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Many of the Filipino workers had been working in Dubai or on cruise ships prior.
"They already have the experience that we're looking for in terms of having that engaging service and understanding what excellent guest service is. So you get people who are very committed to quality, which is obviously what the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and Fairmont hotels is all about," said Torrell.
That success prompted the Fairmont to go after a second wave of foreign workers in 2008. Thirty-six in total came from other countries, the majority again from the Philippines.
Everyone understood at the time that they were coming on a two-year work permit and then returning home.
"But in the meantime, the Canadian government had come up with a temporary pilot project for the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program and that's when the permanent residency came into play," said Torrell.
"It was an opportunity that we just couldn't pass up because we had these great colleagues who were working for us, who wanted to remain in Canada and by us helping and supporting their process through the BC PNP, that then somewhat fast tracks you for your permanent residency application."
The Fairmont has helped with 98 applications. There are four left to be approved at this point. But that means 94 people have become permanent residents through the hotel. Torrell estimates that about 85 are Filipino.
If Whistler didn't know about this quiet, tight-knit, hard-working pocket of immigrants, it certainly does after this past weekend when the Filipino community came out en masse for the second annual Intercultural Festival.
"The Filipinos love to show off their culture and this is an opportunity for us as a community to really tell Whistler we are here and we're helping not only the Filipino community but the community as a whole," says Rudy.
Standing in a circle, sheltered from the rain, six young Filipinos can't wipe the smiles from their faces after taking to Main Street to show Whistler one of the traditional dances of the Ifugao province.
Around them thousands braved the rain to take in a slice of world culture — from the food stands lining Main Street, to the traditional dancers, to the Japanese calligraphy and even rolling maple syrup lollipops.
The Filipinos however are a stand-out presence.
Regine Cervantes was thrilled to show off the dancing and the traditional garb at the second annual festival.
"It was a really nice experience for people to see our culture," says an exuberant Cervantes, in her brightly woven skirt.
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