Squamish, British Columbia
|District of Squamish|
|— District Municipality —|
|Mount Garibaldi looming in the background|
|Region||Howe Sound/Sea to Sky Country|
|Regional District||Squamish-Lillooet Regional District|
|• Mayor||Rob Kirkham|
|• Governing body||Squamish Council|
|• MP||John Weston|
|• MLA||Joan McIntyre|
|• Total||104.88 km2 (40.49 sq mi)|
|Elevation||5 m (16 ft)|
|• Density||163.6/km2 (424/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Pacific Time Zone (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)|
|Postal code span||V0N, V8B|
|Website||District of Squamish|
Squamish (//; 2011 census population 17,158) is a community and a district municipality in the Canadian province of British Columbia, located at the north end of Howe Sound on the Sea to Sky Highway. The population of the Squamish census agglomeration – including Indian Reserves of the Squamish Nation not governed by the municipality – is 15,256.
The town of Squamish had its beginning during the construction of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway in the 1910s. It was the first southern terminus of that railway (now a part of CN). The town remains important in the operations of the line and also the port. Forestry has traditionally been the main industry in the area, and the town's largest employer was the Western Forest Products pulp mill. However, Western Pulp's Squamish Operation permanently ceased operation on January 26, 2006. Before the pulp mill, the town's largest employer had been International Forest Products (Interfor) with its sawmill and logging operation, but it closed a few years prior to the pulp mill's closing. In recent years, Squamish has become popular with Vancouver and Whistler residents' escaping the increased cost of living in those places, both less than one hour away by highway. Tourism is an increasingly important part of the town's economy, with an emphasis in outdoor recreation.
The Squamish people are an indigenous people whose homelands includes the present day area of Squamish, British Columbia. They have inhabited an area of southwestern British Columbia that includes North and West Vancouver, Howe Sound, Whistler, the areas surrounding the tributaries entering Howe Sound, Burrard Inlet, and English Bay. The word Squamish derives from the name of the people which in their language is Sḵwx̱wú7mesh. The people reside primarily on a number of Indian Reserves owned and managed by the Squamish Nation in the Squamish Valley area. A few places and names in the Squamish area derive from Squamish language words and names. Ch’iyáḵmesh is the name of an old village that was located on the Cheakamus River. St’á7mes is a community located near the south entrance to the town of Squamish, which lies below the Stawamus Chief, which gets its name from that village. Mámx̱wem is where the Mamquam River name comes from as well.
The Skxwxu7mesh territory comprises 6,732 km2. Though within municipal boundaries, residents of these Indian Reserves are not governed by the municipality but are members of the Squamish Nation. It also includes villages in North Vancouver and a number of other reserves at Gibsons and elsewhere in the general region.
The name Keh Kait was the traditional name for the site of downtown Squamish.
Squamish is known as the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada. Attractions include the Stawamus Chief, a huge cliff-faced granite massif favoured by rock climbers. As well as over 300 climbing routes on the Chief proper, a majority of which require traditional climbing protection, there are steep hiking trails around the back to access the three peaks that make up the massif, all giving great views of Howe Sound and the surrounding Coast Mountains. In all, between Shannon Falls, Murrin Park, The Malamute, and the Little Smoke Bluffs, there are well over 1200 rock-climbing routes in the Squamish area (and another 300 or so climbs north of Squamish on the road to Whistler). In recent years, Squamish has also become a major destination for bouldering, with over 2500 problems described in the local guidebook.
Another activity for which Squamish is well known is mountain biking, with over 600 trails suitable to all riders that can ride ultra-steep trails with huge gaps and steep rock surrounding the town. One of the more famous events supported by the Mountain Biking Community is the Test of Metal, a 67-kilometre, cross-country, mountain-bike race held annually in late June. Limited to 800 riders, the 2007 race sold out in under an hour.
Kiteboarding and windsurfing are popular water sports in Squamish during the summer. Predictable wind on warm sunny days makes the Squamish Spit the top kiteboarding location in western Canada.
Squamish's extensive quality trail system is a key feature of an annual 50-mile ultra trail run, the Arc'teryx Squamish 50. Solo runners and relay teams run on many of the same trails as the Test of Metal, and pass through Alice Lake Provincial Park and Quest University. "The Double" is an award offered annually to the participant with the fastest combined time for both the qTest of Metal and Arc'teryx Squamish 50.
Other tourist attractions in Squamish include Shannon Falls waterfall; river-rafting on the Elaho and Squamish rivers; wind surfing and kite surfing at the mouth of the Squamish River; snowmobiling on nearby Brohm Ridge; and bald eagle viewing in the community of Brackendale, which has one of North America's largest populations of bald eagles. Squamish is also a popular destination among Greater Vancouver hikers, mountaineers and backcountry skiers, who visit the large provincial parks in the surrounding Coast Mountains.
The current mayor of Squamish is Rob Kirkham, who won the 2011 election. Previous mayors include Greg Gardner (2008-2011); Ian Sutherland (2002–2008); Corinne Lonsdale (1993–2002); Egon Tobus (1990–93); Phil Turner (1983–90); William Elliott (1980–83); Izzy Boscariol (1977–80); and Pat Brennan (1964–77). Current council members include Doug Race, Rob Kirkham, Corinne Lonsdale, Bryan Raiser, Paul Lalli and Patricia Heintzman. The municipality is also part of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.
On the provincial level, Squamish is in the West Vancouver-Sea to Sky electoral district. The MLA is Jordan Study (BC Liberal). He was elected in the 2013 provincial election after his predecessor, Joan McIntyre, also of the British Columbia Liberal Party, retired from politics. Jordan Sturdy was the sitting mayor of the town of Pemberton at the time of his election to the British Columbia Legislature.
