Tag Archives: Myrtle Philip School

Celebrating Myrtle Philip Day

You might not have heard of it, but this Monday, March 19 is a holiday unique to Whistler.  On March 10, 1986 the council of the day voted to declare March 19 “Myrtle Philip Day” in honour of Myrtle Philip’s 95th birthday.

Myrtle and Alex Philip first came to the Whistler valley, then still known as Alta Lake, in 1911 and opened Rainbow Lodge in 1914.  Over the next 30 years their success at Rainbow Lodge helped turn Alta Lake into a summer destination.  When the pair sold the lodge in 1948 they had planned to move on but, like many who came after them, they never quite left.

Myrtle and Alex Philip stand outside Rainbow Lodge in the 1930s. Philip Collection.

After Alex’s death in 1968, Myrtle remained at her cottage on Alta Lake and continued to take an active part in community life.  She moved into Hilltop House in Squamish for only the last few years of her life.

Recognizing Myrtle’s birthday was nothing new for Whistler: almost every year her birthday celebrations were reported in the local papers, including The Whistler Question and The Citizen of Squamish.  Myrtle’s 90th was marked by a grad celebration at Myrtle Philip School attended by about 200 well wishers, including her two sisters and nephews and nieces.  The students of the school presented Myrtle with 90 daffodils and the Gourmet Bakery prepared a 99-inch cake for the occasion.  Presentations were also made by Pat Carleton, the Whistler Rotary Club, the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, School Board Chairman Jim McDonald and the staff of Myrtle Philip School.  Pat Beauregard, on behalf of the Alta Lake Community Club, presented a plaque representing the newly created “Myrtle Philip Award,” awarded each year to a student demonstrating academic excellence.  This award is still presented today.

89-year old Myrtle Philip cuts her birthday cake at her party.  Whistler Question Collection.

Given the community’s respect for Whistler’s “First Lady,” it is no surprise that her 95th birthday warranted her very own day.  This was not, however, the first Myrtle Philip Day celebrated in Whistler.

On October 13, 1974, friends, former guests of Rainbow Lodge and others who knew Myrtle gathered at the still-standing Rainbow Lodge to remember their days at Alta Lake.  Officially called “Myrtle Philip, This Is Your Life” day, the event was described as a “time when old friends and former guests of Rainbow return to the lodge” for a party that lasted from the train’s arrival to its departure.  The railway even planned to reserve an “old-time railway coach” to transport the party guests.

Myrtle Philip and Mayor Mark Angus celebrate her 93rd birthday. Philip Collection.

The official declaration of “Myrtle Philip Day” in 1986 was only one of the gifts Whistler gave Myrtle that year.  She also received a birthday cake, flowers, gift baskets and even a special Myrtle Philip cookie from Germain’s.  Tapley’s, which bears her family’s name, put up a birthday banner for the day and Mayor Terry Rodgers made a trip to see Myrtle in Squamish.

Unfortunately, this was also Myrtle’s last birthday.  That summer she died of complications following a stroke and was buried in the Whistler Cemetery.  The community continued to celebrate Myrtle Philip Day, hosting fundraisers and handing out birthday cake in her honour.


This Week in Photos: March 15

Not all weeks in the Whistler Question Collection have similar coverage.  Some weeks include only a handful of photos while others have hundreds.  For the most part, larger events mean more photos.

In March 1984 Whistler hosted its second successful World Cup Downhill.  This week in 1984 includes over 600 photographs –  though we’ve only included five in this post, all can be viewed here.


89-year old Myrtle Philip cuts her birthday cake at her party.

The site of the Mountain Inn in the town centre showing the forms waiting for the work to start again.

MAN, DOG & MOUNTAIN – Patroller Bruce Watt with his rescue dog Radar at the top of Whistler.


A year later – Myrtle Philip just before her 90th birthday.

More Sunshine shots – the Whistler Village businesses enjoy the outdoor crowds on yet another sunny weekend. Tapley’s…

… Stoney’s…

… and Russell’s.


Kids are put through the hoops at Blackcomb Mountain ‘Kids Kamp’.

Ministry of Transport employee surveys traffic flow March 13 to help determine parking needs in Whistler.

