Tag Archives: Whistler Mountain

This Week In Photos: June 14

This week in June has hosted a variety of events, including high school graduations, construction of summer attractions (and the Village), bicycle rodeos and picket lines.

1978

The Valleau Logging Camp Cookhouse near Mons Station stands deserted but not for long. Local residents plan to renovate the building and operate a food service for the valley this summer.

Pemberton Secondary Class of 1978. Not in order, the students are: Sherry Bilenduke, Hugh Blackstock, Kim Blundell, Helen Bush, Pat Bush, Lois Carson, Gary Decker, David Fairhurst, Carol Gilmore, Ken Gilmore, Laurie Hamula, Cathy Heine, Polly Jang, James Kernaghan, Norman LeBlanc, Anita Lever, Spencer Lowenberg, Edward Mah, Carola Marinus, Selma Miller, Bert Perkins, Ann Peterson, Doris Rollert, Kelly Ross, Philip Tourand, Conroy van der Lee, Peter Vogler, Celeste Watson, Michael Wetti, Michael Wilson, Joanne Wood.

The graduating students from the Garibaldi/Whistler area with their parents at the Pemberton Secondary Graduation on Friday.

Whistler students from Myrtle Philip School participated in a district-wide track meet held in Squamish.

1980

Whistler Land Company’s new office is barely occupied last week as the first town centre offices are occupied.

Work on the golf course as seen from the bluffs where the building lots are situated.

Sandra Pollock and Kathy Francis prepare the models and… KABOOM!…..

Attorney-General Alan Williams, MLA for West Vancouver-Howe Sound, discusses the Barrier report and the BC Government’s Order in Council that froze all land in Garibaldi with area residents.

Lift Co. employee seeds lower northside runs to help cut down erosion. Runs are almost completed at lower elevations.

All that remains of a ’77 Ford pickup after it left the road early Saturday morning.

1981

The first glulam being hoisted into place over the swimming pool area of the Resort Centre.

Al Raine (left) takes publishers from around the province on a tour of Whistler Town Centre.

Betty Chaba strums a tune while relaxing at Alta Lake in front of JB’s.

Garibaldi Building Supplies’ expanded new yard is ready for a busy summer season.

Some members of the Whistler Rotary Club.

1983

The most prudent bikers in the RCMP bicycle rodeo held Saturday, June 12 in Village Square (l to r) Simon Bellar, Samantha O’Keefe, Jody Rustad, Nicolas Busdon (overall winner). Melanie Busdon, Dave Den Duyf and Davey Blacklock who won the bicycle donated by Whistler Chamber of Commerce.

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

These three answered this week’s question: Graeme Mounsey, Traveller, Sydney, Australia; Walter Therrien, Caretaker – Capilano Mobile Park, North Vancouver; Anne Crocker, Travel Counsellor – North Van Chamber of Commerce, West Vancouver.

If you attend the Sea Festival parade July 23, you’ll be able to enjoy the final results of this artist’s rendering for a Whistler float. The illustration will be used as a guide for constructing the float, estimated to cost $2,500.

1984

Kids, cars and parents turned out Saturday for a car wash and bake sale that netted over $200 for the school’s parent/teacher group. Police cars, a fire truck and a whole flotilla of private vehicles stopped for spring cleaning.

Emergency Services (last year called Tri-Services) overcame a mid-game spurt by the team from Citta to post a 17-12 victory on Monday in Whistler Beer League slo-pitch softball league action. Emergency Services now has a sparkling record of three wins and no losses.

Three (two pictured) locked-out truckers picketed The Grocery Store in the village Tuesday, preventing other union members from bringing supplies to the store. Picketing trucker Dayton MacKenzie said they are protesting their employer’s decision to use “scab” drivers for food deliveries. Employer Slade and Steward Ltd. has locked out Vancouver employees, and other employees in BC are on strike as of Tuesday. Grocery Store owner Geoff Power was unavailable for comment at press time.

An Alpine Paving crew was hard at work last Wednesday paving the mini golf course just behind L’Apres at the gondola. Whistler Mountain hopes to have the Tattersfield and Associates designed course ready for operation by Saturday, June 16, but promise to have it ready for play by the following weekend. Eighteen holes will cost players $2.

