Province/Territory: British Columbia

Gain insight to the thriving Salish Culture with a First Nations guide

  • 02 separate nations
  • 01 shared territory
  • 25,000 year-old language

Step inside this ultra-modern building to discover an ancient people thriving in today's world. Hear the spiritual sounds of Salish singing, see the intricately carved wooden wings of a great Thunderbird spread wide on a traditional totem pole, feel welcomed by First Nations ambassadors eager to share their stories with you.
Take a fascinating tour with a Squamish or Lil'wat guide, hear tales from their life and discover how the Cultural Centre is at the heart of spreading traditional songs, language, crafts and ways of life to new generations. Learn how the Squamish and Lil'wat share Salish territory together, discover the secrets of the cedar tree, the significance of the mountains, sea and rivers, share ancient knowledge and weave your own bracelet from bark. Leave with the sound of traditional drumming beating in your heart.

Why you should visit

• Feel your heart beat in time to the drum as you're welcomed in traditional song by people from the Squamish and Lil'wat Nations.
• Look around in wonder at the bold art and beautiful cultural artifacts. Hear the melodic rhythm of Salish singing. Know you'll leave understanding more about these ancient people.
• Hear stories which have been passed down through generations, like the tale of how thunder and lightning were made by a majestic bird and a killer whale.
• Listen to your guide and discover the importance of the cedar tree and the significance of the mountains, sea and rivers to the Salish people.
• Gather round a hand-carved journey canoe and marvel at the craftsmanship. Discover how hot rocks and steam were used to strengthen these magnificent boats.
• Cosy into a traditional Squamish longhouse and create a cedar bark bracelet. Inspired, take home a piece of authentically-crafted BC aboriginal culture from the gallery and gift shop.
• Dive into delicious First Nations-inspired cuisine at the Thunderbird Cafe. Savour a bowl of Squamish salmon chowder or a heaped plate of Lil' wat venison chili.

Weather

• Expect below-freezing temperatures with snowfall in winter (December to March), mild to cool temperatures in spring (March to June).  Enjoy warm weather and long days during July and August.
• Discover local weather information.  Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.

Visitor information

• Hours and admission .  Tickets for all tours must be purchased from operator.
• The Cultural Centre is fully wheelchair accessible.
• Each admission includes a traditional welcome song, an educational guided tour by a Lil' wat or Squamish Ambassador, a short film which offers a brief history of the two tribes and a fun craft activity.
• ATM on site.
• Gift shop and cafe on site.

When to go

• Ambassador-led tours operate hourly, on the hour.
• Throughout summer (May to September) join in the traditional BBQ each Tuesday evening.
• Closed on Monday during winter (October through April).
• Check blog for monthly workshop updates.

Need to know

• Children are welcome and encouraged to explore the hands-on exhibits.
• Exhibit information available in 10 different languages. Audio tour and ambassador tour available in English.
• Full disabled access.
• Ambassador-led tours start at the top of each hour and take around an hour. Plan to spend at least another hour exploring the exhibits of the Cultural Centre.

Getting Here

• Taxis are available to-and-from the area.
• Free Whistler transit drops off at the Cultural Centre.
• On-site parking for cars and RVs.
• Whistler is a two-hour drive north from Vancouver on the stunning sea-to-sky highway.
• Whistler can be easily accessed via shuttle bus year-round, with direct shuttles from the Vancouver International Airport (YVR)[].