If Paul Burrows and his wife Jane had come up with the money to buy a bus company, The Whistler Question might never have existed.
Back in the mid-1970s, Burrows did what many modern-day Whistlerites do: work part-time in construction and part-time ski patrolling. “It came down to two choices,” he said, in an interview marking the paper’s 40th anniversary in 2016. “Either a bus company or a newspaper. We didn’t have enough capital to buy three secondhand school buses, but I did have enough money to buy a Gestetner machine and an IBM typewriter.”
And thus, The Whistler Question was born.
This edition marks the end of that era. This week, The Question will publish its final issue.
In its 41 years, the paper launched countless journalism careers, won many BC and Yukon Community Newspaper and Canadian Community Newspaper Awards and, with each issue, aimed to live up to its tagline of putting “community first.”
As our last front-page photo indicates, it’s had many redesigns since Burrows put out the first edition in 1976 — an 8.5-inch by 14-inch newsletter, entirely handwritten with no photos — created in his Alpine Meadows home.
“I was everywhere covering the beat and taking the pictures, asking rude questions to everybody and writing everything that went on in Whistler from one person’s point of view… It was just me, out in the field, making the decisions. I was management, reporter and photographer. It started to get noticed because no one was writing about Whistler in any great detail.”
That quickly changed. In the following pages you’ll find the recollections of many past reporters and editors, as well as publishers, owners and photographers. You can also read a final, special edition of Burrows’ column, “Burrowings.”
All of the stories not only chronicle the paper’s 41-year history, but also the history of Whistler, the rapid rate at which technology has changed and the many relationships that this publication spawned.
When the paper published the announcement that it would be closing in the Jan. 9 edition, the outpouring of sadness and appreciation was heartwarming. “Sad news, indeed,” wrote a reader named Arden James on our Facebook page. “The WQ has been an important part of the community forever.”
“Thank you for your contribution to our beautiful Whistler community,” wrote Ghazal Tohidi. “You have linked the community members, businesses and resort guests together.”
There has also been plenty of appreciation for the paper’s 16 columnists, whose opinion pieces were an integral part of the publication.
Finally, plenty of Pembertonians spoke up about the value the paper brought to their community. “We will miss our Pemberton-filled newspaper and all the talented writers, story tellers, photographers and stories,” wrote Graham Turner.
To that end, readers will be pleased to learn that Pemberton coverage will continue in our sister paper, Pique Newsmagazine. As the announcement revealed, no one in the newsroom will be losing their jobs and will, instead, be moving over to that publication.
Stay tuned to see other elements of The Question that will move over as well.
Thank you for reading.