Canada is a fairly well-rounded nation. We have beautiful wilderness, polite citizens, hilarious comedians, tenacious athletes, and we can do some amazing things with potatoes and gravy. This July 1 marks Canada Day and 146 years since Canada became its own place. As one of the most incredible spots in this beautiful country, Whistler is preparing to kick-out the jams and make our nation proud.
There’s no way to cram everything amazing about the second largest nation on the planet into one three-day weekend however, nor could a person partake in all Whistler has to offer in that time. So here is The Whistler Insider’s “9 Ways to Get Canadian” guide to celebrating Canada this long weekend and beyond.
Party of the Year in Whistler Village
Whistler Village was designed and built specifically for fun. What better time to test it all out than the Canada Day long weekend? The Whistler Outdoor Concert Series kicks into high gear Saturday June 29 and carries through until Monday with an all-Canadian line up including rockers 54-40, Matt Dusk, Wil, Ruckus Deluxe, Kalan Wi, Norman Foote and Jeremy Fisher. Enjoy free shows at the Whistler Olympic Plaza Saturday and Sunday evenings and then a giant Canada Day hootenanny on Monday afternoon after the parade.
There’s also a Canada Day pancake breakfast , arts, crafts and street entertainment throughout the Village all weekend long. The aforementioned Canada Day Parade starts at noon on Monday July 1 in Whistler Town Plaza. Get a full weekend breakdown at Whistler.com and don’t forget to wear red and/or the maple leaf.
The canoe literally put Canada on the map. From the First Nations to early explorers like Alexander Mackenzie and the Voyageurs from Quebec this simple boat with two pointy ends was an essential tool in exploring and creating our country. Canoeing in Whistler is decidedly less intense than Alex Mackenzie’s first-ever trip across the continent but there is definitely some adventure to be had on the River of Golden Dreams or Alta Lake. Whistler’s Canoe tours are the best way to enjoy the peaceful zen-simplicity of pulling a paddle through clean Canadian waters while the natural world drifts on by.
Hike and Explore
The Canadian identity is tied to our landscape and it would be a shame not to enjoy some of the great outdoors on Canada Day so take a hike, eh! From short loops around Lost Lake to full-day trips up Rainbow Mountain to that “top of the world” floating sensation of the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola and trails on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, hiking is a great way to see our home and native land.
Not only are Whistler’s sunny patios an ideal place to watch the Canada Day Parade they also double as relaxing spots to sample true Canadian beverages like “The Caesar” a clammed-up Bloody Mary that is consistently voted Canada’s favourite cocktail. And everyone knows Canadians love beer so why not sample some local brews from the Whistler Brewing Company or the Brewhouse at Whistler? Be sure to drink them from a chilled or frosty glass, it’s a holiday after all.
Wear a Toque
It doesn’t matter how sunny and warm the weather is, Canada day is the perfect time to wear a toque (which is what we call knitted hats or beanies). If you get too hot just remove some other articles of clothing but rock that toque hard and always refer to it as a toque. By nightfall it’s guaranteed you’ll feel more Canadian than ever and the toque will keep you warm and comfy. (note: if you don’t own a toque Whistler has plenty of places to pick one up).
Historically Whistler’s big fireworks night has always been Halloween but over the past few years we’ve been lighting up the skies on Canada Day as well. This year the action starts at 10:15 PM and the best place for viewing is Skiers Plaza at the base of the Whistler Bike Park (we could change the name to Biker’s Plaza for the summer I guess, but in Canada winter is always just around the corner.) Whistler Transit is offering free public transit from 6 PM till late so you can celebrate responsibly and have fun riding the bus.
Learn Some Pre-Canadian History
The Squamish and Lil’wat peoples have been living in these mountains since time immemorial so Canada Day is as good a time as any to check out the exhibits and artifacts at the Squamish Lilwat Cultural Centre. They have self-guided nature walks, an ancient tools exhibit, weavings, carving incredible traditional foods and really awesome hand-carved canoes. Check it out.
Canadians make great artists. Maybe it’s all that time inside during the dark cold months of winter, or the inspiring landscapes all around us. July 1 marks the start of ArtWalk, a month-long showcase of local artists displaying in businesses and cafes around Whistler Village. Grab a map from the Whistler Arts Councill at Millennium Place and go check out some Local artists. There is an official opening night on July 4.
July 4th is American Independence Day and it wouldn’t be very Canadian of us to disregard our friends and neighbours to the south so Whistler is celebrating Independence Day weekend too. The party starts Thursday and carries through the weekend with more free concerts, more street entertainment, more fireworks, the exciting conclusion of the 5-day BC Bike Race, the high-speed action of the Whistler Longboard Festival, the official opening party for ArtWalk and all the great summer activities and adventures that make Whistler awesome.
Happy Canada Day, Happy Independence Day and hello summer. Let’s do this!