Rainbow Park, Alta Lake (Whistler Part 4)

Do you want to know how Whistler came to be a popular weekend resort? It involved a dream, a chat, and this stunning lake full of trout.

Around 1911, Alex and Myrtle Philip left Maine for British Columbia. Alex came to manage the Horseshoe Bar & Grill in Gastown, Vancouver. In the spring that year, a trapper named “Mahogany John” Miller, one of Whistler’s first settlers, came into the bar, and ended up talking about Whistler’s tucked away mountain valley to Alex, who along with Myrtle had always dreamed of setting up a fishing lodge in the wilderness. By August, the couple came to Alta Lake where they were captivated by the magnificent glacier-fed lake full of trout! It was a perfect match to their vision.

After two years of raising money to purchase ten acres of land on Alta Lake and with the manual help of Myrtle’s family who followed suit from Maine, Alex and Myrtle built Whistler’s “first commercial fishing and weekend retreat cabin” Rainbow Lodge [1914-1977], named after the rainbow trout on the lake.

Rainbow Lodge was situated by the Pacific Great Eastern(PGE) railway stop; so before the advent of dining cars, people from Vancouver who came to Whistler necessarily came to the lodge to eat (or stay). The lodge also functioned as a post office for the area.

PGE offered fishing excursion trips and it only took the maiden trip of twenty-two men from Vancouver to return home with great reviews of the awesome fishing and views that the news spread. Alta Lake (with Rainbow Lodge) increasingly grew in fame as a recreation retreat. And with that, Whistler kept going, growing, and glowing to what it is today.

img_9152-1Back to November 2018, after our “the-journey-is-equal-to-the-destination” day trek to Whistler, Whistler Village, and Lost Lake,  Brent drove us to our last stop, Rainbow Park with the stunning view of Alta Lake, the lake that beckoned people to come to Whistler!

With a majestic view of both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, Rainbow Park is one of three beach parks that surround Alta Lake. (Lakeside Park and Wayside Park, the other two.)

We get a more typical cold and foggy last look at Whistler this afternoon at Alta Lake. A nostalgic thanksgiving in my heart to have had a sunny visit on this mid-November day when as Brent said, there is typically “zero per cent chance of sunshine.”

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And to cap off this poignant goodbye to Whistler, a peak of the moon in between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.

img_9190-1Nature is just so beautiful. Thank You, Lord, for this gift.

I finally get to take that nap I’d been craving since 7am.

In a little over an hour, Brent’s announcement came, “Welcome to Raincouver where we rust, not tan.”  As I woke up, it seemed like I had just come out of a delightful dream.

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