Long before Whistler was a resort town, it’s land was utilized by the Coast Salish people, specifically by the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations. From the drive along the Sea to Sky Corridor to artwork throughout the town, you will see that their history is prominent. By showcasing First Nations heritage across the Sea to Sky, it is ensured that it is remembered, practiced and honored. There is also a number of activities to take part in that generate cultural tourism, awareness and invite those from afar to gain an understanding of the unique history of the Sea To Sky area. Here are 4 ways to experience first nations culture in the Sea to Sky Corridor.
The Audain Art Museum has a permanent collection that showcases some of the works of British Columbia’s first peoples. In particular, the collection contains one of the world’s finest collections of Northwest Coast First Nations masks.
The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is an award-winning cultural center located in Whistler that was built by the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations to showcase their art, history and bring cultural awareness to everyone that visits. You will find exhibits and interactive workshops such as drum, dream catcher, cedar rope and medicine bag making. Tours run every hour on the hour and are a great way to fully experience everything the cultural center has to offer. Make sure to stop by the gift shop on your way out to take home authentic and exclusive handcrafted Northwest Coast First Nations merchandise.
As the highway exits Vancouver and enters the Howe Sound, you are able to embark on a cultural journey. Part of the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, several kiosks exist along the highway that depict the First Nations history of the area. Learn the names of landmarks and how the mythical beings shaped the very land you are traveling on. Take note of the overpass that connects Squamish Nation land on either side of the highway and railway. It was designed by a First Nation artist and contains significant cultural elements.
The Totem Hall can be found just off the highway in Squamish. It is the location of education, recreation, and community services to the Squamish Nation. The building features a stunning totem out front and houses many cultural events.
There are a number of things to do in Whistler and on the way into town that can help you experience First Nations culture. Make this experience possible by booking your trip to Whistler today!