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Whistler, British Columbia

August 25, 2017

I took a bus from Victoria to Whistler. It was a lovely full-day adventure. Loyalist graduate David Pape had raved about how beautiful the ferry ride is to Horseshoe Bay. “Stay out on the deck for as long as you can,” he said. “Even when everyone has returned to their cars, don’t move. Enjoy the view.”

And I did.

Those extra minutes on the deck, body pressed against the ferry’s hull, feeling the sting from the wind on my face was worth every second. A few others knew it too as we stood nearly shoulder-to-shoulder absorbing breathtaking views in various shades of blue. Only when the ferry docked did we scurry to the exit.

When you visit some place new, what sticks out for you? Is it the architecture, the landscape, or the bad drivers?

In St. John’s, it was the kindness of strangers, the sing-songy gulls swirling in large flocks above the harbour, the fresh air and the language. In Whistler, it was the rubbing of snow pants and the clatter of ski boots. Having never been to a ski village before, this struck me as odd. Beyond that, it was the carless paths weaving through the Village, the shops ribboning the base of the hotels and Australian Starbucks baristas.

In Whistler, I met up with Loyalist Culinary grad Jordan Hickey, the Chef de Partie at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and Jordan from Georgia Street Media (a Vancouver-based production company). Experiencing the back end of the Fairmont was amazing. The kitchen was huge and there were so many chefs buzzing about, prepping food. Every exchange Jordan had with his co-workers ended with a laugh. You could tell they fully embodied teamwork.

After filming in the kitchen, Jordan asked if we’d like to see the rooftop garden. It was a resounding yes! That’s when we spotted the shot—the mountains and the Fairmont in the foreground. It was the kind of perspective I hoped to get, but was unsure how to capture given my lack of familiarity with the location.

The night before the shoot I had scouted the Village for locations. That’s when I discovered this beautiful wooden bridge that crosses Fitzsimmons Creek. As someone who loves bridges, I was moved by the way light filters through the space, the detail of the wood and its design. I knew we had to take a moment and film Jordan in this space.

Not too far from the bridge is this gorgeous bronze sculpture titled ‘Jeri.’ It was created by artist James Stewart who has worked on The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter and District 9. Of course, I didn’t know this when I stumbled upon the piece and spent a lovely chunk of time sitting between Jeri’s arms, listening to the creek.

On James Stewart’s website, I discovered a statement that really resonates with me: “When we relate to someone from another culture, it is an expression of our collective humanity. That vulnerability, that connection, is the art. We have just made the world a smaller place.” So, true!

After the shoot on the bridge, we were bound for the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, a tri-cable lift with a reputation for being an engineering marvel. Its claim to fame is that it is “the longest unsupported lift span in the world.”

As this was my first gondola ride, I really have nothing from which to compare it to. I have to admit; I was terrified at first. Fear was followed by amazement and it transcended into unspeakable awe. It was a beautiful ride.

From up top, it was easy to see why Jordan loves Whistler. He gets to ski to work, take in amazing views, explore his culinary talents in a remarkable kitchen and meet people from all around the world.