Tag Archives: Myrtle Philip

It’s Women’s History Month!

October may be more widely known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but in 1992 the Government of Canada also designated October as Women’s History Month to “celebrate the achievements and contributions of women and girls across the country and throughout our history.”

Though any month could have been selected, October includes two important dates: the International Day of the Girl on October 11 and Persons Day on October 18.

Persons Day commemorates the decision Edwards vs Canada (AG) – also known as the Persons Case.  On October 18, 1929, Canada’s highest court of appeal (which at the time was in England) ruled that women are considered “persons” under the British North America Act of 1867 and should be eligible for appointment to the Canadian Senate.

Countless women have contributed to Whistler’s community over the years.  Some, such as Myrtle Philip and Nancy Greene (whose own appointment to the Senate was made possible by the Persons Case), are well known while others are less acknowledged though no less important. To celebrate Women’s History Month we’ll be sharing the stories of a few of these women, beginning with a group of young women who first came to the valley in the 1950s.

(Left to right) Florence Strachan, Jacquie Pope, June Tidball, Fido, Betty Gray and Eunice “Kelly” Forster at their Witsend cottage in 1955.  Petersen Collection.

Eunice “Kelly” Forster, Better Gray, June Tidball, Jacquie Pope and Florence Strachan were all teachers in the Lower Mainland when they first visited Alta Lake.  Together, the five managed to purchase a lot along the railway from the Massons.  While the asking price was $2,500, the group was able to get a reduced price of $1,500 due to their obvious love of the area and offer to pay in cash.  This price included a furnished summer cottage, dock, rowboat and toolshed.

The cottage, named Witsend after a particularly long and rain-soaked voyage up from Vancouver, became the women’s summer home for the next 10 years.  In 1956, some of them even bought the lot next door.  Sadly, Witsend burned down in November 1965.

June Tidball sold her shares after the fire, but by this time most of the women had ties to Alta Lake and the others remained in the valley, at least part-time.  Kelly Forster had married Dick Fairhurst in 1958 (the same Dick Fairhurst who would later recall Paul Golnick) and moved to Cypress Lodge.  She and Dick were active members of the growing community and Cypress Lodge acted as the base for the Alta Lake Sailing Club.

Cypress Lodge as seen from the lake. Fairhurst Collection.

In 1965, Jacquie bought another lot on Alta Lake and, with help from friends, had a house built in 1965.  She kept this house, nicknamed the Vatican, until 2001 when she moved to Squamish.

This left Witsend and the other shared lot to Betty and Florence.  Betty kept the site of Witsend until 2000.  Next door, Florence had the lot cleared and a house built under the supervision of Andy Petersen.  She and Andy married in 1967.

Even before retiring and moving to the house on the lake permanently in 1983, Florence was active in many of the community groups in first Alta Lake and then later Whistler.

The Whistler Museum and Archives cookbook committee, April 1997: Janet Love-Morrison, Florence Petersen (founder of the Whistler Museum and Archives Society), Darlyne Christian and Caroline Cluer.  Petersen Collection.

In 1986 she founded the Whistler Museum & Archives Society and, with a group of volunteers, gathered the beginnings of our current collection.  While serving as a marriage commissioner Florence performed over 1,000 services.

In recognition of her volunteer contributions, Florence was made Citizen of the Year in 1986 and awarded the Freedom of the Municipality of Whistler in 2012, the second woman to receive this honour (the first was Myrtle Philip).  Florence passed away in 2012 and is remembered today in Florence Petersen Park.

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This Week In Photos: August 30

While every year is different, some weeks have a recurring event or theme that shows up year after year.  For this week, it would seem Whistler used to be taken over by Porsches and those who love them.

1978

The Chilliwack Motorcycle Sports Club visited Whistler this weekend and got some sunny weather for their travels.

An iconic Whistler structure: the Whistler Post Office.

And the Whistler Firehall.

Whistler Mountain was well represented at this recent tradeshow…

Which also featured the Avalauncher, a tool no ski hill can be without.