No one skis anymore at the former Rainbow Ski area just off Highway 99 between Alpine Meadows and Emerald Estates but at one time it was the only place in Whistler open for night skiing. The ski jump was built by volunteers in the mid-1970s (though the date was recorded as mid-1970s in the Question accounts told to the Whistler Museum put the building of the ski jump earlier in the 1960s; the last competitions held on the ski jump occurred in the mid-1970s.).

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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.

This Week In Photos: May 24

The Victoria Day Weekend in Whistler during the 1980s (and late 1970s) was all about May Day Madness and one of Whistler’s favourite races: the Great Snow, Earth, Water Race!  Photos of the events dominate these weeks in the Whistler Question Collection for each year.

1978

Mayor Pat Carleton welcomes Captain James Cook in front of the mural decoration at the Myrtle Philip School gym.

Two of the Burnt Stew Beavers paddle furiously in the Great Snow, Earth, Water Race.

While May Day Madness shirts are on sale from the Whistler Answer.

The May Day Madness continues with sack races on the school yard with divisions for children, males and females.

An anonymous diver showing fine form in the bellyflop contest.

1980

The canoe portion of the Great Snow, Earth, Water Race heads out on Alta Lake.

A runner nears the finish line at the school.

The winning team Helvetia: Heinz Zurcher, Kaarina Engelbrecht, Franz Bislin, Kathy Zurcher and Josef Bislin.

Chris Carson gives his rendition of “Bobby McGee” with help from Scott Richard, Greg Beauregard, Matt Satre, Marcello Gianna, Mr. Marshall and an all-girl chorus.

The Whistler Village continues to be a work-in-progress.

1981

The Keg building hits the road on its way to its new home on Blackcomb Way.

Constable F. Pinnock runs through the bike safety testing course that he and Constable Gabriel of Pemberton set up at Myrtle Philip Elementary on Friday, May 22. Young participants in the recent “Bike for Life” mini-course and several Girl Guides successfully rose their bicycles through the obstacle course to earn certificates for their cycling expertise.

Kurt and Maralyn Snook cut the cake at their going-away party in Stoney’s back room on Friday, May 22.

Andrew Wuolle, Sherida Snook, Morag Marshall and Jody Rustad planting one of the many Douglas fir trees around Myrtle Philip Elementary school yard on May 22. Tree seedlings were donated by the Ministry of Forests.

1983

Sports fans turned out in droves to dig through the used equipment at Blackcomb Ski Club’s sports swap during May Day Madness. The $1000 raised from sales will go towards building a club facility.

They’re off to a Le Mans starts for the Eighth Annual Snow, Earth, Water Race in Whistler May 22.

This fleecy rider just stopped in for a while to observe the scene at the Great Snow, Earth, Water Race. While master checked out some of the canoe action down by the river, moto-mutt stayed with the steed.

Though not in first place, the Burnt Stew Beavers were back for another race!

For many more photos of the Great Snow, Earth, Water Race take a look here and see if you recognize anyone!

Jeff Wuolle serves up pancakes to some of Whistler’s finest flat feet Saturday morning. Being served are (l to r) Constables Steve Davidson, Richard Guay, Rocky Fortin and Gord Simms. Rotary netted $231 from its pancake sales.

Chefs, firemen and event E.T. turned out at the bike decorating contest Saturday with some fantastically creative ideas. Most Original: Christopher Forrest, on a fire truck complete with hose. Funniest: Stephanie Simpson as The Egg. Prettiest: Melanie Busdon as Miss Strawberry Shortcake.

1984

The long weekend was highlighted by dozens of events including a grueling mountain bike race Monday…

Three days of serenading by a group of wandering minstrels, The Extraordinary Clown Band…

And the exciting ninth annual Great Snow, Earth, Water Race. Although the weather was great Sunday and Monday, Saturday was a damp one and it actually snowed on Tuesday.

