Fonds PHILIP - Philip Fonds

Myrtle Philip and Ivan Ackery Group of Happy "Rainbowites" Ivan Dancing at the Train Station Portrait of Ivan Ackery Original House on Point of Alpha Lake An Evening's Catch in Miller Lake House on Alpha Lake Skookum and Kii at Alta Lake Winter skating on Alta Lake Spring Flood at Alta Lake
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Philip Fonds

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  • Textual record
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~1700 photographs
201 postcards
78 cm of textual material

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Name of creator

(19 Mar. 1891- 15 Aug. 1986)

Biographical history

Myrtle Frances Tapley was born to a family of New England seafarers on March 19th, 1891 in the eastern United States. She studied at Bluehill - George Stevens Academy to become a schoolteacher where she boarded with the Philip family. It was there that Myrtle met her future husband.

Alex was working on the West Coast of British Columbia with his father at the time but was returning home for the holidays when he and Myrtle literally ran into each other as he entered the front hall. They were inseparable for the week that he was home, going on hikes or having picnics together every day. For the next four years Alex and Myrtle corresponded faithfully by letter (Myrtle worked in teaching positions in the Brooksville schools) and in 1909 Alex sent for his bride-to-be. The two were married in 1910, St. Helen's, Oregon and decided to settle in British Columbia.

 Myrtle Philip became Whistler Valley's most significant female pioneer, migrating to the west coast of British Columbia in her early twenties with her husband Alex. The young couple fell in love with British Columbia's Coast Mountains and decided to carry out their dream of building a holiday retreat. With the guidance of John Millar, who worked as a trapper and fur trader, the Philips travelled north of Vancouver up the Pemberton Trail to a place called Alta Lake - the perfect wilderness setting for a fishing lodge. Adventurous hiking, plentiful fish stocks and healthy mountain air soon made the Lodge the most popular resort destination west of the Rocky Mountains. Guests were warmly welcomed by Myrtle, Alex and the Lodge staff, and invited to participate in a number of outdoor activities such as horseback riding, swimming, boating, hunting, skiing and skating.

Myrtle was an avid contributor to the spirit of the growing Alta Lake community. She started the Alta Lake Community Club and played an integral role in the development of the Valley's first school. Although Rainbow Lodge was sold in 1948, Myrtle continued to be a prominent figure in the Whistler Valley until her death in 1986. Mrs. Philip's extensive contribution to the development of this unique resort town is still evident today. She was a member of the Alta Lake District Ratepayers Society for many years. For some years she served as the Secretary for ALDRA.

In 1983 Myrtle moved to Hilltop House Senior Home in Squamish. She is buried in Whistler.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of personal papers of Myrtle Philip, including education documents, journals, diaries, banking records, certificates and passports, legal and property records, correspondence, birthday and recipe books, postcards of the Alta Lake/Whistler area, scrapbooks, reference material, and photographs. The photographs depict the Philip family, people (including guests at Rainbow Lodge), events, and scenes of the Whistler area. The fonds includes Alex Philip's manuscripts, as well as records relating to his estate. The fonds also includes records of Rainbow Lodge, including guest registers (1915-1947), a cashbook (1928-1952), employee records (1941-1948), invoices, and receipts.

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Physical condition

Poor-Good (December 2016)

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Florence Petersen on behalf of the deceased Myrtle Philip.


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All inquiries regarding use, reproduction, and publication should be addressed to museum staff.

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RAD, July 2008 version. Canadian Council of Archives.



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