December 10, 2004 Features & Images » Feature Story

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Who’s really a local?

Peter Vogler no longer lives here but when he did he was famous for many things, notably his weekly column Village Voice column for the other local paper. And perhaps the height of his fame came each November when his "Local’s Test" appeared.

I moved here in time to catch five or so Local’s Tests and still fondly remember Peter’s idiosyncratic take on what established local status. For example, you would score points for swimming at the nude dock (+1), buying Peter a beer (+1), or growing your own pot (+3 points). You’d lose points for such sins as skiing on Saturdays (-1 point), not owning a bike (-3), or being a realtor (-5).

I’ve missed Peter and his Local’s Test since they departed to greener pastures on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive about 10 years ago. So, in his spirit, here is an updated contest between two long-time residents to see who really is a local.


Contestant #1:

Don MacLaurin, Local Tree Guy.

Contestant #2:

Mr. Yellow-Cedar, Local Tree.

How old are you?

75 and holding.

1300 years-old, give or take a few decades.

Where do you trace your roots?

Scotland, laddie.

Well, you might say my roots run pretty deep in Whistler.

What makes you a Whistler local?

We started with a place in Vancouver, first coming up to Whistler by train in 1961. Once we saw the place, that was it. Next year we bought in and started building in 1963. We actually came here for the great summers.

Our family tree goes way back, probably before the last Ice Age started 125,000 years ago. It got so cold, we made a dash for the south. It took us a few thousand years to get back after the thaw and we’ve been here since.

Why Whistler?

Great mountains. Great trees.

He’s got a point.

Best recreation?

Tree skiing.

Tripping up skiers.

Pet peeve?

Getting tripped up by trees.

Tree skiers.

What’s your favourite weather.

Beautiful weather just after a snow storm.


What did you do for your mid-life crisis?

Isobel saved for 25 years so I could restore my MG. Painted it a bright red. I still love bombing around the country in it with my main squeeze, Izzie.

That was about the year 1200. Great time – I threw caution to the wind and pollinated like crazy. Still recovering...

Any children?

Four. All great skiers.

Lost track. Got little gaffers growing all around me.

How’s your love life now?

Let’s just say there’s not as many wild oats to sow.

I’m still in the game but, man, some years I just feel like taking a break.

Signs of age

Wrinkles, achy limbs, and thinning on top.

Wrinkles, achy limbs, and thinning on top.

Regrets about getting older?

Every year it’s harder not to put a bit more around the middle.

Every year I can’t help putting another ring around the middle.

What’s the true test of a local?

A 1965 Whistler Mountain lift pass.

Talk to me when you’ve been here 1,000 years, sonny.

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