How do different colours absorb heat? and What does a barometre measure? were some of the questions students from Myrtle Philip School had to answer in the third annual Science Fair. All children, including kindergarten students, took part in the fair which was designed to give students a chance to use research skills, art talent and writing and speaking abilities together on one area of science in which they show interest. First place winners for each grade include: Grade Seven, “Lasers” by Lisa Morten and Karen Wylie; Grade Six, “Colours and Heat Absorption” by Michelle Rennie and Andrea Wuolle; Grade Five, “Weather Reporting” by Stephanie Fosty; Grade Four, “Guinea Pigs” by Jennifer Croghan and Melanie Busdon; Grade Three, “Eclipses” by Madeline Domries; Grade Two, “Volcanoes” by Briton Liakakos; Grade One, “Monkeys” by Justine Adams, Davey Blaylock, Marco Feller, Casey Greenwood, Aaron Gross, Cory Gudmundson, Yosuke Hamazaki, Jake Humphrey, Mark Jennings and Heather Paul and “Pulleys” by Christopher Systad; Kindergarten, “The Seashore” by James Balfour, Armen Evrensel, Sarah Fennel, Noah Fordham, Christopher Forrest, Moriah Johnston and Tyler Manson.

This Week in Photos: May 17

1978

The sign says “Turn here Denny”, but who is Denny and where are they going?

A demonstration of the Whistler Volunteer Fire Department’s equipment on the lake.

Gothic arches are getting harder to find in Whistler but in 1978 this one was still standing proudly.

A new council was sworn in for the day.

The staff at Myrtle Philip School. We recognize Jane Burrows and Sandra Epplett, but can anyone help with the rest of the names?

1980

Coral Robinson gets the last of the Roundhouse sunshine on closing day Whistler Mountain May 11.

A lone fireman hoses down a burning mountain of garbage as a nearby tanker truck refills the porta tank.

Lyall Featherstonebaugh slices, slams and pivots through a variety of wave types in the spring-swollen Cheakamus River on Sunday.

1981

The old Muni Hall building gets ready to move away from Blackcomb Way.

Garry Watson presents Doug Sutcliffe with a print of Whistler Village at the Founder Dinner.

Whistler’s founders? Or are they confusing Whistler with Disneyland?

A sunny game of volleyball outside the Highland Lodge.

Whistler’s version of a biker gang – not the most intimidating.

The Muni Hall building in its new location near Function Junction.

1982

Spring clean-up underway in the village included the removal of damaged beams from the Sports and Convention Centre roof. The huge gulls will be used by the municipality for picnic tables, benches and pedestrian footbridges along the trail system.

Const. Sowden talks to young bikers about safety.

View from the Top. Ever wonder what the view is like from the top of a 70 ft. fire truck ladder? It goes something like this, only try and imagine a bit of a sway while you’re standing there. Whistler firemen were taking part in a two-day seminar when they had this equipment out.

Roll me over in the clover… said this little Honda in the middle of Myrtle Philip school field. And so some of the crew repairing the baseball diamond did just that (roll it over, that is) to inspect the underside of the poor thing. Sure beats putting it on a hydraulic lift.

Salad Days! Hungry staff survey the new salad bar at the Creekhouse Restaurant.

1983

Clamouring for the start of Whistler Children’s Festival, this bunch of artists whomped up posters to advertise the event to be held June 18 and 19. Clockwise from the summit: Harley Paul, Melanie Busdon, Marika Richoz, Samantha O’Keefe, Charlene Freeman, Angus Maxwell. Jason Demidoff and Iain Young say they can all hang in until then.

These two answered this week’s question: Dave Cipp, Bartender, White Gold and Karen Playfair, Grocery Store employee, Alpine Meadows.

Road crews were hard at work widening the alignment of Highway 99 west of Green Lake May 13. In three or four years the road to Pemberton should be an easier one to travel.

Following Saturday’s annual general meeting, Jeff Wuoller (left) will sit as the new WRA director-at-large for the coming year, while Jacques Omnes (right) will assume the position of accommodations director.

1984

Grade 5 students from Myrtle Philip School, named in honour of Whistler’s pioneer in 1976, gathered around Mrs. Philip at her home on the shores of Alta Lake.

