Tag Archives: Pierre Trudeau

This Week In Photos: October 18

As we get further into each year we’re looking forward to seeing when the first snow fell.  This week photos of snow in the valley turned up in 1982, 15 days later than 2018’s first snow on October 2.

1979

Tuesday night craft class – one of the many Adult Education courses currently being offered at the Myrtle Philip School. Left to right: Inge Neilsen, Jenny Busdon, Ruth Howells, Marilyn Willoughby and Kelly Fairhurst.

The logging truck that burned near Green Lake on Thursday.

Whistler Creek Lodge showing where the worker fell off the roof on Friday.

Cartoonist Tom Thomson stands in front of his cabin in White Gold Estates with the sign put up by the Whistler realtors in answer to his cartoon of September 26.

Edith Iles (right) makes her speech before giving Gay Guthrie the “Endurance Award”.

1980

Fire Chief Lindsay Wilson shows the Myrtle Philip kindergarten class the workings of one of the Whistler fire trucks. The visit was in recognition of National Fire Prevention Week.

The town shapes up! The addition of curbs and paving in front of the town centre approach really sets it off against the new snow on the mountains behind.

Long weekend parking problem! New curbs create a traffic problem outside the Whistler liquor store on Saturday just before closing.

The view of the Whistler United Pharmacy, now open for business in the Blackcomb Professional Building in the centre of Whistler Village.

Whistler’s first paved ski area parking lot! Grandview Blacktop crew paves the day skier parking lot in front of the base area daylodge.

This giant saw blade decorated and donated by Germaine Degenhardt is one of the prizes to be sold off at the Pemberton Lions Club auction on Thursday, October 23.

1982

A Whistler wonderland appeared overnight Sunday, October 17 with the season’s first snow in the valley.

DeMolay youngsters take full advantage of the first snow of the season and run through a very crisp game of flag football Sunday.

The world was someone’s living room – so who needs a TV when you can sit and watch the crowds stroll by in the municipal parking lot.

Newcomers and old-timers enjoyed tea and nibbles at the second annual Welcome to Whistler Tea put on by the Alta Lake Community Club in Blackcomb Lodge Sunday.

Whistler Council shows the signs of a gruelling three-hour public hearing held to discuss bylaws for the equestrian centre October 18.

Rich Miller outside Granny’s Food Emporium, which will open in Whistler November 1.

Pierre Trudeau, insulation contractor, Alpine Meadows.

1983

Connie Kutyn dismantles the stage in Village Square that helped feature entertainers all summer long. She and Al Bosse built it earlier this spring.

Two friends watch from the stands…

… as their classmates get started in the meet.

Winners of the Fire Prevention Week poster contest are, left to right: Madeleine Demries (gr. 3), Nicola Dedeluk (gr. 6), Jocelyn Willoughby (kindergarten) and Rachel Roberts (gr. 5), all students at Myrtle Philip Elementary School.

Building a log cabin is traditional work using a minimum number of modern conveniences. David Stary chisels a section to fit precisely the log beneath.

Whistler residents were delighted Wednesday to hear of $7.8 million worth of completion plans for the long empty convention centre. Plans for the building include a completely refurbished roof, atrium, theatre and tall, bright banners to orient visitors to its location.

1984

Part of the aftermath of last week’s severe flooding in Pemberton.

Farmer Tom Kempter lost close to 150 tonnes of hay when flood waters destroyed it last week. Kempter lost two-thirds of his winter feed for his livestock.

Tracy Comber was one of the many Whistler volunteers who flocked to Pemberton to help with the massive clean-up job. She helped with cleaning equipment at the flood-ravaged Pemberton High School which sustained about $500,000 in damage.

Whistler’s slo-pitch league almost became snow pitch this season, but Stoney’s pulled ahead before the flakes fell and won the championship in the 19-team league. Saturday’s championship game against the Gourmet Rainbow Reefers saw the Stoney’s crew win 14 to 8, and had some observers calling the league the Beer and Whine league by the end. Next year should be another interesting season as the Tapley A’s make their long awaited slo-pitch debut. Left to right: Norm Trottier, Lance Fletcher, Marianne Hardy, Dave Kipp, Paul Liakakos, Tim Malone, Val Jazic, Will Moffat, Sue Christopher, Dave Murphy, Barb Simpson, Wendy Jazic and Ron McCready.

