Inside a Whistler Squat

By Sarah Drewery, Whistler Museum.

Whistler has always had a grand tradition of squatting. In the 1970s squatting was particularly prevalent, driven largely by the fact that there was very little in the way of accommodation in the valley. There were so few buildings that many aspiring ski bums were forced to occupy abandoned trapper’s cabins or simply build their own housing in the forest. Andy Munster cleverly located his hand-built squat, “Munsterville”, next to the village dump. That way it was simple for him to acquire building materials that others had discarded.

Free love and building materials: Andy Munster’s squat, Munsterville, 1978, before it was destroyed.

In the late ’70s when the resort began to be more established there was a clampdown on squatting and many of the old buildings were burnt as practice for the fire department. However, squatting did not disappear for good, although its days as a widespread phenomena are over. This footage from 1990 is evidence that squatting was alive and well in Whistler in the nineties, as, we are sure, it still is today…

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