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Burnett, Frank

  • CA-BC-BF006
  • Persona
  • d. 1930

Frank Burnett was a Scottish-born photographer and anthropologist who immigrated to Eastern Canada as a young man and eventually settled in Vancouver. Beginning in 1901, he made ten ocean voyages to Africa, Australasia, South America and the Pacific Islands. Burnett documented his travels with photography and acquired many cultural artifacts, 1200 of which went on to serve as the UBC Museum of Anthropology's founding collection. He also wrote extensively about his journeys. Burnett died in 1930 during the middle of a speech he was giving at a Canadian Author's Association banquet.

Merchant, Vera (nee Barnfield)

  • CA-BC-BV001
  • Persona
  • 1916 - February 28, 2014

Born in Brackendale to her parents Alfred and Daisy Barnfield (some of the earliest European settlers in the Whistler area), she first started coming to Alta Lake with her family at the age of four to deliver dairy. Her family owned land on the north side of Alta Lake and used to bring the cattle up for the summer. The family moved to Squamish in 1926 to establish a large dairy, but continued to manage the Alta Lake dairy in the summer. Vera worked as staff at Rainbow Lodge as a teenager in the 1930s.

Vera married Arthur Swann in 1937 and had four children: Doreen, William, Valerie, and Beverley. In the late 1940s she remarried Wayne Merchant and had another daughter, Lori. Vera lived in Surrey for a time after her second marriage, but moved back up to Squamish in 1977 and remained there until 2009.

Wilhelmsen, Franz

  • Persona
  • 7 Oct. 1918 - 30 Apr. 1998

Franz Wilhelmsen was born in Trondheim, Norway on 7 October 1918. Decades later he would achieve his place in Canadian ski history as founding father of Canada's largest and best known ski resort, Whistler Mountain in British Columbia.

Franz first set foot in Canada in 1940, shortly after the outbreak of WWII, when he found himself stationed in Toronto while on a training mission with the Royal Norwegian Air Force. It was here that he met and married Annette Seagram. Following the war, the couple returned to Norway for a year before they settled in Vancouver, British Columbia. Franz tried his hand at several pursuits, none of which challenged his talents, energy or enthusiasm.

In 1960, the VIII Olympic Winter Games were held in California's Squaw Valley. The Canadian representative on the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) suggested that is a suitable site could be found near Vancouver, the province would be in a position to host a future games. Wilhelmsen had finally found his challenge. A group of Vancouver businessmen led by Wilhelmsen formed the Garibaldi Olympic Development Association (GODA). Its objectives were to have Whistler Mountain, located in the northern end of Garibaldi park, serve as the site for the 1968 Olympic Winter Games and to promote development of that area of the park for both summer and winter use.

On 21 November 1960, several of the same businessmen incorporated Garibaldi Lifts Ltd. with Wilhelmsen elected to serve as its first president. Wilhelmsen would go on to hold this title for the following twenty years. Willy Schaefler, designer of Squaw Valley's Olympic runs and an authority on ski terrain development was hired to analyze Whistler's development potential. His feasibility report confirmed the expectations; Whistler's terrain was ideal for all levels of skiers. The potential viability of Whistler was further confirmed by the fact that skiing as a recreational activity was becoming increasingly important and that the Vancouver area's population was growing.

The study recommended that the mountain's north face be developed initially as the slope was more amenable to the installation of lifts. British Columbia's government rejected the location as the slopes on the north side had already been staked by mining claims. Garibaldi Lifts Ltd. was obliged to move its terrain development focus to the southwest, Creekside as it is known today.

Developing the mountain would prove to be a challenge. At that time there was no infrastructure: no roads, water system, or power. However, the government of British Columbia did commit itself to constructing a highway from Squamish to the area if the capital necessary for lifts and other infrastructure was raised.

After Garibaldi Lifts Ltd. managed to secure sufficient capital through public investment, the enormous task of construction began in May 1964. By the end of 1965, the original resort was ready. This included a four-passenger gondola, a double chairlift, two t-bar lifts, a base lodge, a mid-mountain lift station and a warming hut on the summit. Six runs were available. On 15 February 1966, Whistler Mountain was officially opened to the public. The Greater Vancouver Tourist Bureau declared Franz Wilhelmsen its "man of the year."

Franz's contribution was instrumental in both the founding and the successful survival of Whistler Mountain as it grew into one of the world's leading resorts. He remained president of Garibaldi Lifts until 1983. Franz was awarded the Queen's Medal in 1977, inducted into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in 1988, and was a recipient of the prestigious W.A.C. Bennett Award given to those who have made a major contribution to sport in the province of British Columbia.

Tapley, Philip Bennett

  • Persona
  • 20 Nov 1888- 1 Apr 1971

Born in West Brooksville, Me. In 1911, Phil Tapley, a carpenter, came west to Squamish, B.C.. At first he worked in the new Newport Hotel as a carpenter in Squamish. He also worked for a time on the government dredge "King Edward". He also operated a trap line on the Mamquam River when fur prices were good. By 1912 Phil was managing a pack train of 13 horses, each carrying 250-300 pounds of supplies which serviced settlers and rail camps on the Pemberton Trail. When the railway was completed to Lillooet in 1915 the packing business became unprofitable. Philip Tapley went north to Alta Lake to help his sister, Myrtle Philip, in the construction of Rainbow Lodge. Once Rainbow Lodge was completed Phil returned to Squamish to work an eleven ton lauch "The Flying Spur" until he helped his father complete a contract for telephone poles and railway ties and returned to the Green Lake and Alta Lake area. He moved again to Alta Lake in 1925 with his wife Dorothy. After his daughter Doreen was born in 1926, they gradually cleared Sewall Tapley's property on the northwest corner of Alta Lake, until they had a productive farm with a variety of crops. They provided vegetables and milk to the resident families and summer visitors. Pip Brock has accused them of watering down the milk and speculated this was the reason they were called 'Tapley'. Phil continued to live on Tapley's farm until his death in 1971, aged 83. He always said: "There's no life like living off the land". They clung onto their farm and independence, still pumping water from the well, using oil lamps and a wood stove in the 1960s.

Trouwborst, Francine

  • Persona
  • b. [1980 or 1981]

Daughter of Sophia, who lived in Emerald Estates.

Archibald, Ernest Donald

  • CA-BC-AED001
  • Persona
  • December, 1876 - December 19, 1938

In the 1911 census Ernie is listed as born in the USA, however in the 1891 census, he is listed as being born in Nova Scotia; Nova Scotia is more probable as this is where both his parents were born. In the 1921 census he is listed as being born in BC. Ernest Archibald came to Alta Lake in 1912 with his sister Grace. He acquired 160 acres of land on the East side of the lake where he settled with his wife, Lucy and two daughters, Peggy and Nita - named after Nita Lake. He is listed in the 1921 census as living in Alta Lake with his wife Lucy, and two daughters. Occupation: miner. Lucy died in 1927. Ernie drowned in a tragic accident in the winter of 1938/1939 while crossing the seemingly frozen Alta Lake with his friend, George Trites. After this tragedy the sisters did not wish to return to Alta Lake and they sold their land for $3,500 to a Mr Higgins. Since his accident, it has been a rumour in Whistler that Ernie haunts a part Alta Lake.

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