Leaping horses, Batman! It’s Bob Warner getting warmed up with his trusty steed for another season of trailriding at Whistler which starts this Thursday. This year Layton Bryson is running his operation from new stables at Mons.

This Week In Photos: May 10

Not every week of photos provides much information.  The photos from this week in 1978 are one example.  We can identify some of the people and places but we’re hoping you can fill us in with more details for this year!

1978

A kayaker heads down a river.

Long-time Whistler resident and developer Walter Zebrowski, Chairman of the Board.

A man stands proudly beside his machine.

Some kind of casino night was held at the Myrtle Philip School, but why we’re not sure.

1980

Stefan Ples, long-time resident of Whistler, receives a lifetime pass from Garibaldi Lifts President Franz Wilhelmsen in recognition of his long involvement with Whistler.

B.J. Cooper and Pauline LePatourel of the Whistler Question staff kick-off the Pitch-In clean-up campaign for Whistler.

Construction City 1980. A piledriver towers over Resort Centre at town centre site as spring-summer construction picks up pace. Workers began flooding into the Valley this week as new town centre packages began.

Lonely toilet stands ready to serve Parcel 16 in the Town Centre.

1982

Viva Las Margar-Ritas! Cinco de Mayo is traditionally a day for celebrating the independence of Mexico and JB’s celebrations did not break with tradition. (L to R) Lisa Riser and Cindy Grierson, the original Dos Senoritas, join Holly Collinson and Kay Povarchook for one final toast to the joys of Mexico. (While this was the caption that originally appeared in the Whistler Question in 1982, Cinco de Mayo is actually a celebration of the Mexican Army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.  The independence of Mexico is celebrated on September 16.)

Back to Basics… Sun, wind and water. Once the summer basics return to Whistler, you can’t keep a good windsurfer down. Chris Jacobs, Andrew Stoner and Bruce Cook were among the first to catch the wind after the ice broke off the surface of Alta Lake.

Lift off!

Students at Myrtle Philip School watch another rocket leap off the launching pad.

Dancing inspiration. Janice LeBlond of Pacific Motion Dance Company brought some inspiration to Whistler May 5, 6 and 7 when she conducted a three-day workshop on dancing, body alignment and anatomy. After the final workshop, LeBlond and fellow dancers Tara Twigg and Mary Craig demonstrated some of the style they have become renowned for.

1983

Jesse Fletcher tries out a new set of wheels (actually a very antiquated set of wheels) in Village Square. in case you don’t recognize the historic wheelchair, you can see it in its normal resting place at Stoney’s.

Once again the ace-in-the-hole team swept away Whistler’s frisbee golf championship, despite the chilling overtones of Saturday. (L to R) Al Pomeroy, Bob Noldner, Barry McClure and Hugh Wallace celebrated their win after a rigorous 18-round match, which included a hole in the back of a truck.

Said hole in the back of a truck.

Winners in BC Hydro’s poster contest “Be Electrically Alert” were Myrtle Philip students (clockwise from left) Patrick Crewman (grade 4), Cris Simpson (grade 5) and Brandi Robinson (grade 5). The students received a framed certificate for their effort in the contest held in March.

1984

The Nesters Golf Course was the scene as about 40 Whistlerites flung their frisbees around Craig Barker’s 12-hole cross-country frisbee golf tourney. It wasn’t a traditional course as the first hole was an abandoned pick-up truck. This is the fourth year Barker has held the tourney and already he’s looking forward to the next summer invitational match.

Rotarian Richard Heine helps Kyla Paine master the techniques of safe biking.

The age-class winners at Saturday’s Rotary Bike Rodeo. (Top left has been identified as Jeff Lacombe.  If you recognize anyone else please let us know!)

These three answered the week’s question: What do you think of Whistler’s parks and trail systems? (L to R) Charlie Doyle, Commercial Artist, Alta Vista; Peter Xhingnesse, Ski Patroller, Tapley’s Farm; Joan Richoz, Homemaker, Alpine Meadows.

