Florence Petersenís book, First Tracks, on the early days of Whistler, has been available for almost a month now and Iím delighted that so many have been sold already and how much positive feedback we have had. Florence wrote this book because she wanted to preserve the memories of the pioneer days and she would have been so happy to know that so many people were reading and enjoying hearing these tales.
One of the great things about First Tracks for me are the maps, which really help me to get a sense of how everything fitted together at that time. Often people will describe to me a location and I think I have an idea where it is, but when I look on a map I realize that my guess was way off. Therefore a big thank you must go to Tom Barratt, who created the map of the valley that is used in First Tracks and generously donated it for Florence to use. Florence then was able to determine where most of the buildings and settlements were from her own memories and still more were identified through research into the archives.
There are five maps in all, showing everything from the location of the railways stations to logging camps to the homes of the early settlers. The map printed in this article pinpoints the locations of all the lodges. Most people know the location of Rainbow Lodge (the name ďRainbow ParkĒ kind of gives it away). However, it was only when I started working with Florence on First Tracks that I realized that the area where The Point arts centre is, was originally the location of Harropís Tea Room and later Cypress Lodge. In fact, the building that The Point is in is part of the old Cypress Lodge. Although I had probably been told this several times, it was only when I worked on the map that this information sank in.
In total there were six lodges around Alta and Nita Lakes and only one of them, Tyrol Lodge, is still in existence today. First Tracks tells the story of each one of them and brings it all together with photographs and, of course, maps.
Copies of First Tracks are available to buy at the Museumís gift shop for a suggested donation of $20. We are open daily, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sarah Drewery is the executive director of the Whistler Museum.