1979

Whistler Creek Lodge rises up as construction forges ahead.

Myrtle Philip casts her referendum ballot, supervised by Kris Shoup at the school on voting day.

New faces in the valley – Editor’s assistant Bob Este…

… and BC Ski Co-ordinator Dan Mathews.

“Porsche Party” at Alpine Way on Sunday!

1980

Windsurfers head out across Alta Lake as summer’s last few waning rays dapple the mountainside.

Don Willoughby puts out the remainder of a small fire in Blackcomb Estates.

This youngster visiting Pemberton’s favourite swimming hole is trying to forget that summer vacation is almost over.

1982

Murray Coates, marathon runner, and Myrtle Philip, Whistler legend.

Whistler’s in stride, Willie Whistler arrives at the awards ceremony for the First Annual Whistler Marathon Sunday, where he presented medals and prizes and entertained a crowd of over 200 runners and volunteers.

A slick new coat of asphalt has been a welcome addition to Alpine Meadows in recent weeks. Except for a few roads in the subdivision, paving will be completed by mid-September at a cost of $535,000.

Porsches, Porsches everywhere. Crowds of people wandered through more than 100 Porsches that congregated on Whistler Village Saturday for the Western Canada region of the Porsche Club of America’s Concours d’Elegance.

1983

Jack Jorgensen took the People’s Choice award for his immaculate 1957 Porsche 1600 Speedster. Jorgensen did all the restoration work on his car.

The Gambling Gourmet of Whistler got a first for costumes but placed out of the money for their chili during the 1983 Canadian Chili Championship at Westin Bayshore Saturday. It seems a picky judge didn’t like vegetables in chili. Oh well, there’s always next year. Congratulations to the Gambling Gourmet Team! Pictured here: Chef Ted Nebbeling, Susan Howard and Valerie Lang.

Kathie Hicks takes a break from dealing blackjack to the throngs of chili aficionados around the Whistler booth.

An Alpine Paving bulldozer tears up pavement on Village Stroll in preparation for drainage work. The paving company has promised the road will be reopened in time for the Fall Festival September 9.

1984

The Whistler Canoe Club hosted a brigade race on Alta Lake during the weekend with the women’s squad (Connie Kutyn, Trudy Alder, Margo Mathews, Sue Davidson, Bev Downie and Tracy Morben) beating the Richmond Fire Department Women’s Brigade Team by six minutes. The Whistler Men’s team (Ken Hardy, Mike Jakobson, Tim Malone, Frank Bartik, Preston Fritz and Brian Allen) came second to a Vancouver team.

Incumbent Conservative MP Lorne Greenaway passed through Whistler, and Tapley’s pub, Friday. Greenaway spent part of the morning and afternoon campaigning for Tuesday’s election.

Mayor Mark Angus was busy campaigning last Tuesday at an informal open house at Jan Holberg and Ted Nebbeling’s home on Alta Lake. D-Day for Angus and all the candidates is next Tuesday.

Friday’s Chamber of Commerce dinner dance at Dusty’s attracted just about every business person in Whistler for a night of socializing and dancing to the tunes of the Peter Carson Trio.

This car has been peering into the Soo Valley stream for a few years now.

District firemen sharpened their skills over the weekend in a course given by the Vancouver Fire Institute.

Porsches from all over the Pacific Northwest visited Whistler for the 4th Annual Porsche Weekend and Concours d’Elegance.

And you thought kids only carry ghetto blasters on their shoulders these days? This racoon was spotted roaming the village Saturday.

Walking Tour Season 2018

Ever found yourself lost in Whistler Village?  The unique flow of Whistler Village was actually one man’s specific intention!  On our one hour tour you can learn more about him and many others who have helped to shape Whistler as it is today.  As we wander through Whistler Village you’ll uncover Whistler’s start as a fishing lodge, tales behind the mountain development, and our long journey to the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The tour is approximately one hour long.  Each tour is led by a long-time local, each with their own personal knowledge to add to Whistler’s story.  Whether you’re visiting us, here to work for the season or have lived here for years we guarantee you’ll be sure to learn something new.  Do you know how Whistler and Blackcomb mountains got their names?  Or when the first Olympic bid was placed?  This is your chance to find out the answers to these questions and so many more!

