The Whistler Museum is pleased to announce that new interpretive panels have been installed in Rainbow Park. The panels detail life in Whistler’s early days, including the lives of Myrtle and Alex Philip and other early visitors to Alta Lake’s famous ‘Rainbow Lodge’. The newly installed panels have replaced the older panels that had been in place since the Whistler Museum was founded in 1986.
New panels adorn the historic cabins at Rainbow Park. Photo by Robyn Goldsmith.
The panels have been installed in the three remaining structures from Rainbow Lodge, which closed in 1974. Many of the buildings were destroyed in an accidental fire in 1977. These buildings have been moved slightly from their original location, but still sit in what was the original Rainbow Lodge Area.
The new panels were installed to continue the legacy of our 2011 ‘100 Years of Dreams’ celebration, which commemorated Myrtle and Alex Philip’s first visit to the valley in August, 1911. Whistler owes much of its development to these early visionaries, whose passion for the natural beauty of the area inspired them to build the first resort in Whistler.
Visitors to Rainbow Park can now read about life at the lodge, the history of transportation in the valley, the community on Alta Lake, and how the area transitioned from a busy tourism community to a quiet lakeside park.
A visitor to Rainbow Park checks out the newly installed interpretive panels. Photo by Robyn Goldsmith.
These panels are on public display to be enjoyed by any visitor to Rainbow Park.
This project was made possible by Canadian Heritage through their Community Anniversaries Program.
Only the most compelling stories and the most talented authors are able to make history jump off the written page and transport readers to the foreign country that is the past. For most, physical remnants such as authentic artifacts, photographs, and historic landmarks offer a more tangible connection to yesteryear. A few weeks ago our archivists re-discovered an even clearer window into the past, eighty-year old video recordings from the early days of Rainbow Lodge. Needless to say, we were pumped.
Now digitized, the video provides us with some of those engaging details that give history geeks hot flashes, and that inform niche interests in ways that other media simply can’t match.
This short clip shows Alex Philip taking guests for a leisurely sail around Alta Lake on a late summer day. Note the same unmistakable skyline of Mounts Currie, Weart, and Wedge that greets present-day Rainbow Park sun worshippers.
In another video equine enthusiasts actually get to see Jean Tapley’s horseback style as she races one of the “Bob’s” around the Rainbow Lodge yard.
A third clip conveys the raw industrial power of an old steam train better than any photo ever could. Sometimes Alta Lake’s snows were heavy enough to bog down the plow trains, so they would often charge full steam ahead through the snow to keep up their momentum. I’m still amazed by the man riding on top (note how the burly train-rider chose a sideways, snowboard-style stance as the most stable, or, maybe, the most fun).
All of these clips have been uploaded to our Youtube Channel. Take a visit and browse our other videos to gain an even greater window into the past.