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Insider’s Guide to Whistler

Museum collaborators reveal favourite local haunts



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The Brian Finestone tour:

Test your relationship with your partner paddling a canoe together down the River of Golden Dreams; visit the dog beaches so you can see how much Whistlerites include their canine companions in their lives; take a trip to the top of the mountain, in whatever shape or form that fits the season; in the winter, any half-competent skier will be shown down the Blackcomb Glacier; and finally, "a stay in Whistler isn’t complete without a trip to Meager Creek hotsprings."

Feet Banks

Banks is Whistler’s one-man version of Siskel and Ebert, except you get the distinct impression that his "thumbs up" for the latest flicks can’t be bought. A Whistler resident for 16 years, Banks calls himself local.

"Every major influential event in your life happens after you turn 12," Banks reckons, so having moved here with his parents at that tender age, Whistler is the setting for all the major important events in his adult life.

"I hate it when people come to visit because you feel you have to show them everything," says Banks.

Any of us working front-line tourism and hospitality jobs have a natural aversion to play-acting as tour guides in our free time. Dutifully walking someone through the typical Whistler tourist attractions can be a turn-off. But, sometimes, a visitor gives you the chance to see something through the eyes of an outsider. And the eyes of an outsider are always fresh.

In the same way, your vision is freshened by going away.

"Every time I go away and come home," says Banks, "and drive past the Tantalus, I feel a huge weight lift off my shoulders…. Ahh, I’m home."

The Feet Banks tour : The skate park ("It’s something here that people should be really proud of"); one of the secret lakes he likes to chill at ("Even the secret ones are getting discovered, and if it’s a weekend, chances are someone will be there. There’s always someone at Loggers. Always hundreds at Lucille. I remember being a kid and being the only person there, with hundreds of little frogs. Now they’re all gone, because they’re the first to go when the biodiversity is being ruined."); a tour of the after-dark underworld ("Four bars in one night, and we’ll walk from one to the other. That’s so unique. To hit them all without having to drive anywhere.")