Valley of Dreams Walking Tours occur every day at 11 am in June, July and August.  Meeting outside the Whistler Visitor Centre on Gateway Loop, these daily tours are offered by donation.

We are more than happy to provide private tours outside of these times or for groups.  Simply contact the museum to book a private tour, preferably at least a week in advance.  With sufficient notice we can also customize content and routes to meet your group’s specific interests and needs.
For all tour-related inquires please call the Whistler Museum at 604-932-2019 or visit us behind the library.

This Week In Photos: June 28

1978

Power lines dip treacherously after Sunday’s strong winds knocked large pieces of deadwood onto the line.

The district track meet in Squamish got lucky with its weather.

Someone was practicing their glass breaking at the liquor store last week. RCMP are investigating.

A new BBQ ready to be installed at Alta Lake Wayside Park.

Sarah, Wendy and Sid try to decide what to do with that nosy photographer during a party Friday.

1980

Arnold Palmer chats with the crowd towards the close of the official ceremony at the Whistler Golf Course.

A chopper spins and dips above Whistler benchlands as the lowest lift of the three chair north face lift system is installed from top down.

Casey Simpson, Eric Bredt, Devin Turner, Rachel Roberts, Corinne Valleau & Stephanie Simpson head out for their sprint with Terry Alway & Alex Marshall officiating.

Phase II Parcel 16 takes shape with Whistler Chairlift N-14 rising through the trees on the left.

Heavy Duty flat deck pulls out the last of two trailers that served as council chambers before Town Centre road construction forced the move.

1981

With a landscaped area, seed for lawn and new curbing in, Sunshine Place takes on a new look. Paving will add a finishing touch and should be completed by the end of July.

Myrtle Philip looks on as Greg Beauregard receives the first ever Myrtle Philip Award. Mother Pat smiles proudly.

Not to be outdone by the Myrtle Philip staff who were in last week’s paper, the staff from Signal Hill Elementary School in Pemberton pose for The Question.

Contestants for the Miss Pemberton Contest look on as BC Minister of Highways, Alex Fraser, explains the provincial grant for Pemberton Airport.

Madeline Domries and her pal Curly Jones wait with great expectations for their fourth prize at Dog Days in the Village Square.

Dressed up at the Alta Lake Community Club Roaring Twenties Pot Luck Dinner, left to right: Max Maxwell, Kelly Maxwell, Diane Smith and Ken Domries.

Susan McCance will run Whistler’s new daycare program.

1982

A chopper heads out with a bucket of water to help squelch the recent forest fire in Cheakamus.

Jan Naylor displays some of the strawberries now ready for picking at the Naylor Berry Farm 3 km north of Pemberton.

Stubborn as a mule! In spite of the efforts of the ‘D’Arcy Prospectors’ this donkey refused to cross the BCR tracks during the Pemberton Parade in celebration of Canada week.

New stop signs often get ignored so the municipality placed reminders in front of this sign on the intersection of Rainbow, Matterhorn and Camino Drive.

Not even the rain stopped these kids from a practice paddle on Alta Lake for the Whistler Country Guides Kids Races. Bad weather postponed the races to Saturday, July 3 at 9:30 at Wayside Park.

1983

Long-time Whistler residents Paul Mathews and Margot Sutcliffe shared a smile on their wedding day Saturday, June 25 at Whistler. Over 150 guests joined the celebration at the Sundial Restaurant.

This house has found its new home on the streets of Whistler.

Round and round and round they danced in celebration of summer. Whistler’s first Midsummer Fest, June 25-26, caught the imagination of hundreds, whether they were Scandinavian or not.

Toni Sailer, six-time Olympic gold medalist, comes to Whistler from Austria every year to run the ski camp.

