For many years, Squamish was – for Vancouverites, at least – the victualling station between the big city and the slopes of Whistler. It was where you stopped for lunch and to fill up on gas before gunning it to and from the mountain. This has changed considerably over the past decade or so as the town experienced an explosion in population growth (the largest of any municipality in BC between the 2006 and 2011 censuses). With all the new people has come a wave of development, which has translated into new things to do, new places to go, and reasons aplenty to draw more and more people to is charms. Check it out (again) as soon as you can, and let Scout be your guide…
DAWN SKINNY DIPPING AT ALICE LAKE
AN EXCELLENT FARMER’S MARKETS (SATURDAYS APRIL-OCTOBER)
SQUAMISH ARTS COUNCIL
OLYMPIC LEGACY CABINS AT PORTEAU COVE
The great granite monolith known as the Grand Wall of the Stawamus Chief was first climbed in 1961 by Jim Baldwin and Ed Cooper. It took them 40 days to get to the top.
Starting in 1957 as a one-day loggers sports show, The Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival is now a community festival held over the BC Day Long weekend that celebrates the rich history of the forest industry.
It was hop farming, not forestry, that was Squamish’s first major industry. Lasting from about 1890 to 1912, at the industry’s peak there were 10 hops farms operating at one time in and around Brackendale. Over 100 years later, the Squamish Valley Hop Company has revived the industry operating as a certified organic hop farm in the Upper Squamish Valley.
Squamish is home to North America’s largest gathering of wintering bald eagles. Attracted by the spawning salmon, each year from November to February, the eagles return en masse to Brackendale.
In 1994, Brackendale set the world record for the highest concentration of bald eagles with 3,769 birds spotted in one day.
The word Squamish (Skwxwu7mesh) means “Mother of the Wind”. The Spit, where the Squamish River meets Howe Sound, is famous for prime wind surfing and kite boarding conditions.
Dubbed the “Squamish Five” by the media, (due to the fact they were finally apprehended on the Sea to Sky Hwy south of Squamish), “Direct Action” was an anarchist group of self-styled “urban guerrillas” active during the early 1980s, infamous for their use of explosives.
In July 1961, climbers Jim Baldwin & Ed Cooper were the first men to climb the Grand Wall of the Stawamus Chief (aka “the Chief”). A feat honoured by Howe Sound Brewing Company with their Baldwin And Cooper Best Bitter.
For those who are less active, the Sea to Sky Gondola (opened in 2014) can transport visitors up 850 metres above Howe Sound on a route between Shannon Falls and the Stawamus Chief granite cliffs.
Culturally significant to the people of the Squamish First Nation (S?wx?wú7mesh Úxwumixw), the Stawamus Chief got its name because it’s said that the torso of an Indian Chief can be seen in a silhouette in the top of the mountain. Elders believed that when somebody passed away, a piece of the rock would fall from the Chief.
On August 7, 1958 one of the most dramatic events in modern Squamish history occurred: the opening of the “Seaview Highway” (later the Sea to Sky Highway), connecting Squamish to Vancouver via the mainland. Before then, the main mode of transportation to Squamish was a three-hour ride on a steamship that departed from downtown Vancouver.