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From Ben and Josh's parents, good-bye and thanks

Canada Day away It is 5 p.m. Saturday, July 1 st , 2006, Canada Day. The Canada Day Parade in Whistler is underway without me.

Canada Day away

It is 5 p.m. Saturday, July 1 st , 2006, Canada Day. The Canada Day Parade in Whistler is underway without me. Instead I am in my newly established store, Great Games & Toys II located in the quaint and charming summer resort of Gananoque, Ont. It is located on the St. Lawrence River in the middle of the Thousand Islands.

I have no Canada Day parade to attend so I find myself fondly remembering my last 20 years in Whistler. I miss the privilege of leading the Parade in my Mr. Canada costume. I regret I will not be able to hand out toys and stamp the children with "Made in Canada" stickers. In 1991 I began walking in the Canada Day Parade to show my pride in our great country. Having traveled the 4,800 km across Canada from Whistler to Gananoque I have an even greater appreciation for this multi-cultural nation we live in.

While Kathy, Grace and I no longer live in Whistler, we still own Great Games & Toys. I am selfishly requesting that you continue to frequent my store in Marketplace and buy lots of toys and then I can come back to Whistler and visit with you, and write it off as a business expense. "Right Dave?"

I am asking you all to be my eyes and ears in Whistler, and I am inviting you to share your Canada Day memories.

Please drop off your comments, stories, and photos of Canada Day at Great Games & Toys to be displayed in the store and receive a free toy. On B.C. Day Aug. 7 th , 2006 prizes will be awarded.

Thank you my friends for your generosity as we prepare to begin our journey. My heart will always reside in Whistler.

Steve Henderson

Gananoque, Ont.

A relay to remember

RE: Relay for Life

Many thanks to Tamsyn Morote, Relay for Life Coordinator, North Shore and Squamish, for a fabulous event Friday, June 23rd.

Thanks to all the volunteers and other participants in this year's Relay for Life over $94 000 was raised in our area for the Canadian Cancer Society! Forty-two teams were on site from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. for the 2nd annual fundraiser in Squamish. We all enjoyed the great live entertainment and movies shown on the big screen.

Susan Holden, your song was very touching and inspirational. The luminaries in honour and in memory of loved ones gave us all a chance to reflect on those we have loved and lost, or who are battling the disease. It was a great night, for a fantastic cause and the weather co-operated nicely.

Thanks again to everyone! Let's make next year's event even bigger and better.

Kelly Johnston

Mountain FM

Where angels dwell and life is precious

On the fifth of June this year, two young lives were tragically taken from us on the slopes of Whistler. Ben Kontor and Joshua Bradford, two adventurous guys from Australia, were living in Canada, working and having the absolute time of their lives. Every day, they looked forward to hitting the slopes, working the lifts and helping visitors to the mountain enjoy every moment.

As the families of Ben and Joshua, visiting Whistler to take the boys home was unfortunately our first trip there but after staying a few days, we can safely say it won’t be our last. As emotional as these two days were, it was hard to be sad. In between all the rushing around, we got a chance to step back and take in the natural beauty the area had to offer. Snow capped mountains, pristine rivers, cascading waterfalls and pine trees as far as the eye could see was truly a sight to behold. However, this wasn’t what made our visit so special. The friends and colleagues of Joshua and Ben were absolutely amazing. From being there for us to provide support, to organising the beautiful memorial, to sharing a beer and just having a chat, the likes of Dom, Rob, Luke, Paul, Matt, Shaun, Cal and many, many others were just magic.

Special mention must be made of the Director of Experience Development and Delivery at the Whistler Blackcomb Resort, Kirby Brown. Kirby had the job of driving us around, organising us whilst there and making sure anything we needed was taken care of. In such a difficult time, Kirby was an angel and no amount of thanks or words can justify just how special he is. Kirby is a tribute to the Whistler Blackcomb Resort and a shining example of a wonderful human being.

We’ve said our goodbyes to Joshua and Ben but the hurt and sadness remain. The support we received in Whistler made it so much easier for us than it could have been and for that, we are eternally grateful.

We’re just so glad the boys got to experience what Whistler has to offer and we look forward to going back in the future and creating our own wonderful memories.

In memory of Josh and Ben.

Best wishes,

The families of Ben Kontor and Joshua Bradford

 

One for the budget-minded

I would like to commend Mayor Ken Melamed and Hostelling International on their recent announcement of the possibility of a new hostel for Whistler located at the athletes’ village site.

Whistler is in serious need of budget accommodation due to the closing of the Shoestring Lodge and the small size of all other alternatives. Hostels not only offer the budget-minded traveller a place to stay but are the first point of call for a sizable number of seasonal workers trying to find a job.

We at HI Whistler would also like to take this opportunity to invite the community at large to come and help celebrate the 33rd anniversary of HI Whistler. We operate on a property that has been welcoming visitors to Whistler since the 1920s under many different guises.

On Saturday, July 22 we will have a lineup of five bands, DJs, free boat rentals and a large prize draw. All proceeds will go to charity. Families are welcome. The event will run from 2 p.m. until late.

For anyone in Whistler who has not been to the Hostel please come along and enjoy our wonderful location.

Raymond Martin for

HI Staff

Whistler

Questions from the dark side

As Mike Vandeman pointed out (Pique letters June 22), mountain bikers are truly evil and represent the Antichrist, with our ruggedly built machines and our big burly tires out to erode mountainsides one trail at a time.

In Mr. Vandeman’s letter he states that he has always been practising minimal-impact recreation while mountain biking "creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, extends humans’ reach into wildlands, and drives wildlife and other trail users out of the parks."

So being from California, did Mr. Vandeman drive all the way up here on a highway in a big SUV or did he fly up to Whistler in a noisy aircraft?

Seems to me, that cars make even bigger scars across the land and that airplanes are not exactly environmentally friendly machines themselves. I was just reading that earth’s temperature is the warmest it has been is 2,000 years! Whose fault do you think that is, evil mountain bikers or everyone who drives a car back and fourth from work or to their "minimal-impact recreation"?

Chris Hartley

Whistler

A relay to remember

RE: Relay for Life

Many thanks to Tamsyn Morote, Relay for Life Coordinator, North Shore and Squamish, for a fabulous event Friday, June 23rd.

Thanks to all the volunteers and other participants in this year's Relay for Life over $94 000 was raised in our area for the Canadian Cancer Society! Forty-two teams were on site from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. for the 2nd annual fundraiser in Squamish. We all enjoyed the great live entertainment and movies shown on the big screen.

Susan Holden, your song was very touching and inspirational. The luminaries in honour and in memory of loved ones gave us all a chance to reflect on those we have loved and lost, or who are battling the disease. It was a great night, for a fantastic cause and the weather co-operated nicely.

Thanks again to everyone! Let's make next year's event even bigger and better.

Kelly Johnston

Mountain FM




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