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7 Off-Beat Reasons to Visit Pemberton British Columbia

Photo by Dave Steers

Posted on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

There is so much to love about Pemberton, British Columbia. Our favourite thing to do is also easy as pie: Give you excellent reasons to visit, all year round. From the backdrop to our community, which is gorgeous and the training ground for world-class athletes, to the constant series of festivals and events that celebrate all we love: Music, good food, playing outdoors and a rather extreme over-the-top love of hard-core mountain biking.

Horseback 1

But after the dust has settled, the truth is that some of what is most loveable about Pemberton, some of the best reasons to visit here, are the off-beat ones. The things that make us the adventurous, fun and the place to visit in the Sea-to-Sky corridor.

So here, in no particular order, are a few of the less standard reasons for visiting Pemberton: (Yes, they're all biased toward our unique heritage and culture.)

1. Bob Menzel — Yep, he's been voted "Best Pembertonian" for quite a few years in a row. Yes, he raises horses and looks like the Wild West incarnate. Yes, he's one of the friendliest, most down-to-earth, straight-up lovely people you'll ever meet. And he owns Adventures on Horseback, which is hands-down the best horseback riding experience you'll get — anywhere. TripAdvisor reviews say the same thing, over and over: "Part of the Pemberton lifestyle!" "horses were wonderful" "Bob was a great tour guide" and on and on. 

2. Brad Knowles — Again, voted Best Tour Guide" in Pemberton in the Pique Newsmagazine's Best of Pemberton a few years in a row. But this time, for another prototypical Pemberton adventure: fishing. Pemberton Fish Finder is unique, and very "Pemberton" — The TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence means that, first, enough people have experienced Pemberton Fish Finder, and second, they consistently receive great reviews.

The reviews on TripAdvisor consistently mention how awesome Brad is, how knowledgable, kind and friendly he is. And Brad keeps responding to all this love by doing the awesome thing and thanking his wife, or the person who left the review, or whatever. Definitely a Pemberton "keeper".

3. "We have hearts." — This is a true reason given in the Best of Pemberton 2015 for "top reasons Pemberton is not like Whistler" but let's extrapolate this a bit. First, no one is saying that Whistler doesn't have a heart. Come on: You don't create some of the crazy fun stuff Whistler manages to pull off every year and not have a heart. But it's true. Pemberton has heart. Big time. You can hear it quite loudly, actually, when careening down any one of our downhill mountain bike trails. Or when taking a gander at Karen Love's paintings. Or reading newly minted short story-ist Katherine Fawcett. Or eating our local food or drinking our local spirits. Really. Heart. This could actually be a complete post in itself, as so many examples of our large and healthy heart(s) come to mind.

4. Food — When you think "rural Canada" does excellent food come to mind? Be honest. Pemberton has taken pains to preserve its farming heritage, and a few stars have aligned, actually, to make the effort a resounding success. 

Again, it's people: It's farmers like the Helmers and the Millers, whose land has been in production since forever, and who work — hard — educating people about the importance of good food. It's newcomers like the Sturdys, too, who see the promise in making sure people know where their food comes from, and teaching them to appreciate the good stuff. And, then, it's the chefs, restaurateurs and, yes, distillers, who get that the stuff their menu is made from matters. You'll notice immediately when you visit Pemberton that this is a village that values its food. And you'll definitely say thank you for that. From your morning coffee and muffin to your farm-to-table lunch and dinner to your local organic cocktail hour where you'll be literally in gratitude to the humble potato and what it can transform into with a little love and skill from the Schramms. The food in Pemberton is worth the trip. But of course, there's so much more to do here than just eat and drink...

5. The Lakes — And there aren't just a lot of lakes, there are lots of interesting lakes dotted around our landscape, each bringing something a bit different to the mix. Of course, our own little One Mile Lake right at the entrance to Pemberton is the local watering hole, literally. Four seasons, from the training grounds for the internationally recognized Laoyam Eagles Dragon Boat team to the place to play shinny in winter or cool off in summer, One Mile Lake is close to our hearts. But Anderson Lake is not far away, and neither is Gates Lake. Then there's Birkenhead, Joffre and Mosquito lakes. 

6. The Wildlife — We are the gateway to the backcountry. That means lots of outdoors activities, but it also simply means there is a lot of wildlife to discover here. From bighorn sheep to mountain goats to wild horses and blue heron, you can spend an entire vacation here simply marvelling at the fauna. Check out the Pemberton Wildlife Association for more information on conservation.

7. Fun Festivals and Events — Sure, yeah, Pemberton Music Festival is here and world class. But what's awesome about Pemberton goes deeper than that. Yes. We can host a full-on, multi-day extravaganza and have people clamouring for more. That is awesome. But you know what is just as awesome? The annual fox hunt. Pemberton hosts a fox hunt every year (don't worry, no foxes get hurt). And our annual library fundraiser (yes, that's right: Library Fundraiser) is what puts the "fun" in fundraising. Seriously. Of course, we're also the place to go to for what could easily be British Columbia's most amped gingerbread contest. The entire community comes out for this one, which allows local businesses to really show off their gingerbread construction skills as well as raise money for a great cause. And then there is the Lil'wat Rodeo, an event that really celebrates the Lil'wat Nation and community. There are so many annual reasons to visit Pemberton and take in some real only-in-Pemberton authentic goodness. 

Come anytime, year round, and discover why Pemberton is so much more than meets the eye.