Whistler’s controversial Squaw Valley Crescent will soon have a new name.
At its July 6 meeting, council approved renaming the road in Creekside to Chamonix Crescent.
The new name was one of three proposed to residents of the street last year by the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), along with Cortina Crescent (site of the 1956 Winter Olympics and co-host of the 2026 Games) and Grenoble Crescent (site of the ’68 Games where three-time Olympian Nancy Greene-Raine won gold in giant slalom and silver in slalom).
Chamonix (site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924) received the most votes from residents of the street (16), followed by Cortina (10) and Grenoble (5).
With council’s approval, the RMOW will contact Canada Post, BC Assessment, ECOMM, BC Ambulance Service, BC Hydro, Fortis BC, Shaw Communications and Telus on behalf of residents (who will then be responsible for notifying any other agencies themselves).
The Lil’wat and Squamish First Nations were notified of the impending change in January, said general manager of infrastructure James Hallisey, and both nations will be engaged as the RMOW looks to revamp its Road Naming Procedure in the future.
“The aim of this process is for more Indigenous language to be incorporated into the Whistler community, which is located on the shared, unceded territory of the Lil’wat People, known in their language as Lil’wat7úl, and the Squamish People, known in their language as Sk_wx_wú7mesh,” according to a report to council.
While originally named in the ‘60s for the Squaw Valley Ski Resort (host of the 1960 Winter Games), Whistler’s mayor and council have had many requests to change the name over the years, with people pointing out the term squaw is an ethnic and sexual slur historically used to disparage First Nations women.
Councillor Jen Ford noted she was initially concerned about the negative impact to the 79 property owners on the street, “but on further reflection and discussion with a number of my colleagues I think that this is a great move for the community,” she said.
“And I think it recognizes we’ve had so many letters over the last six years that I’ve been on council, indicating the strain and stress that that name causes. And so I’m really supportive of this and I think that this is a good move.”
Mayor Jack Crompton agreed, and thanked the community members who live on the street for undergoing the “challenging” switch.
“But certainly I am grateful to the people, especially of the Lil’wat Nation and the Squamish Nation who have reached out to me personally and to members of council to share the need to have this changed,” Crompton said.
“And I’m grateful for their leadership as we move forward and consider naming of other streets and that kind of thing in our community.”