The case for Whistler’s greatest icon 

Residents debate who or what is Whistler’s greatest icon

By Nicole Fitzgerald

What: Icon Gone?

When: Thursday, Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Admission: Free

Who or what do you consider Whistler’s greatest icon?

Is it Rabbit, the former kingpin of the ski bum party scene?

Is it the Boot Pub, the locals’ living room and former home to the best music in town?

G.D. Maxwell says nay to them all.

The Toad Hall poster is Whistler’s greatest icon, he will argue.

But how will that argument stand up to Kirby Brown’s contention that Whistler’s greatest icon is the peak of Whistler Mountain — the key inspiration for most people and centre point to everything built around it, he would argue.

No one knows what or who Whistler’s greatest icon is.

The matter may be settled when a group of Whistler’s most devoted and opinionated citizens and leaders present their cases at MY Millennium Place during Icon Gone?, part of the Whistler Museum and Archives’ master plan open house on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m. The audience will determine the winner.

“Is Whistler’s greatest icon gone or here?” asks museum spokesperson Jehanne Burns. “History blurs the line between that. Nothing is gone if the museum is preserving it.”

The competition will open the community event, welcoming residents and visitors alike to hear some personal accounts about Whistler greats with plenty of controversy and surprises that could only come from insiders.

Competitors will pull no punches, dishing out all the dirt on the who’s who or what’s what in town. Will Myrtle Philip stand up against the Great Snow, Earth, Water Race?

“We want to stir people’s emotions,” Burns said. “Whistler has so many great icons and people are really passionate about those icons. People picking their own icon will really inspire everyone who lives here.”

She says it is important for Whistler’s icons to be examined, challenged and celebrated to better understand what is at the heart of Whistler.

“I think these icons are at the root of the community,” Burns said. “They answer why Whistler is the way it is and why it is so vibrant. There is really a culture of excellence here and I think it is because of the icons that Whistler is so great.”

Considered by some to be icons themselves, Whistlerites presenting their ideas at the open forum will include G.D. Maxwell, Michelle Bush, Stephen Vogler, Isobel McLaurin, Kirby Brown and Colin Pitt-Taylor.

Audiences will also have a chance to learn more about how the museum is preserving and celebrating Whistler’s stories after the debate.

The museum, which is currently housed in trailers behind the under-construction library, has been working for more than two years to find a new home and develop a master plan that will lead to a vibrant, sustainable institution that is relevant to residents and visitors. The plan incorporates input from focus groups, tour operators and museum professionals. The evening is an opportunity for people to learn more about the museum’s master plan and to provide feedback.

Admission into the Icon Gone? and the master plan open house is free.

For more information, visit www.whistlermuseum.org .

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