Supporting local is the mantra for holiday shopping this season, and in Whistler, its entrepreneurs, small business owners, artists, artisans and craftspeople make this easy. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to shopping for Whistler gifts and souvenirs, especially when you see the calibre of our locals artists and creators.
We pulled on our snow boots and hit the Village Stroll with the goal of hunting down some unique Whistler gift options that would look good under the tree, in a stocking, or as a keepsake to send across the miles to loved ones.
Part cafe, part clothing store, ecologyst’s west coast style is quintessentially Whistler. Their racks and shelves are stocked with cozy made-in-Canada, plastics free and sustainably created goods – in short, things you can feel good about owning and giving.
If there’s one piece of clothing that defines Whistler style it is a great touque. ecologyst’s hats perfectly embody Whistler’s style, 90% function, 10% fashion, but 100% cool. Both the cause of and solution to hat hair, taking home this iconic piece of Whistler fashion never goes out of style.
A ski vacation is one of the best ways to have quality bonding time with your family and friends. In the evening turn the technology off and spend time connecting without WiFi with a deck of Basecamp Cards. Beyond simply being a deck of cards, each card includes a question to pose to the group – perfect for sparking conversation. I recommend picking up a deck at the start of your vacation for use while you’re here, snuggled in front of the fire with something locally brewed in hand.
Socks have gotten a reputation as a bad gift, but we strongly refute this. If you think socks aren’t important, try going on an adventure in the wrong pair. Whether it’s to slip onto your own feet when you get back home or to give as a gift, a pair of ecologyst’s The Hikers socks made with merino wool should definitely make it into your shopping bag.
Audain Art Museum
Nestled inside the impressive lobby of the Audian Art Museum is their gift shop. You don’t need to purchase museum entry to go to the shop, but it’s such an incredible experience that it would be a shame not to. Look out for the pink “We Heart Local Art” stickers that denote the local artists that are represented. One of these is potter, Vincent Massey. He has a home studio in Whistler that is open to the general public in the Alpine Meadows neighbourhood, but the Audain has a lovely collection of his work for sale. You can’t help but reach out to touch the ceramic artwork of Kathleen Tennock. She works the clay using a method called Naked Raku, which uses smoke firing to create the markings, giving her pieces a beautiful stone-like quality. For some stocking, suitcase, or postage options take a look at Heather Johnston’s coasters, prints, cushions, and hanging ornaments all featuring her photography of Whistler.
Nook of the North
To the right-hand side of their counter, Nook of the North has a section featuring hand-painted festive decorations, coasters, plates, and funny sewn creatures from local artisans that are perfect for a small token or souvenir. Nook of the North work with a host of local artists including; Bronwen Granger, Amy Morrison, Glenn Rodgers, Gemma Kellet, and Ginette Guiver – Ginette actually won the recent Prior Snowboard Topsheet Design Competition this year. They also feature local cartoonist Adrian Raeside, whose dogs and wild animal stories have graced over 400 newspapers and magazines around the world.
Keir Fine Jewellery
This locally-owned jewellery store invites you in to take a look at their sparkling cabinets filled with precious gems and Canadian diamonds. The Jeanie Jewellery Collection commemorates a black bear who lived in Whistler, becoming the star of many tours for over 20 years. For each piece sold in this range, Keir donates a portion of the sale to Whistler’s Get Bear Smart Society, who help to educate the public about the bears who call this land home. A symbol used by the Inuit people of Canada’s Arctic region, the Inukshuk can be seen all over Whistler and is featured on necklaces and rings with the addition of one of those glittering Canadian diamonds – the perfect keepsake or dare we say, engagement ring?
We have some incredible authors who call Whistler home, and it’s no wonder given the inspirational place they have to hone their craft. Leslie Anthony’s byline can be found in Whistler’s Pique NewsMagazine as well as multiple adventure and ski publications and on the shelves at Armchair Books. From fact to fiction, Stella Harvey, the founder of the Whistler Writers Festival, is also the author of two books which have a connection to her Greek-family past. For younger readers, local author Sara Leach is a great option, and her Mountain Machines book has a definite tie to Whistler! This is also a good place to get cards including a whole selection of Whistler ones.
Whistler is near and dear to many of our hearts, and by taking home a piece of jewellery from Ruby Tuesday, you can wear Whistler close to yours every day. Found along the Village Stroll, this little shop stocks its display cabinets with unique treasures from local artisans.
To help you remember our landscapes, Treeline Collective has a range of mountain necklaces and tree rings, whether they evoke the feeling of awe you had when stood on top of a mountain, or the calming stillness you found in the forest.
A snowflake pendant from Justine Brooks is a great reminder of pow days and the fat flakes falling magically on the Village Stroll.
