We invite you to slow down, look around, and breathe in the beauty.
Our Culture Paths series are curated suggestions for strolls, bike rides, and leisurely drives with an arts, culture, and heritage twist. The Culture Paths link together public art, galleries, heritage buildings, and businesses that support local artists (We Heart Local Art) so you can discover them at your own pace.
Go digital and load the Culture Paths on your phone, or pick up an Arts Scene magazine at the Arts Centre before you head out so you can learn more about the artists and locations as you explore.
Slow down, get curious, and go explore…
Culture Path: Whistler Village Stroll
Walking (1.2 km)
Timing: 2-3 hours
Starting at the Olympic Plaza in Village North, this CultureWalk heads towards the base of Whistler Mountain at the Village Centre, culminating at the art galleries found inside the Westin Resort and Spa Whistler.
Take your time perusing the galleries, check out that piece of public art you always see out of the corner of your eye, and head into that local business with the intriguing looking art display. There’s also some very tempting coffee shops along the route too – just sayin’.
Walk/Bike (1.2 km)
Timing: Half to full day
The Cultural Connector links six of Whistler’s key cultural venues. It’s marked by yellow, black and grey banners that flutter in the wind on the lampposts, and by the bright yellow loungers that give you a place to put your feet up and relax. This CultureWalk weaves its way from the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre to the Whistler Public Library with some Olympic heritage, public art, and a skate park thrown into the mix along the way.
Our suggestion is to go the longer way round, via the Upper Village, that way you can meet Jeri – you’ll know him when you see him. If you’re exploring on a Sunday, check out the Whistler Farmers’ Market at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, it’s on from 11am-4pm until October 8.
Bike/Car/Scooter (5.9 km)
Timing: Half to full day
The Valley North CultureWalk includes some off the beaten path exploration to some of Whistler’s heritage buildings and home-based-studios. It starts in Alpine Meadows and takes you along the Valley Trail to Alta Lake Road, ending in Alta Vista.
Culture Path: Whistler Valley South
Car/Scooter (5.4 km)
Timing: Half day
Starting in Creekside this Culture Path includes exploration into home-based studios, hotels, breweries, and Olympic heritage, heading through Creekside, Function Junction, and out to the Callaghan Valley.
Please note that home-based studios are featured on these Culture Paths and it’s best to call ahead to check they’re open before you head out.
Culture Path: Squamish ArtWalk (Sept 1-30 only)
Time: Full Day
For the month of September art will be taking over in Squamish with over 30 businesses showcasing 40 local artists. There’s lots to explore so our suggestion is to get out and see as much as you can until Sept 30!
Culture Path: Downtown Squamish
Time: 2-3 hours
Starting at the Squamish Arts Council, located in Junction Park, this CultureWalk weaves its way through Downtown Squamish. The Arts Council usually hosts a rotating gallery exhibit and is sat in the same park as the Stone Flower sculptures and U Siyam Pavilion, where you might find some local music talent performing. Further up Loggers Lane, behind the Arts Council building, you’ll find the work of two Vancouver Biennale artists and a First Nations canoe shelter.
Heading onto Cleveland Avenue you should keep an eye out for the Heritage Walk plaques that can be found marking buildings of interest. While you’re at it, try and find the work of street artist MaryMary who displays his work in unexpected places. Wander up towards the Inspired gallery, which started as a pop-up studio but soon became an integral part of Squamish’s art scene. If this is making you thirsty head into the Zephry Cafe and check out the local artists they support while you have a cuppa joe. On your way back go one street over onto Second Avenue, poke your head into the Squamish Academy of Music, find out why the Squamish Hotel has two different entrances and stop off at the Foyer Gallery inside the Squamish Public Library.
Culture Path: Bowen Island
Time: Full Day
Bowen Island is a twenty-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. Get prepared for a slower, laid-back approach to life, where the term “dilly-dally” can definitely be applied. The artsy nature of Bowen Island makes it a great place for cultural exploration, which you can mix with some stunning kayaking and hiking. If we had a day to explore this happy isle, we’d start at Snug Cove, where the ferry comes in, and head up towards Artisan Square.
Depending on whether you’re then tempted into some of the shops, cafes, and restaurants along the way we’d certainly suggest not rushing and allowing a leisurely paced full day. From Snug Cove up to Artisan Square it takes about 10-15 minutes of uphill walking – look out for the little signs to find the off-road pathway. If you happen to be on Bowen on a Saturday, check to see if the full Farmer’s Market or Tailgate Market is on at the Community School as you pass by.
Note: We’d suggest doing this route on foot so that you can keep an eye out for any unexpected pop-up galleries and events. However, Artisan Square is up quite a steep hill so if you have any mobility issues you might want to consider taking the car, checking the local bus schedule or calling Bowen Taxi.
Culture Path: Pemberton
Time: Half-Full Day
Located twenty minutes north of Whistler amongst the lush fields and towering mountains is Pemberton. This area has a rich history, ranging from the Interior Salish tribe who first called this area home, to the modern day seed potato farmers who are following in the footsteps of European settlers who came for the gold rush.
We suggest spending time exploring Downtown Pemberton, and then jumping in your car to discover what roams the greens at Big Sky Golf Course, and then heading up to the studios in Birken.
Note: The museum and studios are seasonal and typically open in the spring, summer, and fall so call ahead before you head out that way in the winter months.