Tag Archives: community

Remembrance Day in Whistler

This Saturday marks the 34th year of Whistler’s Remembrance Day observances, and the first not to take place at the Whistler Village Fire Hall.

Yesterday (Friday, November 10) Whistler’s cenotaph was revealed at its new home in Olympic Plaza in the monument’s second dedication ceremony.

Remembrance Day Ceremonies at the Fire Hall in the 1980s were small but supported by the Whistler community. Photo: Whistler Question Collection, 1984

The history of Whistler’s cenotaph is surprisingly murky – not much about its installation made it into the Whistler Question; far more has been written about moving the cenotaph than building it.  As part of the campaign to have the cenotaph moved, Anne Townley and GD Maxwell searched for any reference to the origins of the cenotaph but were still left with more questions.

The cenotaph was first installed outside of the fire hall in 1985.  It was commissioned by the Rotary Club of Whistler to “honour the soldiers of World War I, World War II and the Korean War.”

The stone came from a quarry off the Duffey Lake Road and was installed by Art Den Duyf and someone by the name of Wilson.  (If anyone knows more about the commissioning and installation of the cenotaph please don’t hesitate to contact the museum.)  The monument was unveiled on November 11, 1985 by Mayor Terry Rodgers and was originally dedicated by then-Rotary Club president Floyd Leclair.  The ceremony occurred just three days after the cenotaph’s installation was completed.

Before the installation of the cenotaph, wreaths were placed dug into the snow in the same location. Photo: Whistler Question Collection, 1984

Although Whistler’s cenotaph was not installed until 1985 the community had been holding Remembrance Day Services for at least two years previously.  These ceremonies also took place outside of the fire hall and wreaths were laid in the future site of the cenotaph, even if a spot for them had to be dug out of the snow.

Since 1985 Whistler’s Remembrance Day observances have grown to include the Colour Party and Parade, the Service of Remembrance, a helicopter fly over, and coffee and hot chocolate in the fire hall courtesy of the Rotary Club.

The Remembrance Day service starts at 10:30 am today (Saturday, November 11) in Olympic Plaza.

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Feeding the Spirit 2017

The Whistler Museum, with the support of Whistler’s Creekside Market, will again be hosting Feeding the Spirit as part of Connect Whistler!

Each year we invite newcomers to town as well as anyone who wishes to join us for some food and to explore our exhibits.  Feeding the Spirit aims to provide a sense of place and community, as well as a general knowledge of Whistler’s past.  With free admission, Whistler trivia and prizes donated by local businesses, everyone is encouraged to learn about our town’s unique history!

Special thanks to all of our sponsors:

  • Creekside Market
  • Purebread Bakery
  • Farfalla Hair & Esthetics
  • Nibz Bandanaz
  • Whistler Roasting Co.
  • Splitz Grill
  • Misty Mountain Pizza
  • Coastal Culture Sports
  • DavidsTea

Myrtle Philip: School and Community Centre

Looking through the photographs of The Whistler Question one thing that sticks out is how many of the photographs were taken at the same venues.

It makes sense – the Village was still under construction for many of the years covered by The Question Collection and indoor venue options were limited in the late 1970s.  One of the locations that shows up again and again is the first Myrtle Philip Elementary School.

The first Myrtle Philip School at the beginning of the school year, 1978. Photo: Whistler Question Collection

Myrtle Philip School, originally located about where the Delta Suites sits today, first opened its doors in 1976.  Prior to its opening, students from the Whistler area attended school in Pemberton after the Alta Lake School closed in 1970.

Unlike the Alta Lake School, which in 1956 had excited students with its indoor plumbing and uneven playing field, Myrtle Philip School was a modern elementary school.  It had six classrooms, a gym, lunchroom, library, computer lab, offices, a full-size playing field, tennis courts and an ice stock sliding area.

It was obviously built with room to grow; in 1976 the school had 57 students and three teachers (including Roger Griffin, who was also the principal).

The new school had also been built with the growing community in mind.  The Squamish Lillooet Regional District contributed $300,000 to the school for a larger gym and common facilities that were to be used by the community as a whole.  From the photographs, it certainly looks like these spaces were put to good use.

The Community Club Craft Fair held in the Myrtle Philip School gym, December 1978. Photo: Whistler Question Collection

As well as school activities, such as Christmas and spring concerts, the annual science fair, awards ceremonies and sporting events, Myrtle Philip School also hosted meetings (of the business, political and Brownie varieties), art exhibitions, dances, performances and even elections (you can see Myrtle Philip vote in Myrtle Philip School in the Week of November 26, 1978).

A community meeting in the gym gets a unanimous verdict in January, 1979. Photo: Whistler Question Collection

Before the construction of the conference centre, the gym was the setting for the European Dinner Dance as well as performances by the Squamish Youth Chorale and Dave Murray’s retirement party.  Some events were both school and community events, such as Myrtle’s Hoedown Showdown held in 1991 to celebrate what would have been Myrtle Philip’s 100th birthday.

A spring baseball game on the field of Myrtle Philip School in May, 1980. Photo: Whistler Question Collection

As Whistler is generally a pretty active community it’s not surprising that the school and its facilities were often used for soccer matches, baseball games, ice stock sliding practice and dance classes (photos of both Debbie Gurlach’s jazz dance class and the Squamish Youth Chorale’s performance of The Day He Wore My Crown can be seen in the Week of April 18, 1983).  The school gym was also the site of Whistler Mountain Ski Club ski swaps and community markets.

By the late 1980s enrollment at Myrtle Philip School had grown to 250 students and by 1991 the school had eight portables, a type of classroom many Whistler students would be familiar with through the early 2000s.