Winners’ ribbons light up (L to R) Michael Hofmann, Laura Armstrong and Aaron Gross at the cake-decorating contest, one of the many carnival festivities at Myrtle Philip School Friday, March 12.

No, it’s not a tug-of-war – students at Myrtle Philip School team up to take John Crewman for a real ride during the dog-sled event during the winter carnival.

Another sunny weekend on the patio of Stoney’s.

Taking a break, and enjoying the spring air. Umberto Menghi still has a smile despite having one leg shackled in a cast. Umberto broke his leg while skiing.


Megan Armstrong, Jim Parson and Sue Boyd, winners in Whistler Challenge Series. The question is who keeps the attractive wooden trophy?

Vancouver’s hottest R&B band. The Lincolns, will be rockin’ it up at Stumps lounge in the Delta Mountain Inn until March 19.

Every wonder why they’re called SANDwiches? Cliff Jennings chose a nice sunny lunch hour Friday, March 11 to try out the new sweeper attachment on this golf course vehicle. Several munchers were kind of choked up.

The new Heritage Canada sign by Charlie Doyle.

Who knew porcupine chew television lines?

Behind the counter and waiting to serve you at the Rainbow Grocer are new owners (L to R) Dale Trudgeon, Lynn Trudgeon and Earl Grey (missing and on meat run is Cal Schacter). The store, located at the Gulf Service Station, is open from 10 am until 7 pm each day and until 0 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Step in for fresh meats and seafoods and ask them about freezer packs.


Several thousand people travelled from the gondola base to Whistler Village Sunday to see downhill winners Bill Johnson (US), Helmut Hoeflehner (Austria) and Pirmin Zurbriggen (Switzerland) receive their soapstone sculptured trophies.

Todd Brooker, along with the rest of the Canadian downhill team, visited Myrtle Philip School last Wednesday, and in between signing autographs Brooker gave a short speech.

A playful Expo Ernie floated high and mighty above all the excitement in the Village Square beer garden Thursday. After a magnificent Voodoo jet fly-past, Expo Ernie and hundreds of others paraded down to Mountain Square for the official opening ceremonies of the Molson World Downhill.

Standing room only was no exaggeration both Friday and Saturday night in the festival tent. Doug & The Slugs put on their best side for Winterfest – both nights sold out, and estimates are that 2,000 danced their way through the tent Saturday.

Just a few plates of antipasto were served for the 116 guests at Saturday’s Grand Ball in Myrtle Philip School. Diners paid $125 each for the five-course dinner, with proceeds going to help defray Winterfest Society expenses.

This Week In Photos: March 8

One of the best part of the Whistler Question Collection is that it shows different sides of Whistler as a developing resort, including skiing, contests, parties, school events, construction and scenes of everyday life.


Toni Sailer runs the Molson World Cup Downhill course on Tuesday.

Toni Sailer and Nancy Greene-Raine on the World Cup Downhill course.

A Beetle is carted out of Creekside.

One of the Tantalus Creations seamstresses at work on a vest, part of a line of custom ski wear.


Construction continues in Whistler Village despite the snow on the ground.

The new Public Service building has its finishing touches added and new cells installed, currently unoccupied.

Myrtle Philip pays a visit to a class at Myrtle Philip School, sharing photos and tales of her early days in the valley.

‘Downhill’ Bill Gregory leads a group of cross country skiers down the water town hill in the Fischer Cup.

Myrtle Philip teachers & parents prepare the climbing apparatus for the PE workshop on March 8.


The lineup at the bottom of Whistler Mountain looks like it could use a little more snow, or any snow at all.

It’s not the usual slalom course you see in Whistler, but that didn’t stop this group of kayakers.

The crowd gets out onto the dance floor at Club 10.

Mayor Pat Carleton (centre) congratulates Michel Segur (left) and Jean-Jacques Aaron on the opening of their new club.

How many people can you fit in one hot tub? Looks like we’re going to find out.


Guide Mike Jackobson heads the pack as the powder skiers make tracks on an open slope near Bralorne.

All that remained of the lower portion of the Blackcomb skiers bridge that collapsed Saturday, March 6 injuring two.

Action! Fitness instructor Sue Worden pedals her heart out for Action BC testing Saturday, March 6 while Kevin Ponnock, fitness consultant, records pulse rate. The government-sponsored program includes flexibility training and a diet analysis so that participants can asses their fitness level.

