Are you planning a move to British Columbia but looking for a quieter location away from the big cities? If so, you may be interested in living in Whistler, BC, just one of the many attractive small towns in BC.
Whistler is home to Whistler Blackcomb, a world-class ski resort and one of the largest in North America. The town is also a centre for other outdoor activities, such as hiking and biking in the summer.
The hub of the town is a pedestrianized alpine-style village which sits at the base of the mountain. Whistler is a spectacular location, but this comes at a price, with high real estate costs.
We will give you all the key information about living in Whistler, BC, and an unbiased view of the pros and cons of living in this town.
Living In Whistler, BC – The Facts
Here are some key facts about this stunning mountain town for anyone interested in living in Whistler, BC.
Where Is Whistler, BC?
Whistler lies at the southern end of BC’s coastal mountain range. It is surrounded by glacial mountains and forests and lies at the foot of Blackcomb Mountain and Whistler Mountain. These two mountains together form one of the best ski resorts in the world.
Whistler is easily accessible from Vancouver. The town lies directly north of the provincial capital. It takes around 1 hour 45 minutes to drive from Whistler to downtown Vancouver and a further 30 minutes to reach Vancouver International Airport.
The town’s proximity to the Vancouver metropolitan area makes it a popular destination for Vancoverites looking for a weekend away or even a day of skiing.
What Is The Population Of Whistler in 2023?
The population of Whistler in 2023 is around 14,000, based on the latest government of BC estimates released at the start of the year.
The town has seen steady growth in recent years. The latest federal census data (released in 2022) showed a population of 13,982, representing a growth in the population of Whistler of 19.0% between 2016 and 2021.
The average age of the population is 37.9, which is 4 years below the national average of 41.9. This reflects the popularity of the town with younger people seeking an active outdoor lifestyle.
The population of Whistler is predominantly white and English speaking. According to the latest census data, visible minorities account for around 13% of the population.
The largest minority groups living in Whistler are Filipino, Japanese and Chinese, and these groups account for around 65% of the visible minority population.
What Is The Weather In Whistler, BC, Like?
Most of Canada experiences cold, harsh winters with pleasant, moderately hot summers. However, BC’s coastal location and mountain ranges mean its climate isn’t typical of Canada.
You will find significant variations in the climate even within the province. Overall the BC weather is milder and wetter than the rest of Canada. The south coast has the mildest winters in Canada and warm, pleasant summers, while the southern interior has very short winters with long, dry, hot summers.
Whistler’s proximity to the coast means that its climate is milder than you might expect of a mountain town. The average January low is minus 5 Degrees C, while the average July high is 24 Degrees C. The average annual precipitation is around 1684 mm, with about 419 mm of this falling as snow.
What Is The Cost of Living In Whistler Like?
Most immigrants find the cost of living high in Canada, and BC is one of the more expensive provinces. House prices in BC are around 50% higher than Canadian averages.
Rural areas are cheaper but still subject to higher provincial taxes. Sales tax is 12% on most goods (5% GST plus 7% PST) compared to 5% in provinces such as Alberta, and the top income tax rate is relatively high.
Whistler is an expensive place to live compared to most of Canada. Real estate here is amongst the most expensive in the country, with the average home costing around $1.2 million.
This is partly due to the town’s popularity as a holiday resort but also due to second homeowners, mainly from the Vancouver area.
What Is The Whistler BC Economy Based On?
Tourism is at the heart of Whistler’s economy, and a large proportion of the population work within the hospitality industry. The town is a popular resort year-round, with visitors enjoying skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and numerous other sports there in the winter.
In the summer, the mountains attract hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners, while golfing and fishing are popular in the valley.
There are a large number of seasonal workers living in Whistler, BC, who work on the ski mountains and in restaurants and hotels. The population figure given above only includes the town’s permanent population.
Is Whistler BC A Safe Place To Live?
Canada is one of the safest countries in the world to live in. Crime rates are low, and the country always features near the top of the annual Global Peace Index rankings.
Canada, Quebec, Ontario and the Maritime provinces have the lowest crime rates, while the highest in the territories. BC crime rates are above average for Canada.
Whistler is a very safe place to live. Crime rates over the past few years are typical of those in Canada and slightly lower than provincial averages.
Are You Planning A Move To Canada?
Are you wondering whether to make the move and have endless questions?
We have the answers to these and many more questions.
What Are The Schools In Whistler, BC, Like?
Canada has a strong and publicly-funded education system, which consistently ranks as one of the best in the world. Education is administered at a provincial level, and BC has a reputation for excellent education within Canada.
Whistler has two public elementary schools and one public secondary school
Whistler Secondary School participates in the “Sea to Sky” International Education Program, which attracts students from around the world. Also, dual-track French Immersion programs are available at Spring Creek Community School and at Whistler Secondary School.
What Is The Healthcare In Whistler, BC Like?
Canada has an excellent publicly-funded healthcare system which covers “medically necessary” care. Generally, hospital and doctor visits are covered, while other types of care, such as dental, optical and prescriptions, are funded for certain groups of people.
In Canada, healthcare is administered at a provincial level, so anyone living in Whistler, BC, would be covered through BC Healthcare.
You should be aware that there is currently a shortage of family doctors in much of Canada, and it can be difficult to find clinics taking on new patients. This is especially true of the smaller towns and cities.
The nearest hospital is around a 50-minute drive away in Squamish, and this facility has a wide range of inpatient and outpatient facilities and 24/7 emergency care.
Pros And Cons Of Living In Whistler BC
The pros and cons of living in Whistler, BC, will vary from person to person, but whatever you are looking for, these are key factors for you to consider.
Pros Of Living In Whistler BC
- Spectacular location
- World-class ski resort
- Year-round outdoor activities
- French Immersion programs
- Mild Climate
- Close to Vancouver
Cons Of Living In Whistler BC
- Large transient population