Tag Archives: Tom Barratt

Building Meadow Park

In 1980, while Blackcomb Mountain was preparing to open and the Town Centre was still in early stages of construction, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) was putting together a plan to build parks throughout Whistler. The Outdoor Recreation Plan they proposed suggested plans for lakeside parks, such as today’s Lost Lake Park, Wayside Park, and Alpha Lake Park, as well as calling for smaller parks within subdivisions. In Alpine Meadows, the plan proposed a park with a playground, softball field, open play area, nature area, bikeway terminus, and parking with highway access. Over the 1980s, this suggestion of a park would become Meadow Park.

Municipal trail crews cut through the brush to make the final connection between the Alpine Meadows trail and Meadow Park trail (under construction). Paving to complete the trail system will begin at the end of July. Whistler Question Collection, June 1983.

Work on Meadow Park began in the early 1980s with the building up of 11 acres of marsh. By September 1983, though still a work-in-progress, Meadow Park was connected to the Whistler Village by an early section of the Valley Trail and tennis courts had been installed. Despite this progress, the park was still a long way from finished. In May 1984, a feature article in the Whistler Question described the area as “a sorry sight,” with skunk cabbage where other parks boasted daffodils and a brown patch in place of a playing field. By the River of Golden Dreams, however, a grassy picnic site featured panoramic views of mountains.

Over the summer of 1984, the brown patch would be seeded and transformed into a field complete with baseball diamond and backstop, the Valley Trail would be paved and extended to the highway, and a playground would be installed near the tennis courts. According to Parks Planner Tom Barratt, the RMOW’s plan with these facilities was “to make the park as much a community park as it is a local, subdivision park.”

Meadow Park mom’s gathered on a Tuesday afternoon. The pre-nap strategy: “Get them out and let them run wild.” Whistler Question Collection, 1993.

The next major addition to Meadow Park was made in 1988 with the installation of the water park. The water park was partially funded by a grant from BC Lotteries and was built by L.A. Systems, who had just finished installing a similar park in Horseshoe Bay. According to municipal parks director Bill Barratt, the water park would offer a safer alternative to lakes for small children during hot weather.

The water park was completed by August 1988, featuring water cannons, sprinklers, geyser, water slide, and “a fish that blows wherever the wind does.” A community event, referred to by some as the “Big Splash,” was put together by the Alta Lake Community Club to celebrate the water park’s opening. Dandelion Daycare sponsored a bicycle-decorating contest, the Rotary Club provided ice cream, the Lions Club brought hot dogs and drinks, and local businesses provided prizes. Children and parents “flocked” to the new facility.

The water park being well used during the summer months. Whistler Question Collection, 1995.

The water park continued to be well used by residents and visitors alike and Meadow Park was soon established as a neighbourhood park. In a 2016 post for the Whistler Insider (the blog hosted by whistler.com) author Feet Banks wrote that, “The water park was an integral part of childhood for Whistler kids who licked in the north end of town. With no public transit, this was the closest cool-down option and we made almost daily pilgrimages to splash down the slide, run the spray tunnel, refresh and play Frisbee on the massive grass fields.”

The Valley Trail system has been extended and public transit introduced making it easier to access other parks and lakes, but Meadow Park continues to be a popular park for those who live in Alpine Meadows and many others. Picnickers can still be found next to the River of Golden Dreams and, especially when the temperatures rise, children and adults alike can be seen splashing in the water park.

The Lost Lake Debate

For residents and visitors alike, Whistler’s parks are a favourite place to spend a summer day. Each park offers something different, whether it’s the playground at Alpha Lake Park or a history lesson from the cabins at Rainbow Park. Lost Lake Park offers swimming, biking, nature walks, and even disc golf. Back in 1982, when the park was still being developed, there was a debate about whether Lost Lake Park should offer even more than it does today.

Lost Lake Park almost didn’t become a park at all. In the 1960s the two timber licenses in the area were set to expire and developers, who knew the licenses were about to expire, had already started preparing to apply for the waterfront property. Don MacLaurin saw what was happening and contacted his friend Bill in the Parks Branch. With help from Bill and other contacts, the area around Lost Lake was assessed and set aside by the provincial government as a potential Use, Recreation and Enjoyment of the Public (UREP) site.

A jumper unfolds their flip into Lost Lake. Whistler Question Collection.

By 1980, residents were regularly using Lost Lake for recreation. In summers freestyle skiers were training and even holding competitions on the ski jump. In the winters the Alta Lake Sports Club was cross-country skiing in the area, having begun work on their first course in 1976. The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) received official approval for the transfer of the UREP surrounding Lost Lake to the municipality for the purposes of creating a municipal park in August 1980 and plans were made to clear a beach area at the south end of the lake and to further develop the trails already in place.

