The Whistler Story
The Resort Municipality of Whistler is about a two hour drive from the city of Vancouver along the scenic Sea-to-Sky highway (Highway 99). Known today as a world class all season resort, Whistler Blackcomb enjoys snow filled winters and moderate temperatures attracting visitors and tourists from around the world.
Whistler and the land around it were first inhabited by tens of thousands of Coast Salish First Nations peoples. Rich with wildlife and resources, they used the area for hunting, fishing and gathering; Whistler was a place where the Squamish (Sḵwxwú7mesh) and Lil’wat Nations often traded.
The completion of The Pemberton Trail in 1877 attracted the first prospectors and trappers, among them John Millar, one of the first permanent residents in the Alta Lake area. In the early 1900’s others followed, including Alex and Myrtle Philip who bought ten acres of land and built the Rainbow Lodge fishing resort on Alta Lake. The railway was built in 1914 bringing logging and mining to the Whistler area, and the completion of other lodges and cabins to accommodate the growth in population. Used primarily in the summer months for fishing and other forms of recreation, the completion in the 1950’s, of a gravel road to Squamish, made the area more accessible, increasing its use in winter months.
The sixties and seventies saw the completion of the road to Whistler and then Pemberton, as well as a chairlift at Garibaldi Whistler Mountain which opened in 1966 for skiing. In the early seventies a two lane paved highway and the development of a town centre on Crown land increased both the local population and interest in the community. The Resort Municipality of Whistler, was incorporated on September 6, 1975, the first designated resort municipality in the country. In a few years, the town centre would become Whistler Village.
Blackcomb opened in the 1980’s increasing the capacity for skiing in the area, adding another village and by 1992 Whistler Blackcomb was voted the Number One Ski Resort in North America. Local residents developed a strategy to extend tourism throughout the year – golfing, hiking, fishing, boating and other year round activities were added to winter skiing and snowboarding, increasing visitors to Whistler; improving business opportunities and consequently the population.
Two previously unsuccessful attempts in the sixties to host the Winter Olympic Games changed in 2003; Vancouver/Whistler was chosen to host, and subsequently successfully hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games bringing worldwide attention to Whistler Blackcomb.
Attractions today in the Resort Municipality of Whistler are many; Whistler maintains its alpine charm while offering all the amenities of a first class resort with endless opportunities for recreation, relaxation, wildlife and sightseeing.
Recreation includes skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and tubing, mountain biking, tennis and sightseeing via the zipline, jet boat or riding the gondolas including the recently completed Peak 2 Peak Gondola connecting Whistler and Blackcomb peaks. There are many locations for boating, canoeing and kayaking on local lakes; as well as opportunities for fishing in lakes and rivers. There are hiking trails everywhere with breathtaking views of glaciers, mountains, meadows, wetlands, waterfalls, old growth forests, rivers and alpine lakes; trails range from flat walking paths to strenuous hikes with campsites and lodges for overnight trips; chance encounters with wildlife are many. Four championship golf courses are found at Whistler Blackcomb designed by top golfers such as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. And, there is also a spectacular train journey to Whistler aboard the Rocky Mountaineer.
Amenities include grocery stores, gift shops and galleries, cafes, bakeries, restaurants and clothing stores and many other unique village shops along with a library, medical centre, police and fire station, bus and taxi service, gas stations, banks, daycares and schools, playgrounds and parks, and other services. There are several commercial centres.
Accommodations in Whistler for visitors and tourists range from rustic lodges, chalets and cabins to five star first class resorts with renowned spas, restaurants and entertainment. There are many annual events held in the municipality including Cornucopia, a variety of outdoor festivals, numerous ski and bike competitions and others.
Property Opportunities in the Resort Municipality of Whistler Blackcomb
Property Opportunities in the Resort Municipality of Whistler are numerous, including both residential and recreational condos, townhouses, chalets, single-family homes and duplexes, luxury estates and vacant land; there are also many shared ownership opportunities and commercial spaces. Briefly:
- Condos and townhouses are stratified, allowing owners to share in the cost of maintenance of common areas, while enjoying benefits associated with full ownership.
- Single family homes and duplexes are available throughout the area, often in the valley, with a range of styles and sizes depending upon ones budget and tastes.
- Estate lots and vacant land are still available and include both acreage and/or opportunities for more than one building on the site.
- Shared ownership offers the benefit of a second home for a fraction of the cost with various timeshare options.
- Commercial retail, business and office spaces are available in a number of communities in the area.
Some properties are ski-in/ski-out properties. Others are subject to zoning restrictions and covenant by-laws to enable tourism within the resort, along with permanent residency. For example:
- Residential use zoning - used as primary residences or longer term or seasonal rentals for thirty or more days for personal and recreational use. There are no short term rentals or nightly rentals or commercial activity.
- Tourist accommodation zones -allow rentals on a short term basis through a management firm or directly by the owner; some are governed by covenants restricting use.
- Covenants are either Phase l or Phase ll - Phase I covenants give the owner flexibility and control; unlimited personal use along with nightly, short and long term rentals organized either personally by the owner or through a management company. Phase ll covenants, for condo/hotel owners suit investors or those who want short term vacation property; there are restrictions on the number of days the owner has use of the property, along with rental pool restrictions allocating rent for all who own on the site.
