Ah, sweet Pemberton, let us bask in your considerable glory and celebrate your endless riches.
Every year, Pique asks Pembertonians to recognize the people, places and things that make Pemberton great (or in a couple of cases, not so great). Welcome to the 2016 edition of The Best of Pemberton.
BEST PLACE TO EXPERIENCE THE REAL PEMBERTON
The Best Place to Experience the Real Pemberton is (drum roll, please) One Mile Lake. Not quite half-a-kilometre long, the lake is the town's secondary community centre once the sun comes out. Home to the champion Laoyam Eagles and Falcons dragon-boat teams, flat-water paddlers and paddle boarders, it's a great place jump in and cool down when the mercury moves north of 30°C.
Locals named the second-best place to soak up some Pemby authenticity as the valley's commercial core: downtown Pemberton. And the third-best place to get your Pemby-on? The Pemberton Meadows, acre upon acre of farmland that proves the perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown.
BEST DAYTRIP DESTINATION
When when you live in paradise you sometimes have to get outta town and for Pembertonians that's going to places with even more trees and bigger water. Topping this year's Best Daytrip Destination is the eternal favourite, Joffre Provincial Park — home to the trio of blue-green watered wonders known as the Joffre Lakes. Once only accessible to hardy hikers capable of traversing boulder fields, a new accessible trail makes it easy for most to make it to the third lake. Birkenhead Lake and Strawberry Point, on the shores of Lillooet Lake, came in a tight second and third. A high mosquito-to-human ratio was likely one of the factors in Strawberry Point not ranking higher. The closest of the three destinations, it's worth loading up on bug spray to spend more time by the water and less time in the car.
It may be because it's the place to celebrate Halloween; The Glen takes top honours this year as Pemberton's Best Neighbourhood. Suburban living at its best, The Glen is a colony of two-storey, single-family homes, a couple of townhouse developments, lots of sunshine, great views of Mount Currie and a lengthy garage-sale season. Sporting a significant teenage population, numerous babies and an inordinate number of rescue dogs, the Neighbourhood, formerly known as Vinyl Village, is all about families. The Meadows proved the No. 2 choice for setting down roots. If you consider your neighbours to be the people whose driveway is 200 metres or more away from yours, this outstanding expanse of rural splendor could be your Xanadu. Pioneer Junction, with its great playground, its Wild West architecture and close proximity to The Community Gardens, takes third place.
BEST SUMMER EVENT
The overwhelming choice goes to that little party down the street that we like to call Pembyfest — The Pemberton Music Festival. Canada's biggest camping music festival returned in 2014 under the guidance of New Orleans-based Huka productions. This time next week the festival will be in full swing. And everyone will be wondering: How is it that 98 per cent of festivalgoers in the VIP section are locals who've entered the space by virtue of being able to leap like gazelles? Followed by the question: How can I learn to leap like that?
The second choice for best summer event provides the antidote to ear-splitting EDM and throwback rockers (Pearl Jam? Really? Isn't that your dad's music?): The Slow Food Cycle. A staple for summer fun since 2004, this annual event takes 4,000 cyclists up through The Meadows to meet farmers, sample produce and fill up those tasteful little wicker baskets on the front of their cruisers. Canada Day, with its parade and host of activities at the Community Centre, rounds the roster of best summer events.
BEST WINTER EVENT
It just makes sense that an event called Winterfest should take this honour. Celebrating all that is icy and good about mountain living, Winterfest is a double-winner this year, with one of the festival's premier events, The Polar Bear Swim in frigid One Mile Lake, also tied for third place in this category. Some people chose to nominate not events, but rather activities in this category, citing skating and snowmobiling, respectively in second and third place. If that doesn't illustrate the diversity of the Pemberton outdoor experience, I don't know what does.
BEST PEMBERTON TREND
Biking and babies and food, oh my — these are, in order of ranking, the local trends that Pembertonians chose. Over the years biking and babies have duked it out for the top trend, with biking taking top spot this year. It is conceivable that the additional support for biking comes from parents whose babies are now either teething or tantruming in their teenage years. Pembertonians know the stress-reducing, soul-enriching power of pedalling.
