You don’t know where you’re going unless you understand where you’ve come from – Especially in Whistler!

In the beginning

Now I have heard these stories over the years. So on Sunday I met over coffee with community founders Peter Alder, Andy & Florence Petersen. We sat looking across Alta Lake and the beautiful resort mountains.

 Peter Alder Florence & Andy

The Numbers

 I asked Peter how was the bed cap determined? He said it was quite simple 11,000 people could ski on Blackcomb on any given day, Whistler was a bigger mountain so the number was 13,000 – not all the guest arriving in the village will want to ski so double the number 48,000 and round it up to 50,000. It would take a few people in the service industry to accommodate all the tourist – these fabulous service workers are better known as the worker bees, about 3000 of them… Hence the bed unit cap became  53,000..

A study done in 1975 determined that from Emerald to Function Junction about 80,000 people would top out our water and treatment facilities. So we needed to keep the number of people within Whistler well below the estimated capacity.


On September 06, 1975 Whistler became the first Resort Municipality in Canada – it was heavily regulated by the Provincial Gov’t in Victoria. Every new By-law created in Whistler by council had to be ratified through Victoria before becoming law. Also created at this time was something which became known as the Silver Book – which can be found today in the Whistler Museum and Archives. About Whistler

The Village

A visionary from California by the name of Eldon Beck was brought to Whistler to help lead the design for the village. Through this process the village stroll concept was born. The old dump which is now the famous Whistler village took 3 years to purify before development could start – in 1978 phase one of five phases began. Now and better known today, phase one comprises of the Liquor Store, Pharmacy, Hearthstone Lodge, Blackcomb Lodge and the Grocery Store.


In 1981 the Federal Gov’t brought in a change to taxation – if you purchased an investment property one would realize a 30% tax benefit. Whistler hurried to pour foundations on many of the remaining phases – the law stated the future condos built above the commercial properties would be grandfathered. However the following year the bottom fell out of the real estate market and many a good person lost their shirts in Whistler… Interest rates ran from 18% to 26%… It was a hard pill to swallow for many of the dreamers.


It would take about three years for Whistler to regain her composure… Whistler obviously is an incredible master piece, we have seen many duplicate tries around the world….but nothing has ever compared to our little Disney Land. I use the theme park in California because it has been referred to me over the years during my volunteer time in the village from tourist – after all Disney Land is a huge success story too…

I love Whistler!

I would like to say a special thank you to follow people who over the years have shared their history of Whistler with me….

Peter Alder, Florence Petersen, Don Wensley, Ann Chaisson, Garry Watson, John Hetherington, Isobelle MacLaurin, Joan Richoz, Drew Meredith, Debbie Smythe, Mario Enero, (MO) Maureen Douglas, Bob and Sue Adams & last but not least is Colin Pitt-Taylor….


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