Don Armour (seated) and Peter Zandon give the new WRA computer system a workout. The computer is a major step towards co-ordinating reservations throughout Whistler.


A new sound wafted through the air of Whistler Village Saturday, March 5 thanks to Otto Baumann and his Alp horn. The horns were originally designed to call cattle home or signal nearby neighbours. Baumann, 25, a native of Lucern Switzerland, made this horn himself. It measures 12 feet in length.

At it again! Blackcomb and Whistler Mountain staff squared off for the second round (actually there’s been far more than two rounds guzzled in this competition) of their boat races.

Doc Fingers and the Gortex Blues Band kept the crowd on their feet at the Canadian Telemark Team Benefit, Sunday March 6 at Bullets Cabaret. (L-R) Robin Ferrier, Doc Fingers and Jack Levin belt it out for the full house. Not shown is Ferrier’s crutch – supporting his ankle, broken March 4 scant days before the telemark racing season really gets underway.

Foot in the Door titillates the telemarkers at the Canadian Telemark Team Benefit held at Bullets Cabaret Sunday. (L-R) Mark Schnaidt, Craig Barker, Charlie Doyle and Rocco Bonito helped the team net $500 toward sending the team to races in Colorado.

M. Robert Gourdin, North American sales rep for Moet et Chandon and Hennessy Cognac, topped off this $24,000 tower of Baccaret crystal glasses with a few bottles of bubbly during a special presentation at Delta Mountain Inn March 3. And how to open a bottle of champagne on such a special occasion? Why, with a Napoleonic sabre, of course.


A typewriter graveyard? No, these are just a small part of the many tons of equipment, from pencils to lasers, being used for Molson World Downhill coordination.

It was a tough choice for judges at Saturday’s air band contest. The contest, held at Stumps in conjunction with the Volvo Ski Show, featured four bands. The Energy Pals, a duo, eventually won and took home two pairs of Blizzard skis. In second place were The Superbs followed by the five-member Culture Club.


This Week in Photos: March 1


The new Whistler Village model on display at the Village display suite adjacent to Municipal Hall.

The Molson World Cup course workers enjoy a little R&R courtesy of Molson’s after a hard day’s work on the course.

The line waiting to get up Whistler Mountain in Creekside.

An aerial view of Flute Basin.

Slim Fougberg was honoured at a school board event in Pemberton. The evening included speeches, dinner and skits.


University school break results in record mid-week crowds.

Developer Peter Gregory and Architect Archambault show plans for the 316 room Mountain Inn (today the Hilton).

Not a Corral! This new fenced area outside L’Après is just the extension of the patio area in readiness for the spring season.

Oops! Warm wet weather caused the snow to slide off this Telemark roof and flatten the wagon parked below.

Carved lions guard the hotel entrance of the newly completed Whistler Creek Lodge.


Local Brownies and Guides gathered at Myrtle Philip School.

The first skiers come off the Whistler Village Chair on February 28. You might be wondering where all the snow got to.

Dr. Rob Burgess, Dr. Christine Rodgers, Howie Goldsmid and Bill Hooson at the hospital meeting.

The Tapley’s crowd enjoy a few brews in the sun on Sunday, March 1. Photo by Greg D’Amico.


On the job, the LTI truck proves its worth at Whistler West fire.

The Molson World Downhill came to Whistler, bringing thousands of spectators to the resort along with it.

Gr… Grrrgreat gorillas, Batman! Some people went just plain ape over the World Cup at Whistler.

Sold Out! Hungry ski fans eager to meet the competitors in the World Downhill race polished off the sauerkraut and sausages in record time Thursday. (L-R) Louise Zinsli, Jenny Busdon, Evelyn Cullen and Trudy Gruetzke of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce display the leftovers.

Thousands upon thousands of spectators jam Whistler Village Square for the World Cup presentations.

A torchlight parade makes its way down Whistler Mountain.

Tony Fernandez, R.6 Herron and Danno Five-O rock the socks off a packed house at Myrtle Philip School Saturday, February 27.

Doug Bennett and fellow slugs gave the crowd what they paid for and more during two performances at the Longhorn.