This Week in Photos: February 22

1979

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.

1980

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.

1981

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.

1982

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.

1983

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.

1985

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.

The 1976 Winter Olympics: A Dream Almost Realized

In May 1970 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) gathered in Amsterdam to choose the winning bid for the 1976 Winter Olympics.  Vancouver/Garibaldi, Denver (USA), Sion (Switzerland) and Tampere (Finland) were all in the running to host the 1976 Winter Olympic Games.

However, Vancouver/Garibaldi ended up being taken out of the running because the IOC chose Montreal to host the Summer Olympics in 1976.  The Winter Games were awarded to Denver, Colorado instead.

The logo for the 1976 bid drew heavily on the design of the relatively new Canadian flag.

But the political climate the changing in the 1970s and in the face of growing environmentalist movements and concerns over the expenditures made to host an Olympic Games, Denver decided to hold a referendum on hosting the mega-event.  The “No Games” side won the referendum – and to this day, it is the only city and state to reject the Olympic Winter Games after successfully winning a bid.

The referendum was held on November 15, 1972.  It left the IOC in a lurch and the Olympic Committee, thinking it easier to have the Games remain in North America, offered them to Vancouver/Garibaldi.

The Government of Canada was willing to chip in $10 million to help Vancouver and Garibaldi host the 1976 Winter Olympics, as long as the provincial government provided matching funding.

The 1976 bid even had federal support from Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau who often skied at Whistler.

Dave Barrett, Premier of British Columbia and leader of the first NDP government in British Columbia, had been in office for two months when the issue of hosting the Games came up.  He felt the money would be better spent on other priorities as opposed to hosting the Olympics.

W.A.C. Bennett, who had just lost to Barrett and was the leader of the Social Credit Party, claimed he would have given the Vancouver/Garibaldi Olympic Committee the money.

John Fraser, President of the Garibaldi Olympic Development Association (GODA) at the time, felt that, because of the recent government change and as local support for the Games was at an all-time low following the initial bid rejection, it wasn’t the best time to host the Winter Games.  They too passed on hosting the 1976 Winter Olympics.

Whistler today would look very different if the 1976 bid had been successful.

Other commentators were disappointed, but at the same time relieved that the Garibaldi area and Whistler would be able to develop at a more leisurely pace.

John Jerome wrote an article in Skiing in 1971 titled, “I’m Glad Whistler lost the Olympic Bid – Glad, do you hear?”  In it he said “… I felt their immense disappointment keenly; I knew how bloody hard and long they had worked for that award; I loved them for their effort.  But deep down inside I was glad they failed.”

The IOC ended up reusing a past host site to hold the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, the site of the 1964 Winter Olympics.  This was the first time in the modern Olympic Games that a site hosted the Olympics twice.

This Week in Photos: January 11

We’re starting something new on our blog for this year!  Every week we’ll be sharing our own version of #tbt (Throwback Thursday) using photos from the Whistler Question from 1978 to 1985 and, wherever possible, the original captions.  When the collection was donated the negatives were very helpfully organized by week, which means we actually know when the photos were taken or published!  Some years do have some missing weeks, but what we’ve got we’ll share with you.  So, if you’ve ever wondered what this week in Whistler used to look like, read on.

1979

An airplane takes off on the snow from the Mons’ airstrip.

Bartender Rosarie Gauthier and manager Per Christiansen behind the bar in the Christiana’s remodelled Bavarian Lounge.

The White Gold Inn.

1980

The Status Board at the top of the lifts on Whistler Mountain.

The view from the lineup at the Blue Chair, today the location of the Harmony Chair.

Photos of Havana, Cuba were provided by Paul & Jane Burrows after their recent trip to warmer climes.

1981

Ted Pryce-Jones, manager, poses near the pop in the new grocery store soon to open in the Village.

The Mad Trapper was put up for sale recently.  Volkswagen not included.

Clock Tower sports a new Omega clock face installed during the past week.

Blackcomb’s new triple chair in operation. Though you can’t see it in this photo, below the treeline there was barely any snow yet.

Meg Watt and Chris Leighton take time out to smile for the camera while working behind the cafeteria counter at the top of Blackcomb.