Dave Murray and Floyd Wilkie have a pre-session consultation at the base of the t-bar.

The Tapley’s Pub softball team poses for a group photo.

Ken Harrop of Singapore Airlines showed his staff and took to the air Saturday during the obstacle race – part one of the three-part Battle of the Travel Stars. Thirty-seven travel agents took part in the two-day fun-filled FAM tour of Whistler.

1984

Scandinavian dancers and musicians filled the village over the weekend for traditional Midsummer festivities. Saturday and Sunday afternoon dancers in garb of the old country whirled about Village Square to folk tunes.

Pemberton Mayor Shirley Henry officially opened the Pemberton Museum Saturday with help from West Vancouver-Howe Sound MLA John Reynolds and his wife Yvonne. Museum curator Margaret Fougberg says most of the collection, which features artifacts dating from the 1860s until the 1950s, was donated by townspeople. The museum building itself has a long history. It was built around 1895 and has been moved twice. It’s permanent location is on Prospect Street in Pemberton.

Whistler Mountains’ miniature golf course at the gondola opened last week and immediately attracted a steady following. The 18-hole course costs $2 a round for adults, $1 for children and is open all day.

Grade seven students went on a computer tour Friday, visiting municipal computers, Twin Peaks Property Management computers and the phototypesetting systems used by the Whistler Question. Pauline Wiebe, Question typesetter, shows students how the machine works.

Early Dining, Whistler Style

whistler picnic copy

The first Alta Lake Community Club picnic in 1923 was a chance for residents to share a meal. Photo: Philip Collection

Whistler hasn’t always been a resort town. In the 1920s and 30s, Whistler was a a collection of permanent and part-time residents on the shores of Alta Lake. In those days, storing and preparing food was a little different than it is today. There were no grocery stores- instead, most food and supplies were brought up on a train from Vancouver, that came once every two weeks. Residents depended on this supply train for their meat and other essentials into the 50s. Since the deliveries were so infrequent, the food needed to be well-stored. Florence Petersen and the others living at her cabin, Witsend, kept their meat and butter fresh in a crock- a hole dug in the ground about three feet deep, lined with planking, which kept the food cool and the bugs out in the hot summer. Some residents, such as Bill MacDermott, used an ice box to keep meat fresh. Ice was cut from one of the lakes in February and stored year-round in an ice house, insulated with sawdust. Eleanor Kitteringham, who lived in Parkhurst with her family, remembers using a sawdust-filled root cellar, under the kitchen. “Later on, we got a fridge run by kerosene,” she recalls. “It was beautiful.”

wmuseum-food-article

Canned food kept for long periods and was easy to store and serve- even on top of a mountain. Photo: Carter Collection

The only other ways for families to get their food besides the train were to make it, grow it, or buy local. Trout and salmon could be fished from the lakes, and ducks and deer caught in the woods. Most people kept vegetable gardens, and picked blackberries and blueberries in the summer. Phil and Dorothy Tapley owned a farm on Alta Lake, with an orchard, cows, chickens, and turkeys. As well, Alfred and Daisy Barnfield ran a summer dairy farm, and sold milk to the locals, which Alfred and his son Fred delivered in a dugout canoe. Many prospectors also brewed their own beer.  Like most area mothers at the time, Eleanor Kitteringham baked her own bread, and remembers making ten loaves every other week. She baked it in a big sawdust-burning stove, which used up as many as eight pails of sawdust a day.

myrtle cooking copy

In Whistler’s early days, trail cooking was an important skill. Photo: Myrtle Philip

Some creativity and flexibility were often needed to get everyone fed. Bannock, was a popular food- an unleavened bread traditional to Indigenous people and adapted with the introduction of European flour and cooking tools. The usual recipe required only water, flour, and lard, which could be mixed together and pan-fried for a quick meal on the trail, providing fat and carbohydrates inexpensively and easily.  Both J’Anne Greenwood and Louise Betts Smith, residents of the valley in the 30s, made a buttermilk chocolate cake with sour milk as one of it’s ingredients- a good way to get the most out of your milk, even if it had curdled. Many recipes were also used that worked around the occasional inavailability of eggs and dairy. Edna Stockdale’s Oatmeal Cookies consisted mainly of margarine, oats, and sugar.

