Squamish is a community and a district municipality in the Canadian province of British Columbia, located at the north end of Howe Sound on the Sea to Sky Highway. The population of the Squamish census agglomeration – including Indian Reserves of the Squamish Nation not governed by the municipality – is 15,256.
The town of Squamish had its beginning during the construction of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway in the 1910s. It was the first southern terminus of that railway (now a part of CN). The town remains important in the operations of the line and also the port. Forestry has traditionally been the main industry in the area, and the town’s largest employer was the Western Forest Products pulp mill. However, Western Pulp, Squamish Operation permanently ceased operation on January 26, 2006. Before the pulp mill, the town’s largest employer had been International Forest Products (Interfor) with their sawmill and logging operation, but it closed a few years prior to the pulp mill. In recent years, Squamish has also become popular with Vancouver and Whistler residents’ escaping the increased cost of living in those places, both less than one hour away by highway. Tourism is an increasingly important part of the town’s economy.
Tourist attractions include the Stawamus Chief, a huge cliff-faced granite massif favoured by rock climbers. As well as over 300 climbing routes on the Chief proper, a majority of which require traditional climbing protection, there are steep hiking trails around the back to access the three peaks that make up the massif, all giving great views of Howe Sound and the surrounding Coast Mountains. In all, between Shannon Falls,Murrin Park, The Malamute, and the Little Smoke Bluffs, there are well over 1200 rock-climbing routes in the Squamish area (and another 300 or so climbs north of Squamish on the road to Whistler). In recent years, Squamish has also become a major destination for bouldering, with over 2500 problems described in the local guidebook.
Another activity for which Squamish is well known is mountain biking, with over 600 trails suitable to all abilities surrounding the town. One of the more famous events supported by the Mountain Biking Community is the Test of Metal, a 67-kilometre, cross-country, mountain-bike race held annually in late June. Limited to 800 riders, the 2007 race sold out in under an hour.
Other tourist attractions in Squamish include Shannon Falls waterfall; river-rafting on the Elaho and Squamish rivers; wind surfing and kite surfing at the mouth of the Squamish River; snowmobiling on nearby Brohm Ridge; and bald eagle viewing in the community of Brackendale, which has one of North America’s largest populations of bald eagles. Squamish is also a popular destination among Greater Vancouver hikers,mountaineers and backcountry skiers, who visit the large provincial parks in the surrounding Coast Mountains.
Find out more information at squamish.ca, and contact your REALTOR at Coldwell Banker Vantage Realty for more tips and advice on Squamish and other communities in BC.