Federally, Squamish is a part of the West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country electoral district. It is represented by John Weston (Conservative Party of Canada), who took office after Canada's 2008 federal election. John Weston can be reached on Twitter @JohnWestonMP.
Squamish has six public elementary schools: Brackendale, Garibaldi Highlands, Mamquam, Squamish Elementary, Stawamus Elementary and Valleycliffe Elementary. There are two secondary schools – Howe Sound Secondary School and Don Ross Secondary School – as well as the board office for School District 48 Howe Sound. Squamish Montessori Elementary School  is a Ministry of Education Independent school and Waldorf school.
Capilano University offers post-secondary education through its Squamish campus, including diploma programs and university transfer courses. Quest University (located in the Garibaldi Highlands neighbourhood) opened in September 2007. It is Canada's first private, non-profit, secular university.
Social and cultural
The Squamish Public Library is located in the downtown area on Second Avenue. The library houses a collection of books, DVDs, cds, and magazines. It also has an Art for Loan collection and an online historical archive of various photographs, newspapers, and other items.
Squamish was also the primary filming location of ABC's romantic comedy-drama television series Men In Trees and was featured prominently in a Season 4 episode of the American television series Supernatural titled "Wishful Thinking". It is also currently the filming location for Global TV's drama/action series The Guard.
Squamish (Garibaldi Highlands) was also the filming location for the 1993 movie Free Willy scene where Jason James Richter bikes down the hill to the bay (Howe Sound). It is also featured in the 2008 movie `Chaos Theory` among others.
In 1998, Squamish was briefly the home of the world's first unionized McDonald's franchise, although the union was decertified by the summer of 1999.
Squamish received an influx of visitors during the 2010 Olympics, as it was a convenient place to stay seeing as it is equidistant from Vancouver and Whistler Ski Resort, where most events were held. In addition, the Transportation Team base for 4 transit companies contracted to operate services for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics was located on Queens Way from December 2009 until April 12, 2010.
|Canada 2006 Census||Population||% of Total Population|
|Visible minority group
|Other visible minority||0||0%|
|Mixed visible minority||25||0.2%|
|Total visible minority population||2,345||15.8%|
|Total Aboriginal population||550||3.7%|
Squamish is one of the wettest inhabited locations in Canada, with nearly 2,400 millimetres (94 in) of rainfall per year, often falling in long stretches through the winter. Snow is not typical in winter, but can fall in heavy amounts with 50 centimetres (20 in) accumulations not uncommon, although it often melts quickly.
|Climate data for Squamish, British Columbia|
|Record high °C (°F)||11
|Average high °C (°F)||2.9
|Average low °C (°F)||−2.5
|Record low °C (°F)||−20.5
|Precipitation mm (inches)||337.4
|Snowfall cm (inches)||71.7
|Source: Environment Canada|
Public transportation is provided by the Squamish Transit System; this service is free over the summer to students at school age (elementary and secondary). There is also bus service to Whistler provided by the Whistler and Valley Express.
Notable Squamish residents
- Sarah Burke, a freestyle skier, born in Ontario, resided in Squamish.
- Mike Carney, now a realtor, is a former ski racer who had been a member of the Canadian Olympic downhill ski team;
- Daniel Cudmore – actor;
- Joe Eppele – CFL: Drafted by Toronto Argonauts in 2010 as an offensive linesman;
- Hilary Lindh – US Olympic silver medalist at the 1992 Albertville Winter Games;
- Maëlle Ricker – Canadian Olympic gold medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games in the Snowboard Cross;
- Mike Sweeney, who grew up in Squamish, competed in the 1984 Olympics with Team Canada in the sport of soccer;
- Statistics Canada. Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, census metropolitan areas, census agglomerations and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2006 and 2001 censuses – 100% data Retrieved on: July 30, 2007.
- Western Forest Products Western Forest Products Announces Q1 2006 Results/Strategic Acquisitions Closed. Press Release, May 12, 2006. retrieved on: July 30, 2007.
- "Squamish (district municipality)". BC Geographical Names. http://apps.gov.bc.ca/pub/bcgnws/names/38680.html.
- Squamish Bouldering, 2nd Edition, Quickdraw Publications, 2010, ISBN 978-0-9732593-7-7.
- Cedar Valley Waldorf School
- Millar, Erin (22 October 2012). "The great experiment: Quest University’s radical step in higher education". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- Population 1981/1986
- "Community Profiles from the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Subdivision". 2.statcan.gc.ca. 2010-12-06. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
- "Aboriginal Peoples - Data table". 2.statcan.ca. 2010-10-06. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
- Environment Canada. Canadian Climate Normals 1971–2000. Squamish Upper. Retrieved on: September 7, 2008.
Media related to Squamish at Wikimedia Commons
- District of Squamish
- Squamish Public Library
- Squamish Chamber of Commerce
- The Official Site of Tourism Squamish
- Business Development and Investment in Squamish
- School District No. 48 Howe Sound
- The Squamish Chief – Squamish's Newspaper
- Climbing in Squamish
- The Squamish Access Society – protecting public access to Squamish climbing areas
- Quest University Canada
- Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival – Squamish's Largest Community Festival
- - Squamish Windsports Society
||Squamish River||Whistler||Garibaldi Provincial Park|
|Tantalus Range||Garibaldi Ranges|
|Howe Sound||Lions Bay||North Shore Mountains|