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Whistler’s Stone-Cold History

By JASON TWETEN

"Ilanaaq" keeps watch over the valley. (Photo: Randy Lincks/Tourism BC)

“Ilanaaq” keeps watch over the valley. (Photo: Randy Lincks/Tourism BC)

Look towards Whistler’s peak on a clear day, and you’ll see this iconic stone structure watching over the valley. Inukshuk cairns play an extremely important role in the survival of Inuit travellers. For thousands of years, Inuit people have set up varieties of these stone formations to use as navigation points or as landmarks for good hunting and fishing sites. “Ilanaaq” (pictured) was built as an emblem of friendship and welcome at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Though this monument is commonly referred to as an Inukshuk, the more specific term for this style—which resembles the human figure—is Inunnguaq. Since 2010, four more of these waypoints have been built around Whistler mountain, and each one provides a free Wi-Fi signal.

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