A Canadian institution and symbol of downtown Canada for generations has chosen Whistler as the location for its first "boutique" store. Henry Birks & Sons of Montreal opened its Birks Boutique in Whistler Village Centre last week. The 50 square metre store, the first of several Birks Boutique outlets planned in the next few years, carries selected jewelry, timepieces, china, silver and gifts. "We’ve been working on this for over a year, doing the market research," said Lucie Brodeur, communications manager for Birks. "We think it’s a good fit for Whistler. We want to work with and in the community." Birks has hired eight Whistler locals to work in the new store and trained them at the flagship Birks store in Vancouver. Birks was founded in 1879. With landmark buildings in downtown locations of many Canadian cities the company has served several generations of Canadian families when marking big occasions, such as births, marriages and communions. Brodeur says the Whistler boutique is aimed at destination visitors, but also local residents. "We have things for any pocket, various prices, including affordable sterling silverware and gift items." The Whistler boutique can also order from the full range of merchandise Birks carries. A catalogue is available. Birks, a private company with 36 stores across Canada, has plans for several more boutiques and renovations of its large city stores over the next four-five years.