BEST USE OF MONEY
Winning this year's Best Use of Money award is the Downtown Community Barn (The Barn also ties with the Community Centre for worst use of money. Go figure.) Trails came in a solid third. Some quiz-takers thought this category referred to the spending of tax dollars, or the use of their own money — so they cited The Mile One Eatery as the second-best use of money.
WORST USE OF MONEY
The Downtown Community Barn and the Pemberton District Community Centre are together again in the No. 1 position for worst use of money. The failure to test Pemberton water was deemed the Worst Use of Money — or rather, in this case, not using any money. Again, some folks took the idea of "use of money" to the personal level and cited alcohol as the second worst use of money.
BEST POLITICIAN — SITTING OR NOT SITTING
Mayor Mike Richman was the overwhelming favourite representative for this highly coveted award. Number 2 and 3 faves were MLA (and former mayor) Jordan Sturdy and VOP Councillor Jennie Helmer.
BEST NEW BUSINESS
Best New Business in P-Town? Bring on the spice, bring on the coconut milk! Barn Nork Thai Cuisine has brought authentic Thai cuisine to the outskirts of Pemberton. Located about six km north of town, this welcome addition to Pemberton's culinary scene wins best new business. Lynx Café, a 125-sq. ft. food truck pumping out the tastiest espresso-based beverages and fish and chips in the Sea to Sky corridor took second place, while Prospects Thrift Store is a funky second-hand store with a purely Pemberton vibe, rounded out this category.
MOST DESIRED BIG CITY AMENITY
A swimming pool remains the No. 1 Most Desired Big City Amenity by the people of Pemberton. An ice arena is No. 2. And many just don't want any big city amenities at all — that's why they moved to Pemberton in the first place.
NO. 1 REASON WE'RE NOT LIKE WHISTLER
Voters agreed, the single biggest reason that Pemberton is different than Whistler is the community. The second and third reasons Pemberton is not like Whistler build on that concept of community with residents citing a laid-back vibe and slower pace of life — and with "friendlier" named the defining feature of this awesome mountain town.
MOST DUBIOUS DECISION MADE BY COUNCIL
Pembertonians were definitely interested in what was going on at the Village of Pemberton council table last year. The passing — and later rescinding — of a bylaw to restrict drive-thrus was named the No. 1 dubious council decision by 61 folks. One minute it looked like people would be able to pick up their Timbits without leaving the comfort of their minivans, the next minute that dream was shattered. Taking steps to crack down on Vacation Rentals by Owners (VROB) through education was deemed council's second most dubious decision. And the purchase of a new $550,000 fire truck rounded out this trio of troubling decisions.
BEST DECISION MADE BY COUNCIL
Working to foster a better relationship with the Lil'wat Nations was deemed the best decision made by council this past year. Many considered the purchase of the new fire truck to be council's second finest decision. The third best decision honour went to the crack down on VRBOs through education.
NEWS STORY OF 2016
All three news stories of 2016 actually occurred 2015. Taking first place: The Birken mudslide that created a million stresses and one miracle: Rob Elliott and Erin Stewart Elliott — and their son River — managed to escape their house before it was decimated by the slide. The wildfires — with the dense smoke that had people smelling like bacon and squinting to see the outline of their neighbours' homes — was the second biggest news story. Taking up the rear: The announcement that the Pemberton Music Festival was returning for a third year.
BEST EXAMPLE OF WILD WEST ATTITUDE
Showing that Wild West Attitude is waning, this year's participants chose iconography of the Wild West instead. In order of recognition: The hitching posts at the Pony and around town; horses; and Bob Menzel. For future reference, examples of Wild West Attitude are exemplified by: building an addition onto your home without a permit; racing your ATV through your own neighbourhood; and refusing to give a damn about regulations or social expectations. In other words, it's about having fun, ignoring the rules and letting your freak flag fly.
BEST PLACE TO SPEND YOUR LAST $20
The winners of this category prove that Pembertonians think with their stomachs. With such a variety of awesome food and beverage produced in our bucolic valley, it's no wonder. The Mile One (see the Food and Beverage sidebar), home of the burger that drew the attention of The Food Network's "You Gotta Eat Here," has been chosen as the No. 1 place to divest yourself of that lonely $20 bill residing among the cobwebs in your wallet. The Liquor Store and Blackbird Bakery took second and third place.