The last girders are in place on the new Culliton Creek bridge. Now it can stand on its own concrete feet. Highways crews now must put on decking, pave approaches and cut the ribbon before the span opens to traffic this spring. Though you can’t tell from this photo, this bridge is famously orange.

Stre-e-e-tch in all directions in this lycra and cotton cross-country ski suit modelled by Shelley Nichol at a fashion show at Sundial Restaurant Thursday. The display was put on for the WRA by Virginiga Meachin of Whistler Cross-Country Ski Centre and featured fashions from Carlsberg’s, Inge’s, The Downhill Shop, Whistler Village Sports, Village Traditions, Brick Shirt House and Whistler Tops.

Brownies from Barbados offer food and facts about their country at Myrtle Philip School Monday, February 28.

“Hold’er newt!” Cress Walker and Paul Clark inch their just-built Dash 34 sailboat out of the warehouse in preparation for launch day Monday, February 28. It was a tight squeeze but it came out just as it went in – barely.


The Baxter Group’s Gondola Village has sprouted up like mushrooms at the gondola base during the past four months. Cranes continue to put the finishing touches to 245 units included in the project.

Export “A” Cup racers milled around the time board Wednesday to find out how they placed in the downhill but almost everyone was surprised when unheralded Steven Lee from Australia emerged as the victor.

Jack Demidoff points to the spot where he and his hoe smashed through the ice on Nita Lake.

Skateboarder Harry Hovatha of Victoria does a 360 aboard his Austrian-made Swingbo, a skateboard on skis that sells for about $400 and was recently introduced to the Canadian market. Hovatha was with a group of skateboarders who visited Whistler last week on a promotional tour. But they couldn’t use Whistler Mountain lifts because of provincial lift regulations.


This Week in Photos: February 22


The crowds begin to arrive – the Olive Chair loading area on Thursday.

Blizzard! The scene looking down the Green Chair during the snowstorm on Tuesday.

The shed at Mons the day after firefighters were on the scene attempting to put out the blaze.


Election day in the Myrtle Philip School gym.

Two of the many Japanese ski writers who have been visiting Whistler lately – From Skier Magazine in Tokyo (l to r) Photographer ‘Dragon’, Writer ‘Ando’, and Toshi Hamazaki of Whistler.

The new “guard rails” installed to protect the Lift Company office windows from skis.

No diplomatic immunity here – Mons prepares to tow away the Question truck from the lift base.


Students at Myrtle Philip School take a look at cameras through the ages.

Nancy Green, Prime Minister Trudeau and Hugh Smythe spend the day taking in Blackcomb.

The Prime Minister was also taken on a tour of the construction sites of Whistler Village.

An unusually bright and empty view of the bar at Tapley’s.

Whistler Mountain’s Franz Wilhelmsen and Peter Alder watch proudly as Whistler’s Black Chair carries passengers for the first time this season on February 21.


Search and Rescue Squadron 422 from Comox dropped into Whistler last week for a mountain rescue training session.

Stretching, an essential when preparing for a race.

A few Crazy Canucks share a laugh at Dave Murray’s retirement part at Myrtle Philip School.

The first test run of the fire department’s latest addition proved it could be instrumental in putting out high level fires such as the one at Whistler Village Inn January 13.

Long before they started making snow at Olympic Plaza snow piles have provided endless amusement.

A parking attendant’s dream… This giant tow truck pulled into town the other day – and quickly pulled out again, much to the relief of nearby parking violators.


Soaking up the sun (l to r) Rosilyn and Marlin Arneson and Bill Bode of Washington State relax before calling it a day Monday, February 21 after the first really warm one on Whistler Mountain.

Sjaan DiLalla tries out one of the ranges in one of the 29 “studio lofts” in the recently opened Crystal Lodge.

First place team members in the Team Supreme competition. The event, held at Blackcomb February 20, raised $2,400 for the BC Disabled Skiers Association.

Seppo Makinen and Sam Alexander discuss Whistler’s proposed new Zoning Bylaw No. 303 with Assistant Municipal Planner Cress Walker.

Cross-country skiers set off on the Whistler Cross-Country Marathon which was held over a 20km route Sunday, February 20.


Art ’85 was hosted in the gym of Myrtle Philip School this past weekend.