Whistler communities and neighbourhoods include:
Located nearby are the Valley Trail and many hiking and biking trails, Nita and Alta Lakes, gondolas to Whistler and Blackcomb, including the Peak 2 Peak Gondola with it stunning views. The Whistler South community includes the following neighbourhoods
- Pinecrest Village and Black Tusk Estates
- two different single family gated communities with common assets and property governed by a strata council, Pinecrest Lake, the Cheakamus River and Garibaldi Provincial Park are nearby; some lots have great views of Black Tusk
- a commercial area with cafes and restaurants, a bakery and organic market, art galleries, outdoor stores, a garden centre, hardware and housewares shops, a paint and lumber supply store and other commercial, professional and industrial services.
- the area built to host athletes competing in the 2010 Olympic Games, now a new sustainable community of townhouses, houses and condos, located across the highway from Function Junction near the Cheakamus River and many forest trails
- townhomes and luxury single-family homes are found in this area; there are many trails, a community school and a firehall
- luxury homes and home sites with coastal mountain and lake views; ski in access and a private gondola
- Bayshores and Millar’s Pond
- townhomes and single family dwellings near the amenities of Creekside; has a park, playground and tennis courts along with access to local trails; vacation rentals
- historically the first ski area and home to the first village and chairlift; today an area of hotels, condos, townhomes and homes, with cafes, restaurants and other amenities nearby, along with gondolas, Alta and Nita Lakes and many trails
- Nordic Estates and Taluswood
- residential communities with townhomes and single family dwellings, many with direct ski access, Taluswood has luxury homes with mountain, valley and alpine views; vacation rentals
Located near Alta Lake and the Whistler Golf Course with the Valley Trail connecting the area to the Village, this desirable community has access to year round recreational activities such as hiking, biking, boating, golfing, fishing and skiing. The Whistler Centre community includes the following neighbourhoods.
- Lakecrest, Alta Vista and Alta Lake Road
- near Alta Lake this residential community offers townhouses, condos, duplexes and single-family housing some with waterfront views including those in Lakecrest
- Brio and Sunbridge Plateau
- an area of residential single-family homes
- a high end residential community overlooking the mountains and the golf course zoned for nightly rentals and tourist accommodation
- Nesters, Tapley’s Farm, Whistler Cay Heights and Estates
- this residential area has a shopping complex, an elementary school, and various trails, parks and a sports field; located on the northern side of Alta Lake and the golf course, there are trails connecting this area to other parts of Whistler Centre
The Village and Benchlands
Whistler Village and the Benchlands are located in the valley where Whistler and Blackcomb meet. There are hiking trails throughout the area, including the Valley Trail, an array of coffee shops, restaurants, gift shops and galleries, stores of many kinds, and all services. There are a range of fine hotels and resorts in the area, and many vacation properties including ski in and ski out sites. The Chateau Whistler Golf Course, Rebagliati Park, the Whistler Olympic Plaza and Lost Lake are within walking distance along one of the many trails. The Whistler Village and Benchlands community includes the following neighbourhoods.
- Whistler Village, Upper Village and Blackcomb Benchlands
- properties in this area are condos, duplexes, hotels and resorts; most include covenants to accommodate tourists with vacation rentals; all amenities are within walking distance
Whistler North is located near Green Lake and Nicklaus North Golf Course. Many properties in the area are forested and offer views of the local mountains, Whistler, Blackcomb and Wedge Mountains, along with views of Green Lake, and the golf course. The Whistler North community includes the following neighbourhoods.
- an older area located near Lost Lake Park trails, this area includes single-family houses along with rentals of various kinds including bed and breakfast homes
- townhomes, duplexes, and single-family homes make up this area, some luxury homes; the area has parks, sports fields, a playground and community centre and access to Lost Lake Park trails
- Green Lake Estates (Nicklaus North)
- luxury townhouses, houses and estates are located near the golf course, many with mountain, lake and golf course views
- duplexes, townhomes and single-family homes make up this area, along with spectacular mountain and water views
- townhomes, homes and building sites situated above Green lake with valley, mountain, lake and forest views
- Emerald Estates and Alpine Meadows
- older neighbourhoods with townhomes, duplexes, chalets and single-family homes are found in this area
- a new development with one acre plus lots in the valley located near trails, rivers and surrounded by Garibaldi Provincial Park; build a dream home on one of these large lots; additional building allowed
Whistler2020 (A plan for looking forward)
Whistler has approved a plan looking into its future as a recreational, residential and tourist venue. The Whistler2020 vision for the community from now until the year 2020 was developed over three years of consultation amongst community members before its adoption in 2005. The future global and local challenges that face Whistler informed the need for a sustainable and environmentally considerate approach to planning; Whistler2020 is meant to help future decision-making and align community members along a similar path so all help preserve much of its natural beauty for future generations.
Why choose the Resort Municipality of Whistler Blackcomb? There are few places in the world that can boast the spectacular scenery and location of Whistler Blackcomb. As a year round resort, opportunities to live here, both permanently and as a vacation getaway are extraordinary – abundant recreation, many amenities, all needed services, and beautiful residential communities with pristine views make this a wonderful place to own property. Permanent residents enjoy a lifestyle that balances recreational activities with work in a sustainable, environmentally considerate and forward thinking community.
This information is brought to you by Candice Dyer, Remax Sea to Sky Real Estate, OWN Sea to Sky and live the lifestyle you deserve.
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