1982

And they’re off… into a tangle of skis and poles at the start of the ALSC half marathon Sunday, January 10.

Laurel Gibbard and Louise Edwards provide some smiling service for the first customers in the Hofbrau Haus on Saturday, January 9. The 85-seat bar, located in the old Boot premises, was open 4 pm – 1 am six days a week and Sundays from 4 pm to 11 pm.

Don Ross and Hugh Smythe of Blackcomb stand with Willie Whistler and Pierre and Justin Trudeau in the Whistler Village Square.

Hot stuff – the Pemberton Red Devils came up with this beautiful downhiller to walk away with $300 and a shared first place victory. Shot glasses of fuel rested on the skier’s back.

1983

Skiers braved high winds, blinding snow and dampening rains to spend some time on the slopes Sunday. Despite bad weather Whistler Mountain had 6,200 skiers from Friday to Sunday, while Blackcomb drew 4,100 over the weekend.

Whistler Council in its first formal portrait. (l to r) Alderman Bill Peterson, Alderman David O’Keefe, Administrator Geoff Pearce, Mayor Mark Angus, Municipal Clerk Kris Shoup Robinson, Alderman Bernie Hauschka and Alderman Terry Rodgers.

A 15 foot high boulder crashed down onto the northbound lane of Highway 99 in Cheakamus Canyon Friday night. Crews blasted the rock away Monday morning as the Pacific storm which caused the slide continued with torrential rainfall in the Whistler area.

1985

Rod Grange and crew from Skiing Video Productions are filming a winter movie for Whistler Mountain during the next seven weeks.

Blowing wind creates sand-like ripples on Green Lake.

Whistler’s Very Own Easter Parade

This past weekend, with the Easter holidays, the closing events of WSSF, the Whistler Cup and still more snow on the mountains, there certainly wasn’t a lack of activities to occupy residents and visitors of any age.

Despite the snow, the Easter bunny put in an appearance on Blackcomb Mountain, 1982.

The Easter holidays have a history of being a busy weekend in Whistler.  In the 1970s the list of Easter activities offered by the Chamber of Commerce and Garibaldi Lifts was an impressive one for such a small town, including fireworks, Easter egg hunts and various skiing events such as skiing displays and obstacle and costume races.  Residents and visitors to the area alike could enjoy a torch light parade ending with a bonfire and hot dog roast in the parking lot at the bottom of the mountain.  The weekend also included dancing and live entertainment at local establishments such as the Christiana Inn, L’Apres and the Mt Whistler Lodge.  For those who chose to attend, all Easter services were held at the Whistler Skiers’ Chapel on the mountain, Canada’s first interdenominational church.

Easter services were held on the mountain in the Whistler Skiers’ Chapel, Canada’s first interdenominational church.

Events varied from year to year.  Some years advertised prizes for an Easter Bonnet contest and in 1970 the Vancouver Garibaldi Olympic Committee was actively promoting a bid for the 1976 Olympics and used the popular weekend as an opportunity to get more people on board with a slide presentation on the bid at the Roundhouse.

The 1976 bid for the Winter Olympics was one of the most promising early bids put forward for Whistler.

One of the most popular events over the Easter weekend was Whistler’s own Easter Parade.  When thinking about parades in Whistler the first to come to mind is usually the annual community parade on Canada Day.  During the 1970s, however, the Easter Parade was not to be missed.

Traditionally an Easter parade was an informal and somewhat unorganized event in which people dressed in their new fashionable clothing in order to impress others.  Irving Berlin wrote “Easter Parade”, a popular song inspired by the Easter parade in New York, in 1933 and a film by the same name starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland was later constructed around the song in 1948.

Though the Easter Parade in Whistler may not have been designed to showcase anyone’s new finery, it did include carefully thought out floats and some illustrious leaders.  In 1971 the 52 floats were led by Miss Vancouver Ardele Hollins, Miss PNE Judy Stewart and members of the RCMP.  The following year the parade was led by none other than then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

Coral Robinson, Pierre Trudeau and Dennis Therrien at the Easter Parade in 1972 sitting in a security detail car.

