LETTER: Squamish: then and now

 

Growing up in Squamish, we all thought we lived in the most boring town on Earth. OK, maybe not the most boring town on Earth, but there were definitely the typical teenage complaints of living in a small town with “nothing to do.”
Really, there were only fleeting moments of this when we found ourselves gathered, yet again, in our parents’ basement or huddled around a table at Tim Hortons. What did we expect, really — clubs for underage people? (Yes, the movie theatre should come back, but that’s another letter.)

The rest of the time was spent laughing, cheering, and crying at hockey rinks, soccer fields, and baseball diamonds. Crashing on bikes, leaping across dance stages, or acting in the school play. Watching the waves roll in at what was then Nexen Beach or the spawning salmon flop around in the river. Clinking underage beers before a fire on some hilltop.
Pretty typical small town stuff.

If you were into it, you might have spent your weekends shredding pow on Whistler, scaling rocks at the Smoke Bluffs, or pedaling your heart out in world-famous bike races. We didn’t all do that stuff, but we knew that playground was there — the thing that put Squamish on the map.

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We saw the long-time Squamish crowd, the climbers that swarmed the town in the summer, and the hordes of tourists beelining it for Whistler. We had parts we loved about the town, and parts we hated. Some of us knew we wanted to get out and others weren’t sure — you’ve heard this story before.

Flash forward a few years. Some have left and never looked back. But some have left and returned. Others simply stayed around. Either way, we see the town in a new light. Whether it’s us that changed, the town itself, or a combination of the two (the most likely case), Squamish is different. Yet all the same.


The Yuppies have emerged. Blink your eyes, and there’s a hot new restaurant in town. And, yes, prices have gone up.

More people have decided they want the mountain life that meets the sea. Dripping temperate rainforest and sheer rock bluffs everywhere you look. Small town charm with the convenience of the city just a stone’s throw away.
Depending on who you ask, the newly increased business is either a blessing or a curse. Still, Squamish maintains that same energy that makes the town addicting to so many, new or old.

I definitely don’t see Squamish as a boring small town anymore. In fact, in many ways, it’s kind of the perfect town (if there were such a thing), as many others have found. Nowadays, I see it as ironic that I was born in such a “perfect” place because I want to experience living elsewhere, but it’s just so hard to beat.


So if you’re lucky enough to just be jumping on the Sea to Sky bandwagon, welcome. Get comfortable. Because chances are you’ll be sticking around Good Ol’ Squam.

Natalie Gates
Squamish

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