I had the privilege of attending the Canada Post launch of the Sarah Burke stamp this week. Sarah was an extraordinary person and a great ambassador for Canada, her sport, and Squamish. She was a pioneer in women’s freestyle skiing and one of the world’s top freeskiers, winning four gold medals in the X Games. She lobbied successfully for the inclusion of freesking in the Olympics and as a result, we will be able to watch the ski halfpipe make its debut in Sochi.
Friday marks the opening ceremonies for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. Go Canada Go! As Squamish is the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada, we are very proud of all our local athletes in a wide variety of sports. There are several heading to Sochi! Roz Groenewoud (ski halfpipe); Keltie Hansen (ski halfpipe); Rob Fagan (snowboard cross); Mike Riddle (ski halfpipe); and of course our 2010 gold medallist Maëlle Ricker. These amazing athletes are part of our community, either as students attending Quest University or who have in the recent past or presently call Squamish home. We wish you all the best in Sochi!
Thinking of the Olympics takes me back to the 2010 Games. In the lead-up to those Games, Squamish was fighting hard for recognition and to be included in the Vancouver/Whistler Games. In the end we played a very small part; however, I believe Squamish has a lasting legacy that will continue to have huge impacts on our growth and prosperity: the upgrade of Highway 99.
It was not long ago that I would have to tell people that Squamish was halfway between Whistler and Vancouver. Things have changed so dramatically since the last Olympics that we no longer stand in the shadow of any community. Now, when I tell people that I am from Squamish, not only do they know where it is, their response is “lucky you.” We have outdoor recreational opportunities and events that are world class. The Squamish Valley Music Festival has grown to be second to none. Our Railway Heritage Park just hosted the Rick Mercer Report, and the Sea to Sky Gondola will open this spring.
Although so far confidential, I am literally being barraged with serious enquiries from international industrial investors identifying Squamish as not only the best place, but the only place on the West Coast where logistics work for them. These are all incredible developments, and yet the one greatest attribute of Squamish remains the people who live here — our volunteer spirit and passion for ensuring Squamish remains a great place to live. Go Squamish Go!