All About Squamish

Squamish has carved out quite a reputation for itself. Over the years, it’s transformed from a logging town, to a pit stop for gas on the way to Whistler, to what is now one of the premiere outdoor destinations in North America.

Beautiful Views in Squamish British Columbia

A Rich History

Squamish was originally inhabited by the Squohomish, a group of Central Coast Salish.

The first contact between the Squamish Nation and European explorers was in 1792, when captain Vancouver sailed up the Howe Sound to trade. But it wasn’t until 1888 that the first permanent settlers of European descent came. During those years, a community started to thrive around logging, agriculture and mining. The first school was built in 1893 and the first hotel in 1902.

Over the following years, many other settlers relocated to Squamish. By the early 20th century, forestry had surpassed agriculture as the primary economic activity.

Squamish was incorporated as a village in 1948 and as a district municipality in 1964. Geographically, however, it remained isolated. That changed dramatically when a railway link to Vancouver was completed in 1956. Two years later, the Sea View (now called Sea to Sky) highway was constructed. In the late 1960s, the growth of the ski resort at Whistler increased the number of people travelling up the highway.

Today, Squamish has gained fame as a world-class outdoor adventure hub.

Demographics

  • Population (2016): 17,587
    *Squamish has one of the fastest growing population rates in BC!
  • Average age: 37.4
    *About 74% of the population is under the age of 40
  • Total occupied private dwellings: 6,490
  • Median household income: $88,366
    *26% higher than the BC median household income.

Activities

Squamish calls itself the “outdoor recreation capital of Canada” – and for good reason. Nestled between mountains and the ocean, the city offers a never-ending list of activities – including mountain biking, rock climbing, kite boarding, whitewater rafting, golfing, hiking and snowsports. It truly is BC’s year-round playground.

Adding to its appeal, the Sea to Sky gondola opened in 2014. The $22-million facility provides access to backcountry trails and breathtaking vistas. A ten-minute trip takes visitors up a two-kilometer ride to the top of Howe Sound, 886 meters above sea level.

Sea to Sky Gondola Squamish

Many people usually associate food in Squamish with the fast-food restaurants that dot the highway. But aside from the great outdoors, Squamish also has a flourishing restaurant scene. Over the last few years, a slew of new restaurants have sprung up, like Salted Vine Kitchen & Bar and Sushi Sen. Squamish is also known for its great craft beer scene.

FUN FACT: Squamish was named one of NY Times’ 52 Places to Go in 2015! Read more here.

Real Estate

With pricey Vancouver real estate, Squamish has lured many city dwellers over the years. But, because of all the aforementioned activities and great lifestyle, it’s popularity has caught on. Squamish no longer offers the affordable prices it used to. The January 2018 MLS Home Price Index shows that the average detached house costs $1,003,000, an average townhouse $786,900 and an average apartment costs $490,400.

Squamish Real Estate Housing 2018

Schools

With a range of schools, Squamish is becoming a great place to raise a family. In the public school system, there are six elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. There are also two private elementary schools and a private high school.

Squamish also now boasts two post-secondary schools. Quest University, an independent, not-for-profit university opened in 2007 and Capilano College has a campus in Squamish.

Business

Squamish has transformed from a small pulp-mill forestry town to a thriving business, recreation and arts community. Employment in Squamish is dominated by construction, retail and hospitality. Outdoor sports also contribute to the economy.

Squamish was recently ranked number one by BC Business as the best place to work in BC. 

We hope you enjoyed this snapshot of Squamish! Please reach out to us if you have any questions.