The Inukshuk, aside from being the mascot of the 2010 winter Olympics has great significance to native peoples of the Canadian north. Translated, Inukshuk means “in the image of man” and it was in that image that native Inuit people built these stone structures. The structures were constructed and used for hundreds, if not thousands of years as compass guides and were used as reference points.
These figures represented safety and reassurance that travelers were on the right path. The structures ranged from 2-3.6 m (7-12 feet) tall and were constructed with no cement only precisely placed rocks. The Olympic construction around Whistler has constructed no fewer than two of these (using rocks and cement) on Whistler Mountain. The first is seen near the Roundhouse Lodge and the other is located at the summit of Whistler Mountain which can be reached by taking “the peak” chair lift to the top of the mountain at 2,182 m (7,160 ft).
For later in the evening there's one of the many clubs in the Whislter area (jnlcuding those mentioned in my nightlife section). But for those of you craving a pint or other refreshments fresh off the hill then you are in luck as there are many restaurants with patios waiting for your arrival at the bottom of the main gondola area. Th best place for a pint and to people watch after a long, hard day of skiing/boarding is the Longhorn Saloon. They have a huge patio and a DJ spinning out your favourite tunes as well as the occasional live act. Other spots within easy walking distance of the Gondola are Garibaldi Lift Co. Bar & Grill (Whistler) and Merlin's (Blackcomb) mot places in the immediate area are beer and nachos type places. Enjoy!
The 2010 winter Olympics will be--in part--held in Whistler. In 2003 the venue was touted as the next Olympic city. Whistler will hold the Skiing, sledding, and jumping events. And many of the indoor events will be held in Vancouver.
The Olympic mascot the Inukshuk (explained above) has been constructed in multiple places on the mountain and the flags fly all over the village. The property value and popularity of the mountain will only continue to rise as the event nears and even after it has passed. For information on the latest news one may visit the Olympic office in the north end of the village stroll or visit their web site.
A few years ago the Vancouver Sun published statistics that Canada gives out 4000 working holiday visas every year to Australians. Out of the 4000 that arrive in Canada for their once-in-a-lifetime chance to work anywhere in the country for one year, 2500 of them end up in Whistler. In the same article they said that Whistler has an approximate permanent population of 10,000 people. So... if 2500 are Australians in a town of only 10,000 people, the likelyhood of you running into an Australian while visiting Whistler is incredibly, incredibly high.
Nowadays, even more working visas are given out to Australians every year. In fact, going to Whistler is becoming a rite of passage for Australians. There really is nowhere else in Canada quite like it. Nowhere else will you find thousands of Australians working all together in one city. Many go there because they want to work in a ski resort. I certainly hope they don't go there to experience an accurate portrayal of the Canadian lifestyle because Whistler's about as far away from that as you can get. Whistler is the epitome of a resort partyland, with a continuous flow of international travellers coming and going. In fact, may locals in Vancouver head up to Whistler to brush up on their Australian culture before making the 18-hour flight across the Pacific!
All this aside, there are certainly no negative feelings towards Australians in Whistler, or anywhere in Canada. They're more than welcome and they all know it! My little blurb here is to acknowledge the unique cultural situation that you'll only find in Whistler, the Mecca in Canada for Australians.