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Whistler 2020 on the ground

Coming to terms with Whistler


By Laura MacKay

Whistler Centre for Sustainability

“Whistler!” The name is a valuable and visible moniker shared by Whistler Water, Whistler Pocket Chocolate and the Whistler Brewing Company. The name itself is a crucial component of the continued success and sustainability of our resort community. Whistler — the term and community — continually work together to pack an associative punch.

I spoke with Chris Dagenais, Director of Communications with Whistler Water, and discovered that the source of their water is at the base of Place Glacier north of Whistler (not out of Whistler’s taps, as the “urban” myth suggests).

Dagenais “acknowledges the tremendous equity of the Whistler name” and further explains that, “our water represents the purity and quality that is synonymous with the Whistler name.”

Let’s un(six)pack this “purity and quality” concept, through the lens of the Whistler Brewing Company — home of the Classic Pale Ale and Premium Export Lager, which are both made with Whistler Water and are the fastest growing beer products in British Columbia, with markets in B.C., Alberta, Pacific NW and expanding to Toronto, Beijing and Japan.

Bruce Dean, a native Aussie and President of Whistler Brewing, confirms the value of the name and its inherent associations; geographic beauty, alpine meadows, fresh air and an adventurous lifestyle adopted by Whistler residents and visitors alike.

“That is what Canada is, and Whistler symbolizes the whole lot,” Dean says, suggesting that visitors will return to their home constituency to raise a Whistler beer in fond reminiscence of their vacations.

“We think Whistler beer can be a symbol of a great experience on the Canadian West Coast, similar to the way Corona beer is symbolic of Mexico vacations,” he says. Whistler beer, with its internationally recognized name, will entice new visitors into the Whistler experience, drawn in by the inviting beer label images created by artist Jeff Burges, Dean says.

The labels for Whistler Pocket Chocolate, created by local artist Kerry Campbell, go a step further, promoting an active lifestyle that includes the enjoyment of chocolate through its blissful anti-oxidant properties. This active lifestyle is interpreted on the chocolate labels with kid-friendly images of adventurous bears. I sat down with Patrick Johnston, the president of the Whistler Pocket Chocolate Company and a native Whistlerite engaged in an active lifestyle, along with his wife and children, to explore his commitment to the more sustainable aspects of life in Whistler.

At the core, Johnston was interested in creating a product pure enough for his 5-year-old daughter Elle, who cannot eat chocolate containing traces of gluten, to enjoy. Another key to his motivation to start the company in late 2006 was to promote an active lifestyle as the context within which to enjoy great chocolate products. As he explains, “It’s about the purity of the environment, whether skiing, hiking, or just out for a walk in the woods, through our product I’m trying to market the active lifestyle and responsible enjoyment of Whistler’s incredible natural environment.”

Whistler Pocket Chocolate tastes truly sustainable, and a browse through its impressive ingredient list reveals organic cocoa mass, cane sugar, and cocoa butter. Whistler Pocket Chocolate currently supports the Whistler Farmers’ Market and other local food events. Johnston’s dream is to further enhance the local economy by producing all products in an organically certified kitchen in Whistler.

Any Whistler business, by geographic virtue, carries a Whistler association. Given this existing association, is your company/organization aware of our shared Whistler2020 sustainability commitment, and how it might positively impact your brand? This shared sustainability commitment is a naturally occurring competitive advantage here, one that countless other companies and organizations have paid millions to create in the psyche of customers and guests. For Whistler, it’s in the word.

To KNOW MORE about actions that are moving our community toward Whistler2020 visit .