Whistler's Olympic History and Legacy

Whistler's Olympic History and Legacy

Born for the Games

In the early 1960s, a group of Vancouver businessmen formed the Garibaldi Olympic Development Association in the hopes of bringing the 1968 Olympic Winter Games to British Columbia. After thoroughly exploring the rugged Coast Mountain range north of Vancouver, they found the perfect mountain (then called London Mountain). Even though the '68 Winter Games were awarded to Grenoble, France, they decided to continue developing a ski hill on London Mountain anyway.

On February 14, 1966 the newly renamed Whistler Mountain officially opened for skiers. While the resort made several more bids for the Olympic Games over the years, it took nearly 40 years for Whistler to finally make its Olympic dreams a reality.

After the Games: Whistler's Olympic Legacy

The lasting impact of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games on the community of Whistler is tremendous. With a vastly improved highway, two brand new competition venues, Whistler Olympic Plaza, the Athletes’ Village housing complex and the lifelong memories gained from hosting the world, Whistler will never be the same.

One of the most scenic highways in the world, the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler, received many upgrades in preparation for the Games. The route is now straighter with more passing lanes and turn-outs. The breathtaking scenery stays the same but the route is now faster, wider, safer and more convenient.

After the Games, the Whistler Sliding Centre and Whistler Olympic Park are now used for local sports and recreation, public tours, special events and high-calibre competitions such as World Cups. Whistler Olympic Plaza brings a new social gathering place to Whistler Village where residents and visitors alike can watch live music and theatre in the band shell, have a picnic on the expansive lawn or play a game of catch or Frisbee.

The Athletes' Village neighbourhood is now home to Whistler residents as an affordable housing complex. Also in the area is a brand new youth hostel and high performace gym with lodging for athletes in training. Located at the south end of Whistler, the complex has spectacular views and is a cozy community for Whistler employees.

From working and volunteering with the Games to welcoming people from all over the world into their homes with the Homestay program, Whistler’s vibrant community is forever changed by this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

2010 Legacies Now

Through 2010 Legacies Now, the province's First Nations' communities and youth are pursuing excellence in sport. For example, an Aboriginal Youth Sports Legacy Fund was created and has funded the first ever Aboriginal Youth Olympic Sports Challenge.

This project helped to identify potential high performance athletes leading up to 2010 and increase physical activity levels. Additionally, it will foster First Nations youth with sport opportunities, training and - hopefully - Olympic medals.

2010 Legacies Now celebrates diversity among groups such as women, youth, aboriginal people, inner-city residents, people living with a disability and people of all cultures. 2010 Legacies Now, through partnerships, creates opportunities via social and community development initiatives that will benefit all British Columbians and have an impact on every generation leading up to, and beyond 2010.