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Area History

In recent years, the resort town of Whistler has undergone some major improvements, but it has a rich history that should not be forgotten. When it was originally discovered in the late 1800’s, the mountains drew the attention of visitors who were awed by their sheer size and beauty. What would later be known as Whistler Mountain was originally called London Mountain. This was later changed by settlers to Whistler in honor of the marmots that populated the coast. They make a shrieking sound that is quite similar to a whistle, hence the name.

In 1877, the Pemberton Trail was completed and encouraged more people to come into the area. Settlers began arriving in earnest after this trail was completed and they were joined by prospectors in the 1890’s as news of gold spread throughout the world. Travelers from every part of the globe struck out to seek their fortunes and many ended up staying in Whistler. This gave the town a rare amount of diversity that is largely responsible for its unique nature.

The town began growing in earnest at the turn of the century and numerous resorts were completed around Alta Lake. It was then that the town itself took on this name and many improvements were added. The Rainbow Lodge went under construction in 1914 and soon became quite famous. Growth was steady through the next few decades, but when the highway finally reached Alta Lake in the mid 1960’s, the population underwent a significant boom. It was at this point that the famous Whistler Resort began construction and the tourist trade really took off. In 1980, a new resort was built at the foot of Whistler Mountain and contributed to the influx of new visitors.

Currently, more than two million people travel to the town every single year, throughout all four seasons. Although this area of Canada is usually known for its winter sports, the town is quite busy all year round. The resorts are geared more towards skiing, but recent improvements and developments have showcased the area’s potential for summer activities as well as numerous cultural additions and festivals that encourage more visitors to come during the off season. Just under 10,000 people call Whistler their home.

Host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, this town and resort are now recognized throughout the world. With all of the resorts and activities, it makes for the perfect vacation site.