Whistler’s parade was open to anyone who wanted to participate.  Interested parties were told to “plan a float, come as a marching group, or just get dressed up in a crazy costume and join the fun.  The more the merrier!”  Community groups and local businesses, as well as individuals, created elaborate floats and costumes such as the Jolly Green Giant and the original gondola.  The 1974 parade was captured on film by the Petersens and can now be watched on our YouTube channel as part of the Petersen Film Collection along with other unique moments in Whistler’s history.

A Prime Minister in love

Throughout the decades, the grandeur and excitement of Whistler has inspired a lot of couples to spend their honeymoons at our beautiful valley hideaway. Roots of Whistler’s honeymoon history date back to the 1920s when Rainbow Lodge was one of the main destination accommodations for newlyweds on the west coast. Alex Philip, proprietor of Whistler’s first lodge, would paddle honeymooners down the River of Golden Dreams in a large canoe, often by moonlight, where they could snuggle up and soak in the valley’s natural beauty.

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After an afternoon of skiing, the Prime Minister and his bride attended the Sunday Catholic service in the Whistler Skiers’ Chapel. March 1971, Whistler Mountain collection.

The most famous honeymooners in Whistler are undoubtedly former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his bride, Margaret. Pierre Trudeau was a 48-year-old bachelor when he became the Prime Minister of Canada in 1968. In March 1971, the hearts of many Canadian women were broken upon the announcement that Trudeau had married 22-year-old ‘flower child’ Margaret Sinclair. They surprised the media with their secret wedding in Vancouver, and afterwards drove directly to Whistler for a three day stay. Here, the newlyweds took a skiing honeymoon, media in tow, with everyone excited about the refreshing hipness of Canada’s First Couple.

Clearly, such esteemed guests required ‘above-and-beyond’ service. So, Jack Bright, General Manager of Whistler Mountain, and Jim McConkey, Whistler’s prominent ski school director, served as the newlyweds’ personal ski instructors during their stay.

“Ski conditions were excellent during their stay with snow falling all three days.” proudly reported Garibaldi’s Whistler News in their spring issue of 1971. The photo shows Area Manager Jack Bright, flowed by Margaret Trudeau and the Prime Minister ski down the Red Chair run. March 1971, Whistler Mountain collection

“Ski conditions were excellent during their stay with snow falling all three days.” proudly reported Garibaldi’s Whistler News in their spring issue of 1971. The photo shows Area Manager Jack Bright, flowed by Margaret Trudeau and the Prime Minister ski down the Red Chair run. March 1971, Whistler Mountain collection

The couple stayed at the Sinclair family condo in the Alpine Village complex near the base of the lifts. “This was the second ski holiday at Whistler for Mr. Trudeau” proudly reported the Garibaldi’s Whistler News later in their 1971 spring issue, including three pages of colorful, side-filling photos of the couple. The news also commented on the couple’s ski skills: “Mrs. Trudeau is a good and stylish skier who is able to keep up with her husband. At one point during their stay at Whistler, Trudeau announced that his wife was a better skier than he is. ‘It’s not true, it’s not true’ she laughed.”

Mrs. Trudeau, the former Margaret Sinclair of West Vancouver, had a season’s pass at Whistler and skied the mountain many times before her marriage. This photo shows her skiing with Jack Bright, General Manager of Whistler Mountain. March 1971, Whistler Mountain collection

Mrs. Trudeau, the former Margaret Sinclair of West Vancouver, had a season’s pass at Whistler and skied the mountain many times before her marriage. This photo shows her skiing with Jack Bright, General Manager of Whistler Mountain. March 1971, Whistler Mountain collection

Victor Irving, a RCMP officer in charge of the Prime Minister’s security at that time, shares a sweet anecdote of the Whistler honeymoon in the book Pierre: Colleagues and Friends Talk about the Trudeau They Knew. He remembers to drive the Trudeau’s to the Sinclair condo in Whistler after the secret wedding which was by then no secret anymore. “The next morning I received a request from them for ice cream and all the Vancouver papers. I delivered these, leaving the happy couple kneeling on the living-room floor reading the papers. (Pierre still owes me $5.75.) “

Margaret included this photo of her honeymoon in her memoirs Changing My Mind and noted: “Both athletes, we chose to spend our first day of marriage skiing at Whistler.” Source: Changing My Mind by M. Trudeau, Harper Collins Publishers

Margaret included this photo of her honeymoon in her memoirs Changing My Mind and noted: “Both athletes, we chose to spend our first day of marriage skiing at Whistler.” Source: Changing My Mind by M. Trudeau, Harper Collins Publishers

Also, Margaret remembers that first honeymoon morning in Whistler in her memoirs Changing My Mind: “We were woken next morning at 6:30 a.m. by the telephone. The queen was calling to congratulate Pierre; she had got the time difference wrong. Later came a telegram from the president of the United States, Richard Nixon. Scary, but also the stuff of fairy tales.”