Many also employed some unconventional cooking methods, such as Alta Lake resident Kokomo Joe, who was known to make a meal of soup and toast with his airtight heater. He would set the soup on top to boil, and stick the bread to the heater’s sides. You knew the toast was done when it fell off. Says Dick Fairhurst, “A lot of [people] copied him, but we put something on the floor to catch the toast.”

Looking Back On A Busy Year

A special thank you to everyone that came out to our annual general meeting (AGM) held last Wednesday, June 13 to reflect on 2017 (and eat some salmon and salad).  It’s always great to see everybody and to hear from our members!

Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the Whistler Museum & Archives Society, and it was our busiest year or record.

The museum’s story begins when early pioneer Myrtle Philip and Cypress Lodge owner Dick Fairhurst confessed to Florence Petersen, a retired school teach who started coming to the valley in 1955, their worry that Whistler’s early days would soon be forgotten.  Florence eased their fears by promising them that their stories would be remembered and, true to her word, Florence founded the Whistler Museum & Archives as a charitable non-profit society.

Florence Petersen (left) and Myrtle Philip (right) enjoying a joke together.

Since incorporating on February 12, 1987, the museum’s basic function has been to collect and preserve the history of the Whistler Valley and to display and disseminate information about Whistler’s history and its role in the greater society of British Columbia and Canada.

Last year was the busiest year in the museum’s history in terms of exhibit visits, with a 9.2% growth over 2016 (another record year).  During this period, the museum started developing temporary exhibits using our programming space in the rear of the museum.

Florence Petersen with the new sign for the Whistler Museum and Archives building in Function Junction, opened in 1988.

Temporary exhibits we developed in 2017 include Mountaineering in the Coast Mountains; Collecting Chili Thom; Whistler Question: A Photographic History 1978-1985; The Evolution of Ski Film Technology; and People of Whistler with Eric Poulin.

Paul Burrows speaks to a packed house at the opening of The Whistler Question: A Photographic History.

We had another strong year for our events and programming.  Programs included favourites like our Valley of Dreams Walking Tours (June through August, back again this summer!), Speaker Series events, Mountain Bike Heritage Week, Nature 101 seminars, multiple children’s crafts events, our 21st annual LEGO competition, and school field trip visits.

We also expanded our Discover Nature program at Lost Lake to include an additional day.  Discover Nature featured a manned booth in Lost Lake Park all summer, with interactive natural history displays and scheduled interpretive nature walks.

The touch table at Discover Nature during a chilly day in the summer.

Visitor numbers have continued to increase through the first half of 2018 and we hope that trend will persist through what is sure to be a busy summer.  Still to come are more temporary exhibits and programs for children and adults and planning continues for a new facility in the coming years.

Having limited physical space for our exhibits, we have to rely heavily on our web presence, social media and this very column to help share Whistler’s narratives.  We plan on using these platforms to keep sharing stories and we hope you all enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy researching and writing them.

One of the many photos that have been featured on our social media. Here the Rainbow Ski Jump before it was pulled down in 1984.

A big thank you to everyone who has visited our exhibits, attended our events, read our stories, and otherwise helped spread the word about Whistler’s fascinating heritage.

This Week In Photos: June 7

This week begins and ends with Myrtle Philip in the Myrtle Philip School gym, with quite a lot that happened in between.

1980

Myrtle Philip, the valley’s long-time resident, met Dana Parker-McLain, one of the valley’s newest, at the Community Club’s Potluck dinner.

Logging truck and cargo lies strewn along the highway after sliding over 150 yards around a corner only 1/2 mile south of the Gondola area.

