Don and Isobel – The Life, The Legend, The Laughter, The Leathers.

Don and Isobel – The Life, The Legend, The Laughter, The Leathers.

With the everlasting debate in town as to when someone is considered a “Whistler Local” I’d like to offer up this marker:

You’re not a Whistler Local until you’ve had one (or ten) of Isobel MacLaurin’s homemade cookies.

It’s not hard to do. She’s quick to offer. In fact, almost every interaction I’ve had with this 86 year old firecracker has involved a plate of cookies, a glass of Prosecco, and a good story or two. She’s full of stories, spunk, and sass and holds the distinct honour of being Whistler’s first professional artist. Isobel and her late husband Don are pioneers of this town and are what every aspiring “Local” should aim to be. They love to celebrate, and are certainly worth celebrating.

Don and Isobel – The Life, The Legend, The Laughter, The Leathers is a retrospective show celebrating one of Whistler’s most dynamic couples. In a series of featured exhibitions Isobel shares tales of her and Don’s adventures in art, community, environmentalism, and travel, through her artwork, photos, and Whistler history memorabilia.

Check out these events and exhibits around town this month and soak up some of the charm and spunk of these local legends:


EXHIBITION: Don and Isobel – The Life, The Legend, The Laughter, The Leathers

Dates: May 4 – June 10
Times: Open Daily 10am – 5pm 
Location: The Gallery at the Maury Young Arts Centre
Admission: Free

Take a walk through the life and times of one of Whistler’s most prolific artists, Isobel MacLaurin, and her late husband, forester Don MacLaurin, illustrated through her sketches, photographs, and paintings. The exhibition features Isobel’s early works; her local iconic paintings; family memorabilia; stunning art from her travels and her infamous painted coffin featuring the view from her home and the alpine flowers she loves to paint. (Isobel says she’s taking her epic mountain view with her when she goes).


EXHIBITION: Inspired by Isobel – Student Works by Whistler Secondary School 

Dates: May 4 – June 10

Times: Open Daily 
Location: Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
Admission: Free to see the works – admission is required to visit the rest of the SLCC.

Isobel MacLaurin visited the senior art students at Whistler Secondary School in April 2018 for a day of inspiration. This exhibit is a collection of the students work inspired by her teachings.


EXHIBITION: Don and Isobel – A Retrospective of Community Builders

Date: May 5 – June 10
Open Daily 11:00am – 5:00pm and 11:00am – 9:00pm on Thursday.
Location: Whistler Museum and Archives
Cost: Entry by Donation

Isobel and Don MacLaurin play a large role in Whistler’s history, Isobel as one of the town’s first visual artists and Don as unofficial parks planner.  Isobel & Don: A Retrospective of Community Builders reflects on their years living in the valley and their influence and contributions to the community of Alta Lake and Whistler.


Paint with Isobel at the Alta Lake Station House – Open Painting

Date: Saturday, May 19
Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Location: Alta Lake Station House
Admission: Free

Join artist Isobel MacLaurin for an afternoon of drop-in painting at the Alta Lake Station House – a rustic makers’ studio located on the picturesque waterfront area of Alta Lake. Inspired by the natural surroundings, we encourage you to bring your own canvas and supplies to paint alongside Isobel. Visitors can also participate in a group painting, with supplies provided by Arts Whistler.


The Big Gamble! Annual Spring Fundraiser

Date: Saturday, June 16
Times: 6pm
Location: The Point Artist Run Centre
Admission: Advance Tickets $55 (includes annual membership) at

A fun and risky night at The Point featuring themed gambling tables with great prizes! Art auction, Drunk Whistler History with Isobel MacLaurin, Pianorama with Doc Fingers & Diane Lines, guest chef, cash bar and more.


These two have had an amazing life, if you have a story you’d like to share – we’d love to hear it!

If you want to know how to live a most excellent life, check out all of the festivities this month for a dose of Isobel’s wisdom, humour, and infectious enthusiasm. For a full list of events visit


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