NAME: MAUREEN DOUGLAS
OCCUPATION: MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT/
STORY BY DAVID BURKE
IMAGES BY JOERN ROHDE
Why did you decide to make the Sea to Sky Corridor home?
I was working for the Vancouver Playhouse back in ’ 86 and got injured, needing
three rounds of surgery for a broken tib-fib. A lot of my friends went to work for
Expo ’ 86 while I had to rehab. I watched Expo explode into a major celebration
of the arts and felt it had to continue; so my friend and I created an organization
called the Street Access Society to showcase street performers in the city. In
early 1987, the Whistler Resort Association asked if we could start programming
street entertainment in the Village; we started Cornucopia and the First Night
celebration. It’s great to see that so much of what we created still exists. I’ve
always been a big advocate for the arts and culture, so coming back (to Arts
Whistler) is kind of like I’ve come full circle.
What do you see as the organization’s key challenges and opportunities?
It’s like taking on that first black-diamond run. It’s an adventure, and we (Whistler)
take calculated risks, pushing the envelope higher and higher. We embrace the
arts and have a mandate to help artists and their audiences embrace what’s
How do you feel about your contribution to the success of the 2010
Olympics and Paralympics? And your efforts to promote inclusion of anti-discrimination in the Olympic charter?
Anyone who worked on our Games can look back with incredible pride that we
not only delivered great Games but also showcased Canadian values. We had
to deal with some challenging circumstances, but I am incredibly proud to have
been part of delivering a great experience. (At Sochi) I had the opportunity to go
and fight for what I felt was right. It wasn’t about changing Russia. It was about
changing the IOC. That was probably one of the most incredible meetings of my
life. We had tremendous support from Canada for that, and that was inspiring.
What is your favourite thing about Whistler?
For me that’s easy — it’s the incredible can-do attitude. It’s that, “Hey, I have an
idea!” mentality. People are like that here — in every sector — and it just helps
us get things done and create success at every level.
What is your favourite Whistler hangout?
Three places: Maury Young Arts Centre, where there’s always something
happening; Whistler Olympic Plaza, a legacy of the Games that has that
incredible stage and spectacular backdrop; and KR’s (friend Kristen Robinson)
backyard along Alta Lake, which is just an amazing place to visit and enjoy
TRAVELLER I RAVES & FAVES
The can-do attitude that helped make Whistler
one of the world’s most exciting and successful
year-round resorts also drives Maureen Douglas,
executive director of Arts Whistler. “Mo,” as she’s
affectionately called, is perhaps best known for
her role as the Sea to Sky Corridor spokesperson
for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic
Organizing Committee. During Sochi 2014, she
was part of a Vancouver delegation that visited
Russia and convinced the International Olympic
Committee (IOC), later that year, to add an anti-discrimination clause to all future Games host-city contracts, which includes a commitment to
respect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and