This Week In Photos: May 3

From road conditions and ski races to golf tournaments and end-of-season competitions (LA Legs Contest?) the Whistler Question reported on everything and anything going on in town.

1980

Nester’s residents won’t have any speeders in their neighbourhood if they can help it. And to help them are large- to dangerous-sized boulders strewn about the roadway in an attempt to slow drivers to a crawl.

This bus seems to be missing a key component.

(L to R) Minister of Tourism Pat Jordan chats with our Pat – Mayor Carleton – at the Town Centre during a tour of the site and an explanation by the mayor of what exactly is going on at the busy construction site. With Honourable Minister and Mayor are Tourism Ministry staff Joan Jarvis and George Plul.

A golfer drives one off the third tee at the Whistler Golf Course during the Bob Parson’s Memorial Golf Tournament.

Chauffeur Chris Speedie and assistant Rod McLeod take the golf course refreshment buggy around the course.

This temporary decking on the bridge over Fitzsimmons Creek on the Blackcomb access road will be replaced during May by a full width concrete surface.

A spring trip to Meager Creek Hot Springs BC Forest Service Recreation Site.

1981

Architect Joe Yamauchi and Alderman Mark Angus inspect the model of the controversial Whistler Tower Building planned for Parcel 26.

Jody Wick, 10, of Myrtle Philip Elementary, brings out the shine on Ike’s tow-truck during the WPTA’s successful carwash held May 2.

Costumed members of the Vancouver Telemark Society practice group telemark turns on the last day of the season.

For being the top MPE artists, not to mention electrically alert, Tami Wick, Rya Kirkwood and Cris Simpson were awarded these framed certificates. Standing behind (l to r) are Ross Dinwoodie, Laroy Watt and Gary Wong.

We don’t know whose best friend this is, but who could resist that face?

Whew! All tuckered out at the end of the season, Donald Campbell, 4, of North Vancouver decided that the best place for a weary skier to lay his helmetted head was the front step of Jim McConkey’s Ski Shop.

1982

Wind’s up… and that’s enough for Chris Jacobs to drag out his sailboard and take on the ice! Jacobs uses a wooden platform with skis attached and finds the boardsailing just fine. Andrew Stoner photo.

They’re switched on and tuned in at Mountain FM.

That toe-tapping beat inspired even the heavy-footed to get down to the music of the Sailboats at Blackcomb Daylodge on Sunday, May 2.

Pas de demux amid the hubbub during Boogie-in-your-ski-boots. Fiona Maxwell (2) is led by Neal Jennings (3), both of Whistler.

Move over J.R. On location to shoot a 10-minute promotional short for a possible new TV series called “Whistler”, this film crew from Eighth Avenue Productions was the centre of excitement. Driving his own Rolls-Royce is Peter Mueller (no, not the skier) who is reported to be providing financial backing for the project.

Whew! What a win! After tight competition through the season, Jim Wharin and Megan Armstrong skied to the top of the local championship series on Blackcomb.

1983

In Whistler, even line-painting comes with a view.

Workers at The Madhouse on Whistler Mountain at the end of the season.

A bunch of real hackers, Team Hack cleaned up on one of the valley’s most coveted trophies, the Whistler Cup. And the winners, ladies and gentlemen, were (l to r) Sue Boyd, Rob Denham, Mike Turcotte and Jim Wharin.

Hubba, hubba! What a beaut! This mystery entrant in Blackcomb Mountain’s LA Legs Contest April 30 strutted away with first prize.

Semi-finalists at Stoney’s Suitcase Party May 1 let off some steam before the final name was selected. The lucky winner? Dave Cipp of Tapley’s (fourth from left in back row, with his mouth wide open). Cipp grabbed his golf clubs, Brenda Davidson of Today’s Video and headed to Honolulu that night.

Yowser, yowser, yowser! The gang at Rendezvous Restaurant on Blackcomb Mountain have their own special way of saying goodbye. Of course they were in the midst of the clutches of spring fever Sunday, May 1.

1984

Former Delta Mountain Inn Food and Beverage Manager Dave Roberts received an unceremonious going away party last Wednesday, and to not let him forget what his job’s all about, Delta staff applied raw eggs, tomatoes and various other foodstuffs to Roberts’ body.

