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Best of Pemberton

By Cindy Filipenko Sometimes living in Pemberton is a little like looking for the forest when you’re caught in the trees.

By Cindy Filipenko

Sometimes living in Pemberton is a little like looking for the forest when you’re caught in the trees. To remind everyone that Pemberton has some pretty great things going for it, here’s the first — and definitely not annual — Subjective Best of Pemberton. Look for an online survey in late spring for the Pique’s first ever Best of Pemberton to appear in Summer 2007. In the meantime:


Best Landmark

The Stop Light

There’s only one traffic light in town so you can’t miss it and it sounds great when you use it to provide directions to someone who lives in the city. “Once you leave Whistler, keep going for about 20 miles until you come to the stop light …” Try saying this to someone from the West End and I guarantee you will hear the fear rising in their throats. Hum the theme from Deliverance for added effect.

Best Transportation

3-Wheeled Strollers

Nine out of 10 pre-toddlers swear by this method — or they would if they had enough muscle control to articulate actual words. Environmentally friendly, these usually mom-powered vehicles are immensely popular in Pemberton. However, this could be the precursor to a frightening upcoming trend: Roaming Tricycle Gangs. Watch for rampaging thongs of toddlers in 2007-08.

Best Use of Boulders

Village Barriers

Last year, on Earth Day, a number of ugly concrete road barrier were replaced with less ugly boulders. The boulders continue to mysteriously appear around town. (Most recently, the parking lot adjacent to the elementary school was geologically gifted.) They are great deterrents to aberrant parking behaviour, as well as an ironic post-modern homage to The Flintstones .

Best Act of Community Piracy

Free HBO Scam of 2004

In 2004, there was a two-month period where we “accidentally” received free HBO on our community TV band. Watching Sex and The City long before most Canadians had the opportunity felt, well, incredibly superior. This was a happy accident that warrants repeating. (I have a ladder I would be willing to lend…)

Best Excuse Not to Leave Pemberton

The Barn Dance

The unwritten rule: “What happens at the barn dance, stays at the barn dance” allows tourists and locals alike to let their hair — or whatever else they’d like — down.

Best Place to be an Emo Teen

The New Youth Centre

Without a mall, there are few places for angst-ridden teenagers to congregate. The proposed new location for the Youth Centre (the existing library) shows potential. Within walking distance of any point within the village parameters, the new centre will have enough nooks and crannies to allow for sulking space for whoever is in need.

Best Way to Avoid Tourists

Avoid Horseback Rides

Whether they’re up here taking advantage of a weekend, The Brokeback Mountain special or certain that the town’s Wild West architectural motif will ensure an authentic experience, tourists love the horseback trail ride. Where there’s hoof-prints, there’s tourists, you have been warned.

Best T-Shirt Slogan

Made in Pemberton

Rotary fundraiser T-shirts for kids reading “Made in Pemberton” attest to what we have had to do to amuse ourselves since the free HBO disappeared. In pink and black, these Ts are sure to show up as “club colours” for the anticipated Roaming Tricycle Gangs.

Best Geographical Feature

Mt. Currie

Resembling no other mountain in the area, this jagged monster looks like it would be more at home in Banff. Cresting at nearly 10,000 feet, Mt. Currie is the antithesis of the winter sports-friendly geography afforded by the likes of Whistler and Blackcomb.

Best Social Attribute


It’s a place where “A cowboy, an Indian and a lesbian walk into a bar” isn’t the opening line to a joke; it’s a description of any Friday night at any of the local watering holes. (Though to be fair, most people do say First Nations.) Socially and economically diverse, Pemberton bucks the redneck stereotype familiar to most small towns.


Best Federal Service

The Post Office

Instead of a cumbersome address, most Pembertonians have the luxury of a P.O. box. This saves valuable time writing return addresses on envelopes and forces us to go out on hellishly cold days to check if we’ve got mail. In turn, we learn to appreciate how warm our homes are on hellishly cold days.

Best Financial Institution

North Shore Credit Union

The staff recently replaced three of my bankcards over a six-week period and never laughed, snickered nor chastised me. I hope to apply this valuable lesson the next time the 14-year-old loses another house key…

Best Haircut

The Clip Clop Barbershop Back to School Special

Every year the Clip Clop Barbershop offers free Mohawks for kids going back to school. Key words: “free” and “Mohawk”. Does it get any better?

Best Sandwich

Turkey, Avocado and Double Smoked Bacon

The turkey makes you feel virtuous, you can convince yourself the avocado is high in “good” fats and the Double Smoked Bacon makes it delicious. You can get this nifty little concoction at The Pony Espresso. It’s best on a bagel.

Best Kept Secret

The Local’s Living Room

Formerly Char-isma, this combo bookstore-gift shop-music store-coffee bar-Internet café now offers a solid array of soups and sandwiches, as well as entertainment in the evenings. An excellent, if somewhat eclectic, book collection and truly incredible soups make it worth a trek up the hill towards the Liquor Store to check it out.

Best Gathering Place

The Pony Espresso

Practically a motherhood issue in Pemberton, this resurrected institution is the best place to find out what’s going on around town. In good weather, you can casually hang out on the Bullshit Balcony while on colder days, you can hop from table to table and the staff won’t give you grief. Fair prices, good food and waits just long enough to allow for a decent chin wag before you settle down to eat.