Picking up one of Nancy Dawson’s bracelets, carved in a traditional First Nations style, is a way to connect with Whistler’s indigenous culture. Her jewellery often depicts an animal and you could pick one that speaks to the traits of someone special in your life for a beautiful and personal gift.
Carlbergs Gift Shop
Using sustainable wood from local mills, Reclaimed Print Co. has a colourful collection of coasters, hanging ornaments, and wall decorations that feature iconic Canadian creatures and characters, as well as some Whistler-specific options. We’re huge fans of the lumberjack! They also have the candles and soaps of Squamish-based Howe Sound Soapworks – they might fit perfectly in the heel of a large stocking?
People typically spend in excess of $100 on their ski goggles, and then they get thrown in the back of the truck, squished next to you at aprés, and precariously stacked on top of your skis in the garage – in short, they can easily get scratched. That’s what Whistler-based company gogglesoc realized, putting fun and bright graphics on protective covers that not only solve this issue, but also look pretty dope. They even have a Whistler specific one – a great idea for an Xmas stocking. Note that McCoo’s also has a selection of Whistler t-shirts, hoodies, and hats to bulk-out your gift-giving options.
Whistler is more than just a place, it’s a lifestyle, and the folks at Whislife have embraced this by offering a wide variety of products to help you to “live your best Whis life”. I love buying from them because they really give back to the community. Whenever there’s a local fundraiser they’re always on the donor’s list and with each purchase, they include a free reflector to make sure people can be seen at night on our snowy walkways.
They sell pretty much every kind of clothing you can think of (other than underwear) and you could walk out of there decked head to toe in Whislife merch. I recommend the sweatshirts as they’re pretty popular around town and you’ll fit right in.
While you’re there you can pick up some other Whistler-made goodies that would make great stocking stuffers. Add a bit of heat to winter with Whistler Farmers’ Market favourite, Spcy Grls hot sauce and pick up a winter essential – a Whistler’s Lips vegan lip balm. Pick up a tube, or ten, and put them in the pockets of all your jackets (and a few stockings) – no one likes dry, chapped lips.
3 Singing Birds
With the tagline “the handcrafted – the discovered,” you can be sure that 3 Singing Birds is the kind of place where you can find some really interesting Whistler gifts and souvenirs. Located at Marketplace in Village North (and also at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler), this cozy store is filled with items crafted by local artisans.
Spruce up your shelf or mantle with some literal spruce, with a carved wooden block whittled by Alex Maertz. If you want to be sure that you can always find your way back, a hat with Whistler’s coordinates could be helpful. And of course, for a classic souvenir, you can keep or send a good ol’ fashioned postcard. The Anja Jane Whistler-themed postcards are perfect for sending some love to your family and friends back home.
Whistler Kitchen Works
They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home, so getting a souvenir from Whistler Kitchen Works can help you deck yours out with keepsakes from a place close to yours. Located at Marketplace in Village North, it’s easy to stop in while visiting Whistler Olympic Plaza or picking up your groceries at Fresh St. Market.
Memories are often tied to all our five senses. To ignite memories with smell, a Thymes Frasier Fir scented soap or candle will transport you right back to our lush coastal forests.
For a more tactile experience, the wood-grained surface of a Bush Backyard cutting board, which is crafted from sustainable wood sourced right here in Whistler, is an ideal souvenir. And, if you finish all your dinner, you could get a visual reminder of your time chasing pow in the mountains with a ski-themed crockery set.
Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) is a beautiful place to discover Whistler gifts and mementos. After experiencing a tour, don’t leave without a visit to the Thunderbird Cafe, which does a creamy salmon chowder served with a must-have side of bannock bread.
Their gift shop is another place to go for a unique and memorable keepsake. Carvings by local First Nations artisans fill the walls, stunning platters, bowls and glassware line the shelves, glass cabinets hold handmade jewelry and folded over racks are distinctive blankets, wraps and scarves. It’s hard to choose, so the team at the SLCC has curated four different gift boxes with some of their favourite items. There’s a His and Hers’ box, as well as a Cleanse and Knowledge kit.
Get the Goods
When you’re on the hunt for Whistler gifts and souvenirs you can’t go wrong with a stop at Get the Goods in Creekside. This shop is filled with so many cool treasures that I genuinely struggled to narrow it down to just three suggestions.
If you’ve ever wondered how they make ski maps you should definitely pick up James Niehues’ The Man Behind The Maps book. He’s the illustrator who’s lovingly drawn in each run on pretty much every ski map in the business (he’s covered 200 ski resorts over his 30-year career).
For a more abstract representation of mountain culture, you can pick up a print by Juan Teruel. He has a wide range of ski and bike prints (for those missing Whistler’s loamy summer days).
When you’re all dressed up in ski gear it can be hard to tell who’s who. A distinctive bandana or balaclava by local company Nibz is a practical keepsake that you can use while here, or pick up as a gift for friends.
