Dining in Whistler, Pioneer Style

By Nicole Wilson, Whistler Museum.

In the early days of Whistler, fine dining was hard to come by. Pioneers made do with what they had – with interesting results. All photos courtesy the Whistler Museum archives.

 

John Millar outside his stopping house, 1911. Before the railway came to the valley, John Millar owned a stopping house along the Pemberton Trail. He is remembered as an excellent cook, despite being known to serve up a dish of muskrat stew or haunch of bear to weary travellers.
John Millar, 1911. Before the railway came to the valley, John Millar owned this stopping house along the Pemberton Trail. He is remembered as an excellent cook, despite being known to serve up a dish of muskrat stew or haunch of bear to weary travellers. Photo courtesy Whistler Museum.
Alta Lake Hotel, c.1920s. Alta Lake was a premium fishing destination after the railway opened in 1914. The lakes were teeming with rainbow trout – a fisherman’s dream. Photo courtesy Whistler Museum.
Alta Lake Hotel, c.1920s. Alta Lake was a premium fishing destination after the railway opened in 1914. The lakes were teeming with rainbow trout – a fisherman’s dream. Photo courtesy Whistler Museum.
The inside of the tea-leaf reading room, c. 1930s. Harrop’s tea room was a floating cottage on Alta Lake in the 1920s. Mrs Harrop told fortunes by reading tealeaves. It was a popular tourist attraction from the neighbouring lodges. Photo courtesy Whistler Museum.
The inside of the tea-leaf reading room, c. 1930s. Harrop’s tea room was a floating cottage on Alta Lake in the 1920s. Mrs. Harrop told fortunes by reading tea leaves. It was a popular tourist attraction from the neighbouring lodges. Photo courtesy Whistler Museum.
Most of the food was brought up from Vancouver on the PGE railway. It was common for people to give the train drivers money to buy liquor on their way north to Pemberton. On the way back the drivers would slow down and throw the liquor to people waiting on the platform.
Most of the food was brought up from Vancouver on the PGE railway. It was common for people to give the train drivers money to buy liquor on their way north to Pemberton. On the way back the drivers would slow down and throw the liquor to people waiting on the platform. Photo courtesy Whistler Museum.
Haying at Tapley’s, 1920s. There was one farm in Whistler called “Tapley’s Farm”. There is still a pub and a residential area called “Tapley’s” today.
Haying at Tapley’s, 1920s. There was one farm in Whistler called “Tapley’s Farm”. There is still a pub and a residential area called “Tapley’s” today. Photo courtesy Whistler Museum.
Trapper Bill Bailiff was a good cook, and he would turn his hand to anything. One time when he was trapping he caught some Steller’s jays. He cleaned them all, made a pie and invited the neighbours round – everyone got a little jay each. Photo courtesy Whistler Museum.
Trapper Bill Bailiff was a good cook, and he would turn his hand to anything. One time when he was trapping he caught some Steller’s jays. He cleaned them all, made a pie and invited the neighbours round – everyone got a little jay each. Photo courtesy Whistler Museum.

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