Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Happy Canada Day!

From butter tarts to rhythm & blues legends; how to have a kick-ass Canada Day in Whistler

There are those who would spend Canada Day holed up in their living room listening to orchestral versions of Kool And The Gang’s Celebration on CBC Radio and stuffing their face with baked goods.

And there are those that look forward to the nation’s birthday as a more social occasion.

To each his/her own.

The former should remember to pick up lots of radio batteries at the local hardware store and a couple boxes of delicious home-made butter tarts at the Whistler Farmers’ Market this Sunday.

The latter can pick and choose from a number of cool Canada Day events on Thursday, July 1, such as:

Who: Motor City Rhythm & Blues Pioneers — Stanley Mitchell, Kenny Martin & Joe Weaver

Where: Buffalo Bill’s

We’re missing the mark with these stuffed shirt U.N.-style conferences we invoke in the name of international diplomacy. If we want to solve conflicts and bring warring world nations together, the obvious solution is to invite them to a big-ol’ barbecue.

It’s amazing what can come together when people gather ’round to chew on charcoal-fired meats and shoot the summer breeze.

A few years back, for example, it was at a hazy, lazy summer barbecue that old friends and recording artists Joe Weaver, Stanley Mitchell and Kenny Martin began to reminisce about old times. After all, they had a lot in common, all three having hit records to their name in 1950s pre-Motown era Detroit.

Their easy chemistry and tight friendship sparked an idea with drummer/producer and fellow barbecue guest RJ Spangler – a vintage R&B revue starring the trio as The Motor City Rhythm & Blues Pioneers. The concept manifested into a smooth, soulful self-titled album released in 2002 on Blue Suit Records and has consequently revived their touring careers.

They’ll be touring through our fair village this Thursday.

With over 150 years of performing between them, Whistler R&B and classic blues fans should be licking their lips in anticipation of hearing classics like Mitchell’s Four O’Clock in the Morning and Martin’s I’m Sorry.

These guys sing with the kind of heart that new money can’t buy. You ain’t heard nothin’ until you hear their molasses-speed Motor City version of I’ll Be A Man For You.

All of those tears that you used to cry, when you be all alone.

I’ll hold your body close to me baby, your tears will be gone.

I’ll be there for you. I will be a man for you.

A man for you baby. That’s what I wanna do.

Damn. Try not to melt. Try not to let your heart melt right there. I dare you.

The Motor City Blues Pioneers take the stage at Buffalo Bill’s at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12, available in advance at Bill’s and Bestsellers and at the door. For more information call 604-932-6613.

What: Canada Day Bash

Where: The Crab Shack

The ’Shack’s all day, all night festival of food and music starts as early as you want it to – with an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast from 7 to 10:30 a.m.

Afterwards, sit back and let the syrup settle a bit because the day’s first musical act – Pete Coulliard of local rock bands WDC and Leth Dodis – takes the stage for a solo set starting at 11:30 a.m.

Following him will be the ’Shack’s Saturday night regular Mat Joe Gow, groovy trio Duran Duran Duran – a.k.a. Benson, Chris and Josh from notorious local porno-funk band Slow Nerve Action, and The Hairfarmers – the original good-time patio duo of Guitar Doug and Grateful Greg.

In the evening, the ’Shack’s got their Wednesday night hero Wes Makepeace and local Deadhead jammers Dark Star. Capping things off until closing will be new local punk/rock band The Fall of Summer, which features Michael Calder, Thenon’s Jay Greenway and The Crowley Band’s Mark Bannock.

Come for the morning, come for the afternoon, come for the evening, or heck, come for the whole damn thing. It is Canada DAY after all, and not Canada Couple-Of-Hours.

$5 cover at the door. For more information call 604-932-4451.

Who: Whole Lotta Led

Where: Dusty’s

Grateful Greg will be jamming out A.M. radio rock classics in the afternoon at the Crab Shack, but in the evening, he’ll crank the amps to 11 doing his infamous Robert Plant impression with local Zep cats Whole Lotta Led at Dusty’s.

Let’s face it, the real Zeppelin will never play Creekside. It’s just not going to happen. But with this tribute act in town, they don’t ever need to.

For more information call 604-905-2171

Who: Guitar Doug

Where: Dubh Linn Gate Pub

While Hairfarmer Greg goes off to play Plant in the Creek, Hairfarmer Doug will go off and play himself for the rest of the night at the Irish-style pub. Pints of beer and all your favourite sing-a-long rock songs – the essential Canada Day celebration led by a legendary long-time local.

What: Lunaflicks — The Bear

Where: Lost Lake Park

If bars and pubs and clubs aren’t your style, you’re in luck. This Canada Day happens to coincide with the first Lost Lake "Lunaflick" of the season.

An initiative of Whistler Community Services’ LUNA program to provide affordable, alcohol-free, night-time activities for young adults as an alternative to the bar scene, the Lunaflicks are an outdoor film series screened at Lost Lake Park every second Thursday throughout the summer.

This Thursday’s ’flick is The Bear , a feature film set in B.C. about an orphaned cub and a giant grizzly who band together to ward off enemies. The film will begin after dark following the Canada Day fireworks in Whistler Village. Filmgoers should bring something comfy to sit on, snacks and bug repellent. Don’t bring booze. That’s just not the point, and it’s not like there aren’t other drinking establishments in this town.

LUNA events are targeted at the 18-29 year-old demographic, however film lovers of all ages are welcome. Film admission is $2 for LUNA members, $4 for non-members. Membership is open to young adults and requires signing up for the free LUNA membership card, which can be done at the event. The card allows attendance at all LUNA events for $2.

A special Lost Lake shuttle leaving from the Gondola Transit Exchange before and after the movie will be available for 50 cents.

For more information go to

What: Pemberton Canada Day Festivities.

Where: Pemberton Community Centre Grounds

If you’re looking for a little more down-home flavour on Thursday, head north to Pemberton where the townsfolk will be capping off their Canada Day festivities with an evening of food and music.

The family event kicks off with dinner starting at 6 p.m. Beer gardens will run from 6 to 10 p.m.

The night also features live music by rockin’ blues crew Still Smokin’ and the budding guitar goddesses from Chicks With Picks, plus children’s entertainers and fire-spinners.

The festivities conclude with fireworks. Is there any other way?

For more information call 604-894-5443.