Vancouver Ventures – Part 4 – Whistler Weekend

This post covers our weekend in Whistler (Fri, 6/17-Sun 6/19) and final days in Vancouver!  We are in Chicago now for July and August and will provide very brief updates on activities and our place soon.

Fri, 6/17 – Seaplane terminal in Vancouver Harbor

Preparing for Takeoff!!

Spectacular views of the harbor, the city, and gulf islands enroute!

Not to mention the snow-capped mountains and glaciers….breathtaking!

On approach to and landing on Green Lake

Whistler Village and nearby walking path.  The village had some nice places to sit outside, have drinks, and check out the crazy mountain bikers coming off the trails.

Gondola Ride up Whistler
What a difference a gondola ride makes!  From sunny warm temps to some wintery snow! We enjoyed some pretty views of Whistler Village and got to see the infamous ice wall!

Peak to Peak Gondola Ride & Blackcomb Mountain:

Chairlift down to Blackcomb Village – we looked hard, but spotted no bears!

Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center  (Sat 6/18)

Squamish and Lil’wat are different ‘nations’ (aka tribes) who have a history of sharing lands and living in peace with another.  In 2001 the two Nations signed an historic Protocol Agreement, which formalized their mutual relationship on paper and commited them to continued co-operation in matters of cultural and economic development, and co-management of shared territory.

Squamish – the logo is the Thunderbird, a special messenger of the Creator and who represents strength and change.  There are only 3,000 Squamish in Canada, 2013 Nations (tribes) in British Columbia, 600 altogether in Canada.

Lil’wat means ‘where the rivers meet’. Their culture revolves around the circle or medicine wheel including: cedar tree as the core, pit house represents people and homes, drying rack represents food preservation, Mount Currie towers over and protects, smoke represents their nation joining hands to complete the circle.

One of their famous oral stories include:  The Earth Bled –  Spo7ez was a village shared by both the Squamish and the Lil’wat – for many years they lived in peace and harmony. Then they started disrespecting one another and the Thunderbird took action – he flapped his wings causing an enormous landslide that destroyed the village and killed hundreds of people. This story resonates until today to demonstrate the value of cooperation and peaceful coexistence. This story was the Squamish version – the Lil’wat’s version indicates that the landslide was started by a volcano – I like the Thunderbird version better! J

The cultural center was worth a visit and a pretty walk beyond the village to get to it.  We went on a tour with a ‘First Nation’ native who greeted us with a song.  Some additional factoids we picked up:

  •  The Squamish were known for sculpting while the Lil’wat were known for weaving.
  • The Squamish have welcome posts, not totem poles, typically made from red cedar which is viewed as the ‘tree of life’.  The Squamish believe that trees have 2 lives – the second life is when it’s carved.  Welcome posts face to the east to welcome the sun.  Anything carved into the post has meaning:  a bear show you where the salmon and berries are, the shaman represents the medicine man, etc.

The tour got a little uncomfortable when we learned more about the kidnapping of the First Nations/Native Canadians children by the French with the intention of inculcating them with Christianity and ‘civilized’ European ways (very sad and parallels what happened to Native Americans in our country – in Phoenix in particular where Indian School Rd is where the children were forced to go to school.) Then our guide shared some personal stories of his family and their difficulties.  It was brave and I give the guy credit for being a brave communicator, but it was awkward for the group.  Then we all sat down and weaved our own bracelets out of cedar.  Dave was particularly good at it!

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Lost Lake (Sun – 6/19)
After borrowing bikes from our hotel (cruisers mind you) and attempting to make it to this lake without having a heart attack, we turned around, headed back to the hotel, and then did a re-do the right way – we hired a cab to take us here and then over to gorgeous Alta Lake!

Rainbow Park & Alta Lake – Dave’s favorite!

Rainbow Park gets its name from Rainbow Lodge, a popular stop along the train line from 1914 to 1974.  It was a popular fishing and relaxing destination and easily accessible from Vancouver via the train route that still runs through the park.  Run by Myrtle and Alex Philip, the original lodge burned down in 1977.  Some of the remaining log houses have been restored into the little display of houses on the current site.

Seaplane back to Vancouver!

Green Lake & Takeoff



Landing in Vancouver



International Jazz Fest

Bill Reid Gallery – one of our favorite artists – we got introduced to his work at the Museum of Anthropology (which is a must-visit) in May.   

Around town:

That’s a wrap on Vancouver!


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