Their plans were still underway in June 1982, when Municipal Parks Planner Tom Barratt was creating a five-year plan for Lost Lake and the surrounding area (500 acres of Crown Land surrounding the lake was also transferred to the RMOW in 1982). Like before, this plan included clearing the beach area and upgrading the trail system while retaining the area’s “wilderness character.” Most people seemed to have accepted these parts of the plan but the idea of including a permanent concession stand offering snacks, drinks, and paddleboard rentals at Lost Lake Park evoked differing opinions from residents.

Grant Cooper cuts through bush on shores of Lost Lake. Miles of X-country trails are being cut as well as a dock and beach for the south end of Lost Lake. Whistler Question Collection, 1980.

An editorial in the Whistler Question on June 3, 1982 pointed out that opinions on further development of Lost Lake were “sharply divided.” While not agreeing with those who thought the area should remain untouched by the municipal government, the editor wrote: “We understood that the original concept of Lost Lake was that the area was to be cleared up, landscaped, seeded and generally made more attractive, but we really cannot endorse any plans that could well turn this pristine area into Whistler’s own Coney Island.”

One letter to the editor in June 1982 argued that developing a beach for visitors was enough but offering “paddleboards, rubber rafts, canoes, rowboats, fishing rods, towels and fast food” was going too far and asked the question, “How big do our elected members think the lake is?” Another letter supported the building of a moderate concession that could also be used as a warming hut in winter. The Question asked six residents what they thought about the proposed concession stand for their “Whistler’s Answers” feature and while some accepted the sale of food and drink, most did not support boat rentals. (You can read their responses on our Whistorical blog here.)

When weekend temperatures soared to the mid-20s, sun worshippers who had been denied their pleasure for nearly six weeks flocked to Lost Lake like the swallows to Capistrano. Whistler Question Collection, 1983.

By July, the debate appeared to have quieted, most likely because the RMOW would only grant Dave Lalik, who had applied to run the concession stand, a one-year lease while he calculated he would need at least two summers to earn back his investment. Work on Lost Lake Park continued throughout the summer but no concession had opened by the time the park was officially opened on September 11, 1982.

Today the beach at the south end of Lost Lake is incredibly popular, as are the trails that surround the area. There is a concession building that is used as a warming hut for cross-country skiers and snowshoers in the winters, but anyone wanting to float on Lost Lake is still required to bring their own boat.

This Week In Photos: September 27

1978

Trucks head up Whistler Mountain during the summer construction of the new chairlift.

The top drive station of the new “Little Red” chairlift being built at the top of Whistler Ski area.

1979

Smoke pillars up from the fire behind Garibaldi last week.

The concrete is poured on Wedgewood Properties Package #8 while workers get up to the roof level on the condominiums above Packages #4 and #5.

David Fairhurst proudly shows off the first Pine mushrooms he found last month.

Air West’s new Twin Otter on Alta Lake after bringing the C.O.A. delegates to Whistler.

The students give Dennis Lamarche’s wagon a good wash while the bake sale goes on behind.

The ad for Espresso Express Line, a unique business set up in Whistler.

1980

BC CABINET AT WHISTLER: Mayor Carleton greets Premier Bill Bennett and Labour Minister Allan Williams as they get off the train.

The Mayor shows the Town Centre off to Health Minister McLelland, Premier Bennett, Mrs. Aubrey Bennett, Provincial Secretary Hugh Curtis & Labour Minister Allan Williams.

Bennett poses with some Myrtle Philip students.

Miss Pemberton 1980 Kristi King presents the Premier with a giant potato casserole dish on behalf of the people of the Pemberton Valley.

Work on bridge over Fitzsimmons to bring skiers from Blackcomb into Town Centre.

Franz and Annette Wilhelmsen admire new Whistler pin while Hastings West president Ken Tolmie, Peter Alder and Trudi Salmhofer look on.

Heavy rain caused deep mud near the Town Centre. Golf course practice fairway 1 – Mark Clark truck 0.

Kayak is totally submerged at this portion of the course.

1982

Awarded a winged hat for being the fastest base runner in the beer league. Don Beverley of the 2.5 Rollbacks has all of next season to look forward to. Jan Simpson and M.C. Terry Boston presented him with his memento.

This W5 crew was on location in Whistler last week while covering a story on human rights. Segment of story covered here involved the theory of relocating Garibaldi residents to protect Whistler.

Students from UBC and the infamous University of Whistler braved chilly temperatures over the weekend to compete in the First Annual Intercollegiate Windsurfing Championship.

No one was hibernating on Whistler Mountain this summer. Renovations are nearly complete on the Roundhouse, including this new sundeck and snack stand on the east side of the building.