FAVOURITE PLACE TO LAY YOUR HEAD
The Pemberton Valley Lodge, an all-suite hotel with resort amenities, is the first choice for nightly accommodation. The Log House B&B and Greenwood Country Inn are this year's second and third choices for housing out-of-town guests.
BEST VALUE FOR YOUR MONEY
Restaurants and retail fought for this title with The Mile One coming out on top. Prospects Thrift Store and Small Potatoes Bazaar won second and third place.
NEXT ARTIST WHO SHOULD HAVE ART IN THE ROUNDABOUT
Interesting, the top two contenders in this exciting category, Vanessa Stark and Karen Love, are both visual artists. So, how would canvasses work in the roundabout? Sculptor Mike Tyler, known for his beautiful re-creations of local wildlife, came in third in an incredibly tight race.
Favourite Artists in order of Pembertonian preference: Vanessa Stark, Karen Love and potter Meg Gallup. You can experience their awesome artwork around town, from art cards available at One Earth to a fine selection of mugs and bowls for sale at The Famer's Market (Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. at The Community Barn).
Photographers have long been capturing the stunning geography and natural beauty that makes Pemberton unique in this region. This year, newcomer Aime Leblanc takes top honours, followed by Dave Steers and Toshi Kawano.
Dakota Pearl, the first local band to grace a stage at The Pemberton Music festival, proved to be this year's favourite, followed by The Hairfamers (we count Grateful Greg as one of our own), and Whole Lotta Led. Fun fact: Grateful Greg lends his sweet vocals and percussive prowess to both The 'Farmers and everyone's favourite Led Zeppelin cover band.
For the 97th year in a row, Lisa Richardson has been selected at the people's choice for favourite writer. Asked to spill a few words about this enduring honour, this is what Lisa penned:
"A friend once asked me if I walk around my house naked. "You should. It's a really good way to feel comfortable with who you are." I wonder if parading your innermost thoughts through the streets of town counts, too? There are a ton of people in this little community with interesting things to say and invaluable ways of looking at the world... I'm always trying to recruit them to share their thoughts on The Wellness Almanac, and happily, quite a few say yes (Shout out to Connie Sobchak, Anna Helmer, Dawn Johnson, Janet Ouchterlony, Sarah Valentine, Evelyn Coggins, Bruce Miller, Michelle Beks, Christine Cogger, Zoe Martin, Tanya Richman, Amica Antonelli, Danielle Saul, Harriet van Wart, Sheldon Tetreault, Kalmia Hockin, and a multitude of Instagrammers and photographers) who've all lent their words, ideas and pictures to that project I read exquisite work all that time that makes me want to snap my pencils and toss my laptop in the lake, but I figure all I can do it keep banging away, keep putting it out there... So, thank you, Pemberton. It means a lot and is hugely appreciated. (And if you are ever so emboldened to write something yourself, message me at HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" \t "_blank" email@example.com and I'll recruit you. We accept pictures, too. :) #shamelessplug"
Katherine Fawcett, author of the amazingly inventive and beautifully written collection of fabulist tales, Little Washer of Sorrows, comes in second. Locally, this auspicious debut is available at Blackbird Bakery, Armchair Books and The Pemberton Public Library.
And yours truly takes third place again this year. And no, I am not bitter.
BEST REASON TO GO TO THE PEMBERTON MUSIC FESTIVAL
Not surprisingly, "the music" was the No. 1 reason for going to Pembyfest. Proximity to town and the ability to have fun came were deemed the secondi and third-best reasons for attending this four-day helluva good time.
BEST REASON NOT TO GO TO THE PEMBERTON MUSIC FESTIVAL
Many Pembertonians consider the vast number of people (this year the festival's audience is expected to be 42,000, approximately seven times the entire population of the valley) as the best reason to stay home. Others felt there was "no reason" for staying home, coming in third was "too expensive/too hot."
BEST PLACE FOR GAZING AT MOUNT CURRIE
The overwhelming majority of Pemberton have decided that the best place to view majestic Mount Currie is from their own homes. Big Sky Golf Course took second place as the best locale for gazing at the geological wonder, while Mile One Eating House and One Mile Lake came in a close third.