Blenz Coffee Whistler
Our locally-owned and operated Blenz Coffee has always been a supporter of local artists. They always carry a unique selection of Whistler gifts, including some incredible feather earrings made from bicycle inner tubes by Raven Upcycling. They also have the artwork of Ali Cat Arts who developed the loveable “Creekside Critters,” which are a hit with kids and big kids alike.
If you loved the decor in your home-away-from-home, you’ll be a big fan of 122 West in Creekside. They’ve been outfitting Whistler homes and rentals for years and carry everything you need to recreate it in your own home. They have large items like living room furniture, but they also have a vast selection of things that would fit nicely in a postage pack.
Your time here will be pretty sweet and you can make it even sweeter with some Whistler made Chocohappy chocolate. This bit of Whistler fits nicely in your backpack, purse or stocking, but I can’t guarantee you won’t be tempted to take a nibble before you get home.
If you’ve been on top of our mountains on a clear day you are sure to have noticed Black Tusk. This iconic landmark in our mountainscape is a favourite subject for local artists. You can pick up Timothy Hoey’s Black Tusk to hang on your wall and it’s like you’re back in Whistler looking out from Whistler Peak.
Speaking of iconic landmarks, taking home a plaque listing some of Blackcomb Mountain’s classic runs will help remind you of some of your favourites, along with ones that you’ve still yet to tackle.
A dangerous place to step into unless you’re prepared to be tempted by rows upon rows of sweet treats! On their display units is a range of locally-made products perfect for foodies. Nonna Pia’s Balsamic Glaze is made in Whistler, and adorns many Whistler locals’ dinner tables, adding a dash of Italian sophistication. Then there’s Namasthé Tea Co. who hand blend premium loose leaf teas with their foraged botanicals and herbs grown organically by local farmers in Pemberton, and Frost Bites Syrup Co. who handcraft small batches of all natural fruit and botanical cordials, syrups and tonics in Squamish – yum!
Maury Young Arts Centre
Inside the Maury Young Arts Centre you’ll find the hub for all things arts and culture in Whistler – this is the home of Arts Whistler. In their lobby area you’ll find a great gift shop featuring all local artists and artisans, and make sure you take a peek upstairs at their free gallery. Stunning puzzles featuring the work of local photographer David McColm caught my eye, and I could just imagine doing that beside a roaring fire with the snow flying outside. Heidi the Artist has wearable pieces of art, placing her stunning paintings on leggings, scarves, and hats using recycled materials and natural fibres such as bamboo, hemp, organic cotton, organic linen, and silk. For the kids, there are colouring books featuring images from the Whistler Museum archives, as well as “Mountain Monster” stuffies, and comfy pillows that would look fantastic on a toddler bed (or your king-sized one for that matter).
Fairmont Chateau Whistler – Portobello Market
At the entrance of Portobello Market and Fresh Bakery is an array of gifting goodies. Their Chateau Wild Honey is made from bees that reside in their rooftop gardens and is a yummy stocking-stuffer idea. There’s Canadian sea salt from Vancouver Island, and scenic coasters and mugs made on Salt Spring Island – I realize these aren’t purely made-in-Whistler options, but they’re not from too far afield! I dare you to get in and out of this place without getting tempted by the smell of freshly baked donuts or a roast porchetta sandwich.
Blackcomb Liquor Store
Located in the Upper Village, opposite the main entrance of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, is the Blackcomb Liquor Store. Not only will you find some of the most knowledgeable liquor lovers in Whistler inside, but also a whole section of goodies dedicated to showcasing yummy products from all over British Columbia. Curated by the Edible Canada team, this section features beautifully packaged chocolate bars with local artwork on the front, and then there’s my favourite Whistler aprés-dinner treat – a lavender caramel Chocohappy cone. For those looking for a boozier Whistler-based gift check out Coast Mountain Brewery beers and Schramm vodka and gin – made from organic Pemberton potatoes.
Coast Mountain Brewing
Enjoying a cold après beer with friends is a Whistler ritual for locals and vacationers alike. The brewmasters at Coast Mountain Brewing in Function have a wide selection of cold brews to take home with you. Their newest beer, the Protect Our Winters Pilsner, is not only tasty, but a portion of sales goes to Protect Our Winters.
For a more permanent keepsake, pick up one of their insulated growlers. You can get it filled with a different tap choice every time you visit Whistler. The best thing? The first fill is included with the purchase, so you can take it home full.
If you’re admiring the art adorning their walls, you can also take that home with you. The brewery works with local artists to curate their tap house as a rotating art gallery. The featured artist changes regularly, so be sure to stop by every time you’re here in town.
We hope we gave you some ideas for Whistler-based souvenirs to take home and gifts for under the tree. Supporting local business is more important than ever this year and we’re proud to showcase just a few of the things our retailers have on their shelves.