Simon Gould and family have yet another car in their collection after winning the Winterfest lottery Saturday. The prize was a $12,000 1984 Jeep Cherokee graciously supplied by Mountainview Motors of North Vancouver. Gould, from West Vancouver, happened to be on the scene when the draw took place and said it could mean that his daughter, the most thrilled of the lot, will be getting a car of her own.

The Squamish Youth Chorale, with a cast of 69, presented its latest production, “Dreamer”, to a packed house at Myrtle Philip School Saturday night. The story is based on the biblical saga of Joseph and his 10 brothers.

Rocking Howe Sound

You wouldn’t expect a pulp mill, a pop-rock band and 20th century settlers to have a lot in common, but in the Sea to Sky corridor you can find the unlikeliest of connections.

In 1909, the Conroy family moved west from Ontario and preempted 380 acres of land in the area around Brandywine Falls, including the falls themselves.  The area had previously been used as a rest stop for northbound mule drivers on their way to settlements and gold fields.  Charles Conroy, one of the Conroy sons, made a reputation working 30 to 60 string muletrains.

Brandywine Falls, now a provincial park, was once the Conroy family homestead and then a bustling resort. Photo: Whistler Mountain Collection

The Conroy family saw the area through the arrival of the PGE Railway and the construction of a supply road by BC Electric in the 1950s.  Before the highway was finished in the 1960s, Charlie Conroy sold the property to Ray Gallagher but remained close to Brandywine until his death in February 1972.

The Poppy Family was a Vancouver-based music group formed by Terry Jacks and Susan Pesklevits in the mid 1960s.  According to Garibaldi’s Whistler News, February 1968, the group got together “almost by chance.”  Susan needed an accompanist for a performance in Hope and asked Terry.  The Hope show went well and the two decided to form their own group and brought in lead guitarist Craig McCaw to complete the group.  In 1967 Terry and Susan married and through 1968 the Poppy Family performed regularly at Whistler Mountain.  Satwant Singh later joined the group on tablas and they put out their first album, Which Way You Goin’ Billy? in 1969.

The Poppy Family as they appeared in 1968 when featured in Garibaldi’s Whistler News.

Terry and Susan Jacks stayed regularly at the Brandywine Falls Resort.  This is presumably where they met Charlie “Whitewater” Conroy.  Despite an almost 60-year age difference, Terry and Charlie became close friends and fishing buddies.

Sixty years earlier, in 1912, the Woodfibre pulp mill opened a little south of Squamish on the western shore of the Howe Sound.  Accessible only by boat, the remote town site built around the mill housed workers and their families until the 1960s when they began commuting to work by ferry from nearby Squamish and Britannia Beach.  Woodfibre was one of the oldest pulp mills in British Columbia before it closed in 2006.

The Conroy family, the Poppy Family and Woodfibre have a surprising connection – a song, released in 1972 and only just over two minutes long, named “The Ballad of Woodfibre”.

Terry provided the music and the vocals were performed by 82-year-old Charlie.  “The Ballad of Woodfibre” was a comment on the pollution caused by the Woodfibre pulp mill and the smell that lingered along the Howe Sound from Lions Bay to Squamish.  The first verse encourages visitors to Woodfibre by claiming, “If you don’t mind the smell you can have a good time.”  The chorus begins “Woodfibre, Woodfibre, our little town/You’re turning the water all brown in Howe Sound,” and forecasts the mill’s closure due to the pollution of the water. (You can hear the recording of “The Ballad of Woodfibre” here)

This evening (Saturday, April 28) Julie Gallagher, whose parents Ray and Ruth Gallagher bought the land around Brandywine Falls from Charlie Conroy, will be at the museum for Growing Up at Brandywine Falls: From Resort to Provincial Park.  Doors open at 6 and the talk begins at 7.  Tickets are $10 or $5 for museum and Club Shred members.  Julie will also be hosting guided walks through Brandywine at noon both today and tomorrow (Sunday, April 29).  For more information check here.