Looks like, when it comes to fairy tales, our enchanted Whistler is the right place to be.

Remembering Jack Bright

There are many prominent figures from our valley’s history whose names recur often on this blog and elsewhere: Myrtle & Alex Philip, Franz Wilhelmsen, Stefan Ples, Eldon Beck, Hugh Smythe, Florence Petersen, Nancy Greene & Al Raine, just to name a few. But one name which has not received its due is Jack Bright.

Jack Bright was the first General Manager of Whistler Mountain, and was a pivotal figure in the nascent ski resort’s quick ascent as Canada’s premier ski resort. Sadly, we received word that Jack Bright passed away last week in Vancouver.

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Franz Wilhelmsen hired Jack to run Whistler Mountain at the ripe old age of 28, a decision that turned out to be a resounding success. Considering Jack’s previous work experience was 5 years managing the tiny (and now-defunct) Pigeon Mountain ski area near Canmore, Alberta, Jack must have given a pretty good interview!

In any case, Jack turned out to be a marketing and management savant. Recognizing the power of celebrity and the draw of larger-than-life personalities, he managed to snag skiing superstar “Diamond” Jim McConkey to run the resort’s ski school, rental & retail operations.

The classic image of Jack Bright (right) skiing Whistler with "Diamond Jim" McConkey. Photo taken ca. before toques were invented (1972, actually).

The classic image of Jack Bright (left) skiing Whistler with “Diamond Jim” McConkey. Photo taken ca. before toques were invented (1972, actually).

A few years later in March 1971, at the height of “Trudeaumania” then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his bride Margaret honeymooned at Whistler. Clearly, such esteemed guests required “above-and-beyond” service, so Jack and Jim McConkey served as the newly-weds personal ski instructors during their stay. Trudeau, a strong skier, returned to Whistler often, and Jack or Jim were always prepared to accompany him.

Jack Bright (right) showing the Prime Minister how it's done.

Jack Bright (right) showing the Prime Minister how it’s done.

The publicity from such high-profile associations is hard to overstate, and foreshadows the prolific use of celebrity and athlete “ambassadors” that is common practice throughout the ski industry today. For more recent local examples, think Dave Murray ski camps, Mike Douglas “Embedded,” and local Olympic champions Ashleigh McIvor & Maelle Ricker, to name just a few.

Jack was also instrumental in arranging countless ski races, spring skiing parties, and other events to attract skiers and raise the resort’s profile, another example of his forward-thinking marketing mind. During his tenure, Jack oversaw Whistler Mountain’s quick ascent to the biggest and most renowned ski resort in the province.

One look at the Creekside Gondola line-up from the early 1970s is testament to Jack’s success at growing the resort. It was also Jack’s decision to institute a boarding-pass system, lift tickets that included a pre-scheduled up-load time, to take some of the sting off what could easily be a two or three-hour wait for the lifts.

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More than just a promotions guru, Jack  also built and managed the Whistler Inn, one of the valley’s first hotels, was the inaugural president of the Canada West Ski Areas Association, he helped found the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, the Canada Day Parade and was the chair of Whistler’s first bank, the North Shore Credit Union.

He stopped working for Whistler Mountain in the mid-1970s, but stayed in town for some time, continuing to manage his hotel and various other community interests. He eventually moved to Vancouver where he remained an active and respected businessman, though he remained connected to the Whistler community and came back to ski and visit frequently.

Franz Wilhelmsen, an unidentified man, and Jack Bright (from l to r), overlooking their kingdom. early 1980s (after Jack had stopped working for Whistler Mountain).

Franz Wilhelmsen, an unidentified man, and Jack Bright (from l to r), overlooking their kingdom, early 1980s.