News » Whistler

Remembering Doug Mansell


Doug was born in Vancouver on April 11, 1934 and came to Alta Lake in 1944 at age nine with parents Jack and Cis and brother Loyd. They settled and built Hillcrest Lodge (later renamed Mount Whistler Lodge) on the southeast shore of Alta Lake (Lakeside Park area today). It opened in 1945 and by 1947 it was in full operation with a total of 16 cabins available from the May long weekend until after Thanksgiving in October. In the peak season the family were very busy catering to over 60 guests. The Lodge was always booked a year in advance as, in those days, there was gas rationing so people liked to go up to Alta Lake by train and stay for their holidays.

At age 14 Doug went to work in Alf Gebhart’s Rainbow Lumber Mill that was located on the southwest shore of the Lake. During 1951-56 he worked for the PGE Railway (later B.C. Rail and now CN) as a telephone lineman. He covered territory from Squamish to Lillooet and occasionally went as far north as Quesnel. He and his helper travelled by speeder doing telephone installations and acted as an ambulance in emergencies.

Doug married Barb in 1956 and they had one daughter, Bev, who went to the little one-room school located near the mill until Grade 6. When his parents retired Doug and Barb managed the Lodge from 1958 to 1965.

Doug was a founding member of the Alta Lake Fire Department in1962 with Don Gow, Glen Creelman, Denis Beauregard and Dick Fairhurst as the Chief — almost the entire male population of the Alta Lake area at the time.

When the lodge was sold in 1965 Doug went to work for the Garibaldi Lifts Ltd. at Whistler Mountain, where he worked until 1983. He truly loved working outdoors building and repairing lifts and could be counted on to do the job in whatever the weather.

As the valley developed Doug actively participated in the Rotary Club and served on the Municipal Board of Variance for many years. He enjoyed playing golf in the “Goofee Golfers Glub”. When the first nine holes opened in Whistler Cay (now integrated into the Whistler Golf Course) 20 locals formed the first golf club and had fun at pot-luck dinners and presented goofy trophies after each weekly tournament.

In 1983 Doug and Barb retired to North Vancouver to manage an apartment block. They later moved to Kerrisdale, into Barb’s former home. Doug continued to play golf and took up curling. He especially enjoyed his family times with wife, Barb, daughter Bev (Ron) Hamilton and the light of his life, granddaughter Stephanie, all of Squamish.

He died peacefully at home on Tuesday, June 27, 2007 after a courageous battle for one year with esophageal and liver cancer. At his request there was no service. In his memory, donations may be made to the B. C. Cancer Agency or charity of one’s choice.

Add a comment