As the new Director of Ski Racing for Whistler Mountain, Dave Murray will be coordinating downhill race clinics, ski promotions and special events. Murray, 29, retired from the Canadian National Ski Team last year after the World Cup held at Whistler.

Parks Planner Tom Barratt and plant specialist Karen Edwards bone up on some of the plant species indigenous to this area.

1983

Brownies Karen Kogler, Sonja Richli, Madeleine Domries, Sara Jennings, Marika Richoz, Jessica Wilson, Adrienne Richters, Joanne DenDuyf, Jessica Humphrey, Melanie Busdon, Leah Wuolle and Heather Paul listened attentively to leader Brown Owl (alias Bettina Weidermann) at the first meeting of the season at Myrtle Philip School Wednesday. Brown Owl says that Brownies meet once a week, from 6:30 to 8 pm at the school, and are open to girls aged six through nine.

John Hunter Trucking goalie Steve Brunn misses a shot that grazes the post in Saturday’s Howe Sound Hockey League game opener against Tapley’s Winterhawks. Brunn was pestered with shots from Winterhawk forwards and defencemen all game long. A porous John Hunter defence coupled with fast skating Winterhawks players proved too much for the Squamish team as they went down to defeat 6-3.

Getting down is the way to get in shape at Bodyworks. Workouts will be moving to Myrtle Philip School starting Monday.

The skiing never stops for Philippe Lavoie and Brent Wood, seen here atop Whistler Mountain Sunday before boot-skiing on remaining snow.

Alpine Paving workmen roll along Mountain Lane and put the finishing touches to the route. With Village Stroll paving now complete, all that remains is completing Whistler Way from Tantalus Lodge to the underground parking entrance.

Greg Lee, new head skiing coach at Blackcomb, gets a head start working out with local girls and boys Sunday morning. Lee, a former World Pro Skiing Circuit skier, also does colour commentary for CBC Sports. Before Sunday’s soccer game Lee showed kids how to take their heart rate for better fitness.

Out for a postprandial training ride, cyclist Todd McPhalen coasts down Village Gate Boulevard. Not seen are Dave MacPhail, Don Barr and Murray Sudden, nuclei of the soon-to-be Team Whistler.

1984

An unidentified dog finds refuge from the rain beneath a Wedgemount Blasting truck parked in village parking lot “A”.

Chilly temperatures kept crowds to a minimum Saturday, but sunny skies brought throngs out Sunday for the fourth year of Whistler’s Fall Festival.

Pat Earley was one of six Vancouver-based artists who demonstrated their creative talents during the Sept. 22-23 Fall Festival. Earley specializes in oil pastel portraits which are exquisitely detailed and warm. Although the displays were moved indoors to the Delta Mountain Inn because of chilly weather, it was the first time artists were allowed to demonstrate and sell their wares in the streets of Whistler.

Playland set up an instant amusement park…

… but some youngsters weren’t too sure if they enjoyed the pony rides or not.

Television and movie producers seem to have developed a taste for Whistler. Actor Sean Connery, best known as James Bond, agent 007, starred Tuesday in a Japanese TV commercial for Biogur yogurt. Production coordinator Martin Yokata said they needed a “strong, healthy, clean” image, and 007 fit the part. In the ad, Connery is seen doing calisthenics and running alongside a golf green at the Whistler Golf Club with a Doberman Pinscher.

This Week In Photos: September 13

A lot has happened this week in Whistler’s history – this week in 1982 has almost 400 photographs.  If you’re interested in seeing more the Fall Festival and other events from that year, check out the whole album here.

1979

Potholes galore! The entrance to Alpine Meadows as it appeared last Sunday.

Typical Town Centre scene last week – the rain keeps coming and the mud gets deeper!

Swinging in the rain! A foursome tees off at the first hole in the Bob Parsons Memorial Golf Tournament.

The bottom terminal of Blackcomb lift #2 takes shape.

The front entrance of the new Fortress Mountain Blackcomb base facility.

1980

Crowds begin to mass for the Town Centre rally organized by the Whistler Contractors Association. Over 300 people took part in the rally and march through Town Centre.

Crowd marches past the still uncompleted Resort Centre.

Not a skateboard ramp but the Olive Chair’s newly-paved loading and discharge platform at the Gondola Station.

NO PARKING! Itinerant pickup decides to use the new Olive Chair ramp as a parking spot.

Bob Wick points out golf course features to a group of appreciative horticulture students from Langley.

Recently created public access to Alta Lake in the Alta Vista subdivision. This area is unknown to many Whistler visitors and residents.

