On the last day of September a new Instagram account called Whistler_Memes popped up.
The mystery 'grammer posted six pictures—all were images we've seen in memes before, but they were repurposed with a decidedly Whistler slant.
One, for example, showed an intrepid mountaineer looking worn out in the desolate, snow-covered alpine. Caption: Makes it to the 3rd Joffre lake.
Another was a group of people packed shoulder-to-shoulder in line to receive bread. Caption: Fat Tony's at 3 am.
A third showed four images of a woman deep in thought, surrounded by complicated math equations. Caption: Trying to figure out your Sushi Village bill after 14 sake margaritas.
OK, maybe the humour doesn't translate when written out, but the account immediately blew up to its current following, one month later, of 3,414 people.
Pique got in touch with the masterminds behind the group to find out more about what prompted the account, where their ideas come from and what kind of local sentiment they seem to have tapped into.
They asked to remain anonymous in order to preserve the fun, and we agreed ... partly because we also have no idea who they are.
Pique: I know you guys want to remain anonymous, but what can you tell me about yourselves? How many people are involved? How long have you lived in Whistler? (I'm guessing a while based on the insider-y memes.) I'm also guessing you're guys?
Whistler Memes: There is one of us that runs the Instagram account and turns the rough ideas into the final memes, but three of us (two guys and one girl) came up with the idea for the account. We've all lived in Whistler between seven and 10 years now. Can't say where we are from because it would probably give us away.
Pique: Tell me a bit about how the idea came up to start the account.
WM: We were walking the dog on a rainy Sunday and talking about the BC Ferries meme page and some of the other B.C. meme pages and thought Whistler would be perfect for one as it's such a unique community with lots of things the people that live here can relate to. (Mostly the drinking memes haha.)
Pique: Also, incredibly, 3,000 followers in less than a month! Were you expecting that kind of reaction?
WM: Yeah, honestly it has been a bit insane. We thought it would be more of a thing between our friends that might eventually take off, but the right people saw it and shared it and it blew up quickly after that. It's been a fun hobby for the last couple weeks. People around town seem to love it so it's great to see that people have been enjoying them.
Pique: What do you think you've tapped into with this account? This is just my perspective, but it kind of makes you feel part of a community in a weird way when you get these really funny jokes that visitors wouldn't understand. In a town with 2 million visitors a year, maybe that's a valuable thing?
WM: I think we've tapped into anyone that lives or has spent a decent amount of time in Whistler, and understands the quirks that come with living in this town.
Pique: Are you guys accepting submissions at this point or how are you coming up with these ideas so consistently?
WM: We have had some meme submissions but only one has made the cut. We get lots of ideas sent to us that we have worked into final memes, as well. And we brainstorm a bunch of ideas in a group chat that we try and turn into memes. We probably come up with four to five decent ideas a day.
Pique: I truly lol'd at the Moguls stir stick post in particular. Are there any memes you're particularly proud of?
WM: I think the girls bombing pumpkin patch pictures onto instagram one is my favourite and I like all of the "really drunk in Garf's" ones because I can usually relate to those ones the most.
Pique: I have to ask, are any of you affiliated with any local businesses? You spread the love around pretty evenly, but I'm curious.
WM: We're not affiliated with any businesses but we try to show some love to the businesses that have shown us love as Whistler locals over the years.
Pique: Which post do you think has had the best or most surprising reaction (in comments or likes or a combination)?
WM: I think the basic city girl/Aritzia/ TNA/ lululemon shopping meme had the most comments and reactions. A lot of people really liked that one.
Pique: How much more do you think it'll grow?
WM: I wouldn't be surprised if it hit 10k followers; it seems to be growing faster and faster every day as more people see it. The residents in this town seem to have somewhat of a meme addiction during the dead season.
Pique: Will you reveal your identity eventually?
WM: I don't think we will do a big reveal or anything like that but I'm guessing people will slowly find out who is behind it. Some of our friends have caught on, but they've kept it on the down low for the most part. I think it's funnier to keep it anonymous.