Even after putting the finishing touches on their guidebook, 111 Places in Vancouver That You Must Not Miss, authors David Doroghy and Graeme Menzies knew their job wasn’t quite done yet.
“We didn’t say this to the publishers at the time, but we kind of felt like the Vancouver book was incomplete without the Whistler one. We had that in the back of our mind the whole time,” says Menzies. “There’s an interesting relationship between those two places.”
Billed as the ultimate insider’s guide to the resort, 111 Places in Whistler That You Must Not Miss was released in September and closes the loop on a journey that began for Menzies and Doraghy more than a decade ago at the 2010 Winter Olympics. The self-described “old guys that love writing” met while working for VANOC during the Games in the same cramped office in Function Junction, and Donaghy, a second homeowner here, and Menzies, a frequent visitor, began gathering stories from the Games that would eventually serve them well years later.
“Our publishers in Germany even said, ‘Hey, go easy on the Olympic stuff, you guys.’ There are 10 or 12 [entries on the Olympics] and we love talking about that,” says Doroghy.
But of course there is so much more to Whistler than just its landmark Games, and the guidebook does well to scratch beneath the surface of what the community is all about (and by extension, Pemberton, Squamish and the Sea to Sky Highway, which are also featured in the book).
One of hundreds of titles from Emons Publishing’s 111 Places series, the Whistler edition is the smallest community every featured, and represents, at least to the authors’ knowledge, the only tourism guidebook dedicated to the resort.
“We think it’s the only guidebook totally about Whistler. It’s not a hiking book, it’s not a ski book, it is a guidebook. The fact that Whistler is such a popular destination and nobody has done a guidebook dedicated just to Whistler kind of surprised us,” Doroghy explains.
With the series frequently covering major metropolises and tourism destinations like London, Rome and Barcelona, Menzies had his doubts about whether they would even have enough material to list 111 must-see places.
‘My first thought was, ‘Dave, it can’t be done.’ But Dave didn’t agree, and he persisted on that,” Menzies recalls. “It really was a harder assignment, but it made us work harder at it. I really feel great about the places we found. It’s a greater sense of accomplishment, I think.”
Therein lies the appeal of the book: while listing obvious tourism hotspots like the Peak 2 Peak, the Valley Trail, and Train Wreck, it also includes a mix of quirkier entries, like one on the sculpture of local legend Seppo Makinen at Lost Lake or the section about “the Rembrandt of Snow” James Niehues, whose colourful ski maps dot the resort, and favourite local businesses and haunts—sometimes literally: Chapter 41 details the purportedly haunted building where Creekbread and the Whistler Creek Lodge now sit.
“We wanted it to not be a quick, flashy tourist guide. We wanted it to be authentic and that forced me to meet with people and to do things I enjoy, like sit around and talk about Whistler,” says Doroghy.
The authors will be in attendance at Fresh St. Market from 1 to 5 p.m. on Nov. 27 for a book signing.
“We wanted it to have some meaning, but unless you’ve been there 10 or 20 years, it’s hard to reflect what the community is,” Doroghy says of the book. “We did our best and I guess we’ll find out at our book signing.”
111 Places in Whistler That You Must Not Miss is available at Armchair Books and online at 111places.com/111-places-in-whistler.