1982

Whistler Mayor Pat Carleton and Howe Sound MLA Allan Williams take in some of the scenery in Lost Lake Park. They were en route to the September 11th official opening of the 500-acre recreational site.

Myrtle Philip cuts the opening ribbon held by Health Care Society Chairman Rollie Horsey, September 12.

One of the vehicles which helped wipe out both signals at the Green River railway crossing – a 1979 Ferrari which was driven by Brent Freitag of Vancouver.

Two waiters roll through the Waiter/Waitress Race during Fall Festival fun.

Shasta Trampoline Club members soared as part of a festival demonstration.

Edelweiss Dance Group from Victoria chopped. It was all going on at Whistler’s second Fall Festival.

They also danced in Village Square.

Kids anticipated winter in the snowflake drawing contest.

Fun was also had in the bouncy castle.

Delta Duck and Willie Whistler tee up.

A fitness class gets everyone moving in Mountain Square.

Gumboot Lollipop gets a helping hand from a couple of “volunteers”.

Terry Boston lauded the lowly duck.

Tapley’s A’s player streaks over home plate as a Pemberton Zipperhead fumbles the ball. Tapley’s went on to win the game but came in fourth in the tournament.

1983

The Rangerettes Baton Corps of North Vancouver goes through its clown routine at Sunday’s Fall Festival. Other entertainers at the weekend event included folk and can-can dancers and live music in Village Square. Despite the wet conditions about 1,500 people were attracted to the end-of-summer extravaganza.

Whistler’s new Arabesque tent protects dancers and drinkers from the rain.

Kids had their bit of fun riding the giant merry-go-round set up in the VIP parking lot.

And at the bouncy dome outside the service building.

Tim Cleave from the New Westminster-based Shasta Trampoline levitates over Whistler Mountain.

Workmen from B & O Blacktop put the finishing touches on the Valley Drive bridge that was washed out in 1981.

Ross Smith, manager of Stoney’s Restaurant, does his Hamlet imitation while teaching would-be bartenders the finer points of slinging gin. The three-week course takes place in Mountain House Cabaret.

Instant curbs ooze out of Alpine Paving’s machine along Mountain Lane by Delta Mountain Inn. Paving is expected to be finished next week.

Parks employee Ted Pryce-Jones completes the new suspension bridge on Callaghan River near the Cheakamus River junction. Parks Planner Tom Barratt says the $12,000 bridge should be ready to cross this week.

Alpha Lake Park officially opened to the public.

1984

The summer students hired by Whistler Resort Association said goodbye last week following a season-long series of performances in Whistler Village. (L to R) Rob McQuaid, Mike McQuaid, Karen Overgaard and Rick Johnson were four of the university and community college students who helped create a festive atmosphere in the village this summer. WRA summer students who were absent include Kimberley Paulley, David Lyford, Paul Ciechanowski, Kristine Keiland and Susan Mathew.

Peter Oblander, winner of the Rotary Club of Whistler lottery for a lifetime dual mountain pass, was presented his prize Friday by Lorne Borgal, president of Whistler Mountain Ski Corporation, and Hugh Smythe, president of Blackcomb Skiiing Enterprises. Oberlander, a University of British Columbia professor and director of human settlement for the United Nations, spoke to Rotarians at their weekly luncheon, on his own experiences in this area since he first visited Diamond Head at Easter, 1950. Oberlander recalled the trip by water to Britannia Beach from Horseshoe Bay, and from Britannia to Squamish by jeep. In the 1960s, Oberlander assisted Keg owner George Tidal in laying out his restaurant on Alta Lake. Later, Oberlander helped plan what was to be the Olympic townsite, and has since then been a frequent and enthusiastic weekender here. Winning the lifetime pass, he said, is “in many ways a crowning achievement” to his three decade-long familiarity with the area.

Tony Brummet, Land, Parks and Housing Minister, officially opened the Black Tusk Village subdivision Saturday. The 94 strata-lot subdivision was built to provide a new home for former residents of Garibaldi, which in 1981 was declared hazardous because of the Barrier, a rock face nearby.

Whistler residents Lee MacLaurin and Ian Mounsey were wed Saturday in a ceremony at Tyrol Lodge. Lee is the daughter of Isobel and Don MacLaurin of Whistler, and Ian is the son of Ken and Sylvia Mounsey of Galiano Island. Best man at the wedding was Jim Lang, while Lee’s sisters Sue and Jill were bridesmaids. Marriage Commissioner Joan Hinds of Squamish performed the ceremony and guests at the Tyrol Lodge reception were treated to a topographic wedding cake sculpted in the form of Whistler Mountain and decorated with a pair of “ski-niks” and candy trees. Lee started a family tradition by wearing they same dress mother Isobel wore at her wedding 26 years ago.