[Whistler, British Columbia, Canada] — For a town named for a mountain varmint, Whistler sure is a pretty place.

Originally known as Alta Lake, early prospectors and fur trappers nicknamed the area “Whistler” after the shrill whistling sound made by the hoary marmot. The hoary marmot is North America’s largest ground squirrel, sometimes referred to as the “Whistle Pig,” a fact that I find irresistible.

Hoary marmot, aka “Whistle Pig.” Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Whistler is located in British Columbia’s Coast Mountains, a two-hour drive north of Vancouver along a spectacular route known as the “Sea to Sky Highway,” or Canada Highway 99. Although I spent some time there last summer while on a motorcycle trip, Whistler is perhaps best known for its winter activities: with 33-1/2 feet of average yearly snowfall, it’s obviously a skier’s paradise — but it’s none too shabby in the summer either.

“You’re surrounded by nature here,” according to Breton Murphy of Tourism Whistler. “Temperate rainforest, alpine hiking, and pristine lakes.”

The city also hosted the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, attracting over a million visitors.

Whistler is home to two First Nations communities — what Canada calls some of its indigenous peoples — and I visited an outstanding cultural museum while there, called the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center.
During my short visit, I didn’t encounter any Whistle Pigs, but a black bear munching on brush next to the sidewalk seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary, warranting not much more than a glance from passerby.


Tourism Whistler: http://www.whistler.com/

British Columbia Tourism: http://www.hellobc.com/


About Glen Abbott
Glen Abbott is a Florida-based travel writer & photographer specializing in motorcycle touring and travel. He is regular contributor to Harley-Davidson's HOG Magazine, and his travel features appear regularly in motorcycle magazines and other publications.

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  1. Places to visit

    August 31, 2012

    Nice collection of photos thanks for sharing these.
    Places to visit recently posted..10,000 Pinterest followers reached!

  2. Whistler seems like a fun place. I’m glad I didn’t go during the chaos of the Olympics, but I’d like to go now.
    Scott – Quirky Travel Guy recently posted..Lost luggage and frozen tents: lessons in perseverance from Alaska

  3. Christina

    July 2, 2012

    That picture of the cyclist with the bear… my word am I glad I only saw bear poop, not the bear itself.
    Christina recently posted..Mountain biking and canoeing in Whistler

    • Travelin' Gringo

      July 2, 2012

      It was kind of amazing to me, Christina. I seemed to be the only one phased by the bear next to the road!

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