Passing Pemberton and Whistler

Views From Pemberton

Pemberton is a town full of physically active, outdoorsy type people. Less than a half hour from Whistler Blackcomb, and with much cheaper real estate, it is quite a haven for people who enjoy outdoor sports and activities.

The town shows this. Though it is small, about 2,100 residents, and only has a few main streets, they are packed with spas and whole food places, organic eateries, yoga studios and fantastically self righteous cafe’s.

Pemberton wasn’t accessible by anything other than train, until the 1960’s when highway 99 was built. It was a couple of Hudson’s Bay men looking for a safe fur trade route, that initially founded the town in the early 1800’s.


It isn’t a bad place to visit – I have friends who live here. I never stay longer than I have to though – I am just NOT that ‘outdoorsy’. Though I love bike riding, I don’t want to careen down the side of a mountain.

And, I think walking is dead boring, unless you have some fantastic conversation to keep you interested – or you are in Europe walking through cobblestone streets taking in some history. Adding physical labour to it, and re-naming it ‘hiking’ simply doesn’t make it any better for me!

Pemberton Park

My husband doesn’t like bread with nuts and such in it, so that cancels out 90% of the local eateries! We have tried a few, and I thought the food was delicious. If you like to eat healthy, you won’t be disappointed here.

We met some colourful locals when walking our dog in the park., They were offering us a variety of illegal street drugs, or pills – whichever we preferred. When we declined, they asked us for a smoke. We did not decline. They chatted to us about life and travelling. An interesting, unexpected moment.

Pemberton Hotel

And on a previous visit, we decided to spend the night in the local (cheap) hotel. It was here we had our first (horrifying) bed bug experience. Our ONLY bed bug experience so far (thank goodness), though it did leave us with a permanent paranoia.

…Hence the truck bed – at least we know what we are sleeping on – and that the bedding has been cleaned – UGH!

Whistler Runs Ski Home

We stopped for a moment in Pemberton, for old times sake (retold each other our horror stories; ” remember when we pulled the sheets back in the morning and…”), before driving toward Whistler.

When looking up the population of Pemberton, I found out that Whistler, before the development of highway 99, was known as ‘Alta Lake‘.

A Good Run

We knew we wouldn’t be stopping in this time, we had a few other less popular destinations we wanted to hit. Over 2 million people a year visit the small ‘resort municipality’ of about 10,000 permanent residents.

Most of the people who work at and in Whistler are not Canadian. The number one nationality of Whistler workers is Australian, and this is glaringly obvious when you visit. Nearly every restaurant staff member, most lift operators and every ticket taker is Australian.

Behind the Australians are members of the EU, which makes Whistler quite an interesting place – and less a reflection of Canada than any other Canadian place that I have been to.

So keep that in mind if you visit. The ‘party mentality’ that plagues the resort can be blamed on foreigners! We can be quite a boring bunch of rule followers, us Canadians – on our own volition – maybe that’s why we leave the running of Whistler up to others!

As it turns out, our next tour is to Whistler, for a long weekend of (expensive!) 40th birthday mayhem. Fancy resorts, mountain ATV rides, tree top zip-lines, and of course some nights spent out. Nowhere in BC better for causing yourself memorable damage. Stay tuned! 

You can follow this trip by heading to the ‘Summer to Winter Tour‘ section. You can also find many more photos at the Habitual Runaway on Facebook.


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4 responses to “Passing Pemberton and Whistler

  1. we recently did a road trip of Southern Alberta and Fernie, BC and I thought of your stories through small towns. Southern Alberta is quite nice to drive through unlike perhaps north Alberta.


    • Oh yes – southern Alberta has a bit more going on that in the north – I think the Trans Canada is responsible for that – and the *slightly* warmer temperatures! The foothills are quite lovely & the area around Fernie is ok too – hope you enjoyed your tour! Nice to know THR crossed your mind 😉 – exactly my intention!! 😛


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