TRAVELLER I LOCAL VIBE
WHISTLER’S NEIGHBOURHOOD NAMES
Whistler is more than just a resort. It is also a vibrant community of some
12,000 people. If you drive 11 kilometres along Highway 99 through the
town, you will notice signs at the entrances to many of the neighbourhoods,
from Function Junction and Cheakamus Crossing in the south to Emerald
Estates in the north. What are the origins of these names?
CHEAKAMUS CROSSING is Whistler’s newest neighbourhood, which
was named for the nearby Cheakamus (pronounced CHECK-a-mus)
River and built to house athletes during the 2010 Winter Olympic
and Paralympic Games. An Anglicization of the word Chiyakmesh,
Cheakamus means “people of the fish weir” in the language of the
Squamish Nation’s people, who have called the Sea to Sky Corridor home
for thousands of years.
FUNCTION JUNCTION was named by a logging truck driver in the
1950s, as it was the convergence point of at least five logging roads,
said John Alexander, Whistler Museum and Archives (WMA) collections
CREEKSIDE, A. K.A. WHISTLER CREEK, is named for Whistler Creek
that flows down Whistler Mountain and into Nita Lake and was the original
base area of the ski hill. It remains an important commercial and ski-access hub.
WHISTLER CAY HEIGHTS AND WHISTLER CAY ESTATES seem odd
names in the mountains, as “cay” is normally associated with shoreline
areas. Named Whistler Cay in 1969 by developers, it included access
to a sandy beach along Alta Lake as part of the original concept plan,
Alexander said. That never came to fruition, but the name remained.
TAPLEY’S FARM, in lower Whistler Cay, is named for Phil Tapley. After
helping his sister Myrtle and her husband Alex Philip build Rainbow
Lodge that opened in 1914, Phil Tapley married and in 1925, he and his
wife Dorothy began clearing a piece of land that had been purchased
by his father Sewell for a farm. With their hard work, it became quite
productive with grains, an orchard, vegetables, as well as cows and
chickens, according to WMA files. The farmland was developed for
housing after Phil died in 1971.
RAINBOW ESTATES (or just “Rainbow”), north of Alpine Meadows,
bears the name of the Philips’ Rainbow Lodge. Located near the site of
Whistler’s “other” ski hill, Ski Rainbow, which operated as a bunny hill and
ski jump from 1968 to 1981, the jump, described in 1979 as “Summer Air
Ramp,” had plastic grass running from the bottom of a chair lift, according
to a 2013 article by the WMA’s Sarah Drewery. Little photographic
evidence of the old ski hill remains.
To learn more about Whistler’s rich history, visit the museum at 4333
Main St., next to the Whistler Public Library, or whistlermuseum.org.
STORIES BY DAVID BURKE
IMAGES BY JOERN ROHDE