BEST GOLF COURSE
With only two golf courses in Pemberton, each with loyal followings, the competition was fierce. In the end, Big Sky took first place with The Meadows nipping at its heels.
BEST BIKE TRAIL
It's hard to believe that Pembertonian mountain bikers would give up their secrets, but in order of preference, the honours for best bike trail go to Happy Trail, Fat Tug and Bathtub (tied) and Cream Puff.
BEST HIKING TRAIL
When locals lace up their trekkers the first trail they head out to is the one that takes hikers up to the third lake at Joffre Provincial Park. The trail from One Mile Lake to Nairn Falls proved to be the No. 2 choice, while the trail that runs from the parking lot at Nairn Provincial Park to the top of the spectacularly dramatic falls took the No. 3 spot.
BEST INDOOR SPORT
Once again the favourite indoor sport of Pembertonians is (drum roll) baby making. (This would explain our current day-care crunch.) But if there's no one to make babies with, or the desire not to, the people chose working out as their No. 2 inside sport, followed by yoga.
The closest race in this year's Best of Pemberton was for best. In the end, One Mile proved to be the locals' favourite, with Gates and Mosquito lakes taking second and third places.
BEST PLACE TO RUN A TODDLER
A toddler who's exhausted by 6 p.m. is a parent's best friend. The best choices for running a toddler towards exhaustion are, in order of Pembertonian parents' preference: The Waterpark, One Mile Lake; and The Community Centre.
BEST ACTIVITY TO TAKE PART IN AT ONE MILE
Other than using the lake as a "toddler run," the favourite activities are paddle boarding, followed by swimming and walking, and dog walking and dragon boating. Hmm, that's actually five activities, but who's counting?
BEST PLACE TO CURE A HANGOVER
The fact that this category is in the sports and recreation says something about how Pembertonians spend their leisure hours. The majority of Pembertonians choose to knock out the cobwebs from the night before at home. Others subscribe to the thought that the best cure for the results of over-imbibing is a trip to One Mile (the No. 2 choice), or The Pony. It's unknown how many of these folks order eggs with runny yolks.
BEST PLACE TO RIDE YOUR DIRT BIKE OR ATV
Need to open the throttle in an environment that promises maximum fun?
Pembertonians desiring a hair-straight-back recreational experience choose, in order of preference, The Mackenzie Trails, Green River Motocross Park and The Hurley (tied), and any back road.
BEST PLACE TO RIDE YOUR HORSE
When Pembertonians saddle up their mares and steeds, the place they like to do it best is The Meadows, home to equestrian centres, beautiful mountain trails and expansive farmland. "Anywhere" and "around town" proved to be the second and third most popular destinations to enjoy one-horsepower travel.
BEST PLACE TO SNOWMOBILE
The Pemberton Ice Cap was voted the No. 1 destination for serious sled-heads. The Hurley emerged as a third choice for ripping it up in the snow, while "anywhere" took second place. Watch out downtown Pemberton.
BEST GOLF HOLE
Predictably, the winner of this category was "any 19th hole." Three holes at Big Sky: No. 4, No. 18 and No. 19 tied for second place in this category. Big Sky's No.3 and The Meadows No. 19 also tied for third place.
Pembertonians love the fine people who make our town tick, here's the best of the crop for 2016.
FAVOURITE THERAPIST (MASSAGE, PHYSICAL OR CHIROPRACTIC, ETC.)
FAVOURITE OUTDOOR GUIDE
(Note: Much like Cher, most hairstylists are known by their first names only.)
FAVOURITE RETAIL WORKER
Pembertonians are serious about their food and beverage because we work hard and play hard, building up healthy appetites and serious thirsts. Here's a list of where we like to refuel, starting out with The Mile One Eatery.
The Mile One Eatery
As you've probably already ascertained, this is one popular joint, cited as the best value for your money (especially if it's your last $20), a great place to view Mount Currie, cure a hangover, have a pint, enjoy a steak, grab some takeout, have dessert, enjoy a patio and experience great customer service. So it's not surprising that once again The Mile One, winning 17 awards overall, sweeps the food and beverage section, winning:
BEST PLACE TO HAVE A PINT
BEST DESSERT Blackbird Bakery
BEST CUP OF JOE
BEST BEER SELECTION
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