During an introductory press conference Sunday at Crystal Lodge, Todd Brooker (far left) introduces members of the Canadian Men’s Alpine Team: (l to r) Felix Belcyzk, Chris Kent, Paul Boivin, Chris McIver and Jim Kirby.

Canadian blues man Long John Baldry and crew crank it out at The Longhorn Sunday.

Jan Seger, Ski instructor, White Gold resident.


This Week in Photos: February 8

You might have noticed that while the Whistler Question Collection covers the years 1978 – 1985 not all years are shown in This Week in Photos.  The simple explanation is that the photos for some weeks are missing, damaged or in the possession of the photographer.  We’re looking forward to April when we can start sharing more photos of 1978 and 1984!


And they’re off! At the mass start of the Molson Cup race held in Whistler recently.

Whistler hockey players faced the Budget team on Wednesday night and made the front page of the paper!

The new sign at the White Gold Inn (better known today as Whistler’s beloved Boot and Shoestring Lodge) was recently damaged by vandals. After this picture was taken, it was further vandalized.

A red tag and bylaw notice posted on Whistler Vale buildings.

The children’s corner at the new Pemberton Library promises to be well used.


You can’t really tell, but this was the brand new powder blue RCMP vehicle in the valley!

1924-style swimmer Grace at the Pemberton Teachers Frolic – though the costumes look great, what the teachers were up to is anyone’s guess.

Cross country enthusiast Nello Busdon carefully waxes his skis before heading out on the Lost Lake Trail.


THE stop sign in Whistler Village – a newsworthy addition to town.

New Whistler pharmacist Neil Massoud at work in Whistler United Pharmacy.

The Sears catalogue store in Pemberton on the Perkins property that was used up until February 10.

Gay Parker-McCain with baby Dana at the ‘Well Baby Clinic’ with Public Health Nurse Marilyn McIvor.

Manager Rob Nelms stands behind the remodelled bar at Dino’s, now open for business!


The official map of Whistler Village as of 1982. Can you tell what’s still to come?

Competitors are photographed twice in the Pacific Western ProTour held on Blackcomb Mountain.

Vancouver’s Hellenic dancers perform at L’Apres’ Greek Night on February 5.

Ken Thornton of Tapley’s Pub soaks up a few rays while catching up on a little news during Whistler’s recent sunny spell.

Dogcatcher Geoff Playfair who is having a busy time with the Whistler strays.

A snowy view of the Husky and Creekside.


Wowee – it was a hot time in the old town with the swoons and tunes of Vancouver’s R&B All Stars who cranked up the energy level in Delta’s Stumps Lounge to maximum enjoyment last weekend.

A face from yesteryear – Scott Paxton, who worked at The Keg at the Mountain many years ago when it was located in Whistler Cay has now resurfaced at the new Keg as the official “bunmaster”. Paxton and fellow employees geared up for the opening night at The Keg Friday, February 4 for another era of Keg lovers.

Guy Labelle connects one of the power hook ups being installed in the overnight parking lot to make life a little more comfortable for Whistler’s RV visitors. While partial services are now available, full-service pads may be a long time coming.

Heading for the finish must be lot easier when you’ve got wings!

The Brandywine Inn display suite developed a bit of a list as it was being moved off its foundations February 3. Nickel Brothers house movers recovered the situation by jacking up the building and rearranging a wooden ramp which had collapsed under it. The house was enrolee to High Forest.

Mitch Sulkers, Snowcat crew, Blackcomb. Those who answered the Question’s weekly question had their portraits published, often with their occupation and neighbourhood of residence.


Corporate Cup teams ran, hopped, slid and jumped through an obstacle course wearing snowshoes Saturday at Myrtle Philip School.

Ken Domries (right) shows Paul Grilles (middle) and Glen Mitchell how to operate the Whistler Volunteer Fire Department’s ladder truck. The $20,000 LTI pumps out 4,500 litres a minute of water and is usually operated by a five-man crew.

Whistler Mountain day skiers stand in line Saturday for refunds after the power to the north side lift system went out of commission. Inconvenienced skiers were given refunds, food vouchers and hot drinks while the mountain’s staff coaxed the lifts into operation again.

Grand prize winner, Paul Burrows (right), receives his pair of Blizzard Quattro skis from Nigel Woods, president of Coastal Mountain. Unfortunately, the caption for this photo failed to mention what the prize was for.


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.