a memento before Toad Hall met its demise. The completely uninhibited and playful posing perfectly captured the spirit of the times.

Later, sensing the image’s iconic potential, a few “Toadies” scrounged together some cash and printed off 10,000 posters. At 2 or 3 bucks a pop, guerilla poster sales funded abundant “apres” sessions for years to come. The poster’s mastermind, Terry ”Toulouse” Spence, also worked for the Canadian National Ski Team.

During the height of  the Crazy Canuck era, Toulouse brought boxes of posters along for the ride on the World Cup ski circuit. To this day it  can still be found decorating the walls of some of the world’s most cherished ski bars. Despite the annotation in Kitzbuhel’s famed Londoner Bar, this is not “Canada’s National Ski Team”. The poster simply provides an unencumbered gaze back in time at early Whistler’s care-free lifestyle. And yes, some of the “models” still call Whistler home, but good luck getting any of them to admit it!

Chris Speedie's original photograph.

Chris Speedie’s original photograph.

 

Toad Hall:Bradley

The museum’s gift shop, with the Toad Hall display poster on the left.

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