In 1979 Myrtle Philip School and the firehall were two of the few finished buildings in the Village. Photo: Whistler Question Collection

In 1987, only ten years after the school had opened, the Howe Sound School Board had already begun plans for a site evaluation for a new school.  The second Myrtle Philip School on Lorimer Road opened in September 1992 and also included community spaces.

Although the first Myrtle Philip School only operated for fifteen years it provided an important space for a growing community to gather and many classes, community groups and community programs continue to operate out of school spaces today.

Naming Night: Finding the Stories Behind the Photos

You might have heard that the museum opened a new exhibit on the photographs of The Whistler Question yesterday (if you haven’t, The Whistler Question: A Photographic History 1978-1985 opens at 6 pm on Friday and will run through November 30).  Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate the opening with us, especially our guests Paul Burrows and Glenda Bartosh!

While many of the photographs appeared in the newspaper with context provided by their respective captions and articles, there are many more that we don’t know a whole lot about.

While we know that this photo was taken at an Alta Lake Community Club Fall Fair, we have not yet been able to identify any of the people pictured.

The amount of information we have on photographs in our collection varies depending upon the photograph.  Often the person donating the photograph is able to tell us exactly who is in it, where it was taken and what was going on at the time; other times the photograph has a caption written on its back that provides some information.

Some photographs, however, are donated to the museum without any names or dates given other than those that can be identified by museum staff.

When this happens we rely on the community for help identifying people, places, dates and events.  If we are able to identify one or two people in a photograph then often we will ask them if they are able to identify anything else about the image.  Social media is also very useful, as those who follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram and our blog are able to comment and add what they know, whether they took the photo, are in the photo or recognize something about the photo.

When this photograph was posted on Facebook Greg Griffith, the photographer, was able to name every person on the chair: Cheryl Morningstar, Eric Griffith, Pat Griffith & Dean Stone.

A (somewhat) recent article about Worlebury Lodge and the Burge family included a photo of a group hike to Rainbow Falls in the 1950s or ’60s.  Of the 15 people pictured only two had been identified.  Luckily for us, one of the members of the group read the article and was able to provide 10 more names, including his own (top, second from left).  He was also able to narrow the date of the photo to around 1959.  Being able to add information like this to the photograph’s entry in our database makes it much more likely that the photograph will be included when someone searches for a specific person, place or event in our database or online gallerie

A hike to Rainbow Falls: (top left to right): Jean Dove, John Burge, Joyce Gow, Tim Burge, Maurice Burge, Don Gow; middle: Florence Petersen, Jane Dove, unknown; bottom: unknown, Connie Gow, unknown, Stephen Dove, Karen Gow, Muriel Burge. From his absence it is possible Ray Dove took the photo. Photo: Dove

While recognizing and identifying subjects of a photograph on social media is incredibly useful to the museum, reminiscing is much more fun when you’re with other who share some of the same memories.

Whether you’ve recently arrived in town, have visited over the years or have lived here for decades, everyone is invited to Naming Night at the Whistler Museum at 7 pm on Thursday, September 21, to help us find out more about the photographs in our collection (there will be free admission for the evening and a cash bar).

We’ll provide the photographs, ranging from the 1950s through the 2000s (with perhaps an emphasis on the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s due to the overwhelming number of photographs in The Whistler Question collection), and we’ll be relying on you to provide names, places, events and stories of the photographs and their contents.

The Whistler Question: A Photographic History

We are very excited to announce that The Whistler Question: A Photographic History 1978 – 1985 will open Friday, September 15!  To celebrate the opening of our latest exhibit and the completion of the Whistler Question Digitization Project (you can read more about that here) we would like to invite everyone to join us and special guests Paul Burrows and Glenda Bartosh for appetizers and drinks at the Whistler Museum.

Featuring photographs from the Whistler Question Collection, this new exhibit captures the town of Whistler during a time of transition and rapid change.  Come and view the development of the resort and the growth of the community through nearly seven years worth of photos!

Get Involved In Your Community!

Are you looking to become more involved in the community? Want to get to know some of the most interesting people you will ever meet?  Perhaps you have lived here since before the village was built, or you may just be here for the season. The best way to get to know the community is to become a part of it by volunteering. Did you also know that volunteering is a great way of getting work experience?

Walking dogs, exploring Whistler’s history, handing out food to those in need, volunteering for exciting events, or helping people to find their way around the village – there are so many ways that you can get involved and have a blast doing it!

If you’re interested in volunteering, but aren’t sure what’s out there then come along to the third annual volunteer fair at MY Place, Tuesday, November 13th from 3-6pm. Representatives from  16 local groups will be there for you to meet, talk with and learn about all the diverse and interesting jobs that really need filling.

There will also be free snacks and a door prize of a gift basket of yummy goodies, generously provided by Upper Village Market.

Organizations signed up so far include:

  • Whistler Museum and Archives Society
  • Big Brothers, Big Sisters
  • Whistler Film Festival
  • Whistler Arts Council
  • Whistler Animals Galore
  • Village Hosts
  • Mature Action Committee
  • Whistler Community Services Society
  • Whistler Public Library
  • Whistler Museum and Archives Society
  • Whistler Sports Legacy Society
  • Howe Sound Women’s Centre
  • Whistler Singers
  • Youth Centre
  • Zero Ceiling
  • Whistler Adaptive Sports Program

This is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the community you are living in. Share your time and your talents to help a charity with the same passions you have. Volunteering is rewarding and fun!

When: Tuesday, November 13th from 3-6pm

Where: Maurice Young Millennium Place

Who: Everyone is welcome

Cost: Free