The indigenous people of Canada are referred to as “First Nations” and their history is celebrated at the 30,000-sf Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in the heart of Whistler. Designed like an aboriginal “longhouse,” the striking $32 million building is constructed with massive Douglas Fir beams and columns with wraparound glass walls framing the snow-capped mountains.
As is traditional across First Nations culture, the dramatic entrance aligns with the celestial points of the compass. We met here for the final night in town during the 2011 Trailblazers Conference, surrounded by rare artifacts and educational exhibits. Reception capacity is 500 pax.
In Vancouver, the undulating, wildly progressive VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre opened in January to worldwide architectural acclaim. The roof was inspired by the shape of native Canadian orchids, extending from rammed earth walls housing three meeting venues for 100/100/50 pax, reception style. The existing Mid-Century Modern Floral Hall Pavilion hosts 150/20.
The venue was built to actually exceed LEED Platinum certification, the highest standard in existence. The facility achieves both net-zero energy and carbon neutrality. Welcome to the future.