The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is a First Nations’ gallery and museum showcasing West Coast Indigenous art, culture and historical artifacts in Whistler.
CULTURAL CENTRE CLOSES BUT THEN REOPENS
Due to the coronavirus, the SLCC suspended operations for a number of weeks. Fortunately, the attraction is open again as of June 26th.
As of early August, the venue’s hours of operation have been from 10 am until 5 pm on Thursdays and Sundays, and from 10 am until 9 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. When open in the evening, the museum is open until 9 o’clock and the Café is open until 8 o’clock (with a dinner menu offering both dine-in and take-out options).
Regular indoor guided tours aren’t happening, at least not initially, although there are still complimentary guided walks outdoors through the forest at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm each day. Also, Ambassadors are stationed indoors throughout the venue working on crafts and answering guests’ questions.
As of July 23rd, face masks are required for all staff and visitors.
For more information about the venue’s status see the SLCC Website.
To see more attractions that are temporarily closed click Vancouver COVID-19 Closures.
First Nations Cultural Centre
The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre has a First Nations longhouse, theatre, museum and art gallery, as well as a traditional istken building that visitors can go inside. Expect to spend about an hour or so at the Centre.
Located in an impressive modern building at 4584 Blackcomb Way in Whistler’s Upper Village, the centre is a cooperative project by both the local Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations.
Hours and Admission
In normal years when there isn’t a pandemic, the Centre is usually open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in the slow season, and daily from 9:30 am until 5:00 pm in the summer. Sometimes it is open in the evenings too.
As of the last time we checked, adult admission is about $20. Seniors (ages 65+) cost $17, students (ages 13 to 18) are $7, and children (ages 6 to 12) are $5. Annual passes cost between $20 and $38 depending on your age.
Family passes are also available at about $45 for the day or $75 for the year.
In the summer most years, from May until September, the Centre hosts a First Nations BBQ on Tuesday and Sunday evenings. The cost in the past has been about $65 per adult and $25 for children ages 6 to 12. The dinner includes things like fresh baked bannock, West Coast salmon, buffalo smokies and other tasty menu items. It’s good food and a cultural experience!
Cultural Centre Video
Below is a video of the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre to give you an idea of what to expect. As you’ll see there is a variety of both contemporary and ancient Indigenous art as well as artifacts and cultural information. The Centre is a beautiful modern building with lots of light and windows. Not seen in the video are the outdoor exhibits which are equally as interesting.
There are usually free guided tours indoors at the Centre which are highly recommended. In the summer of 2020 an interpreter is available for tours of the outside areas only, not indoors, because of concerns about COVID-19.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you get the most out of your visit to the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre.
TIP #1: Definitely join one of the guided tours if you can. The interpretive tour with a First Nation staff person adds considerably to the experience.
TIP #2: Sometimes the longhouse or other areas are not available for viewing due to private functions. Ask in advance if you don’t want to miss anything. The last time we visited, a movie company had rented the outdoor space for a Christmas-themed movie shoot (which explained why there are no outdoor scenes in the above video and why we saw snow and Santa Claus walking around in the middle of July).
TIP #3: Be sure to watch the film in the theatre. It’s well-done and very interesting.
TIP #4: The Centre is wheelchair-accessible.
TIP #5: Written information about the exhibits is available in a number of different languages at the front desk. Languages covered include Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish.
Check out the official Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre website for more information about the facility.
For other places to learn about Indigenous culture, click Lower Mainland First Nations.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Lower Mainland History and Culture
- Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art
- Stanley Park’s Totem Poles
- UBC Museum of Anthropology
- Lower Mainland Powwows
- Vancouver’s Top 100 Places
- Lower Mainland Ski Hills