Whistler Parlour Group… Beth Pipe, Diane Smith, Candy Rustad, Brenda Dunbar and Pat Beauregard.

Heather Muir and Morag Marshall with ‘Safety Bear’ Hansen at the school.

Big office… small desk! Blackcomb’s accountant Larry Osborne sits behind his temporary desk in a deserted Blackcomb trailer.

1981

Hello! Macauley Nicolls Maitland manager Debbie Teigen smiles as she finally gets her office phone after 5 months of waiting.

New Fire Chief Wayne Schepull stands with the Whistler Volunteer Fire Department at their first meeting together on June 4.

Looking down on the Village Square and some of the 70 motorcycles that were parked there on Sunday.

Craig Tomlinson playing one of his hand-crafted dulcimers.

This is the first motorist to miss the approach curve to the Culliton Creek Bailey bridge. The accident occurred on June 6.

1983

A semi-permanent abode graces the shores of Green Lake in a makeshift campground on private property. Bottles, remnants of campfires and dirty pans litter the ground in this otherwise beautiful setting.

Weigh, hey, up she rises… Cranes hoist the 18-ton concrete spans into place over 19 Mile Creek June 1 in preparation for the new bridge. December ’81 floods washed out the old wooden bridge, severing Valley Drive in Alpine Meadows.

Pause awhile in Whistler Village the next sunny day and you’ll hear this group of young musicians perform a wide variety of selections. (L-R) Jennifer Porter, Cal McConnell, Connie Carver, Dan Cushing, and Frank Mallany are a part of a federal government student employment program run by the WRA. In addition to displaying their musical talents these young people will be offering village tours, working at the new information booth and helping at special events.

Ray Lyman, band director of Seaton Secondary School from Vernon, was pleased to present Whistler’s Molly Boyd with a band booster award for the services she rendered in bringing the group to Whistler. Band members and audiences alike braved cold winds to share a top-rated concert of big band sounds.

Chips fly where they may as Jud Forster (left) and Stan Hammond prepare red cedar logs for a carport in Whistler Cay Heights being built by Hammond and Davies Log Builders.

Mike Sweeney (seated) of Vancouver’s Whitecaps soccer team signs a few autographs at Myrtle Philip School sports banquet Thursday.

1984

Thirty-one students graduated from Pemberton Secondary Friday night, including Scott Logue of Whistler who received the Governor General’s Bronze Medal for academics from school Superintendent Trevor Harris. More than 500 people attended the commencement ceremonies at the Pemberton school, making it the second largest annual event in the town next to the Christmas concert at Signal Hill Elementary. Logue, also class valedictorian, was among three local students who received awards. Rob O’Keefe was awarded the Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation bursary, and the Alta Lake Community Club picked Rob Boyd as this year’s recipient of its bursary.

Whistler’s branch of the North Shore Community Credit Union opened on Friday, just two months after it was approved. By 11 am Friday a line-up was formed, and on Saturday the credit union had 150 new members. Credit union President Susan Burdak (left) spoke to the crowd at Saturday’s official opening.

Cecile Valleau is Whistler’s newest postmistress. She was promoted to the position May 22, taking over from Debbie Cliffe, who was transferred to the Agassiz post office. Valleau has worked at the Whistler post office since 1979 and is a 15-year valley resident.

Skiing may be over for the year, but work on Whistler Mountain still continues. At the end of each season all the chairs, including those on Olive Chair, are taken off the cables, checked and then moved to a different spot to prevent metal stress. As well, the metal clamps holding the chair to the cable periodically undergo magnetic tests for cracks.

The venerable Myrtle Philip drew the winning ticket Thursday in a draw for a Molson World Downhill poster signed by the Canadian downhill team. Assisted by Glen Rustad (right), Whistler’s grandmother chose Bill Carson’s ticket. Proceeds from the draw went to the Whistler Singers, which performed Thursday at the elementary school accompanied by the students. The show, which ended in a standing ovation for orchestrator Molly Boyd, featured musical performances by kids on recorder, guitar and ukulele.