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.
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.
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.
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.
Skitch (Knicknacks and Paddywacks)
A long time fixture on the Village Stroll, Skitch is filled with local- and Canadian-made goods. For the authentic scent of Canada, I recommend picking up one of their maple syrup candles. I have personally received one as a present and every time I light it, I close my eyes and it’s like I’m at the Crystal Hut on Blackcomb Mountain getting waffles.
To help you celebrate your time on the slopes you can choose a piece from the wide selection of bright, ski-themed paintings by Whistler artist Cori Ross. You can also take one of our locals home with you, or at least a sculpture of one, with Ron Stephens’ metalwork beavers and bears.
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 free to visit from December 20 to January 24, an early gift from the Resort Municipality of Whistler. 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 souvenirs and gifts 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.
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.
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.