Pemberton & District Chamber of Commerce History

Established 1932 ~ 85th Anniversary ~ 1932-2017


  • 1932-34: Harold Wyatt Purden
  • 1935-37: J. Wilkinson
  • 1937-44: Edmond Ronayne
  • 1944-48: A.M. Ridley
  • 1948-50: W.J. Matthews
  • 1950-52: F.B. Menzel
  • 1952-?: A.R. Mawbey/Ben Cherry
  • 1959-60: R.H.E.Taylor
  • 1964-65: Jack Graham
  • 1967-69: Bob Priest
  • 1971-72: Howie Ayers
  • 1972-73: Louis Potvin
  • 1973-74: Arald Mishke
  • 1974-75: Len Belliveau
  • 1979: Sharon Desrosier
  • 1980: Roland Wushcke
  • 1990-91: Diane Wushcke
  • 1991-92: Mark Hunter
  • 1993: Paul Woodside
  • 1994: Bill Gonidis
  • 1995-1998: Jan Kennett
  • 1999: D'Arcy DeMore
  • 2000-2005: Mark Blundell
  • 2006-2008: Paul Selina
  • 2009: Sandy Ryan
  • 2010: Paul Vacirca
  • 2011: Mark Blundell
  • 2012-2014: Karen Ross
  • 2014-2016: Garth Phare
  • 2017: Graham Turner

"Pemberton A history of a Settlement"

In 1931 men of the community formed a second organization which was to have an impact on farming; the Pemberton and District Board of Trade became active in marketing the farm crops. At the organizational meeting held in the Pemberton Hotel, H.W. Purden was elected President and later served for eighteen years as secretary-treasurer. J.W. Wilkinson was the first one. Others attending the first meeting included J.A Taillefer, C. Wellington, H. Derrick, A. Spetch, T. Graham, G. Stack, W. Germyn, A. Johnson, G. Cowell, R. Dickey and R.H.E. Taylor.  Some farmers diversified, yet the Board of Trade records have recurring references to potatoes, and just a few to other products."

"Charles Wellington complained at a Board of Trade meeting that in spite of all the first prizes won in 1931 at a Vancouver potato show Vancouver dealers gave the potatoes 'only second rating" Board members took action by asking the secretary to bring the matter to the attention of the Minister of Agriculture." "In 1931, because its grower members wanted advice about marketing, the Board of Trade invited a potato broker as a speaker. ......The following January, through the Board of Trade, a firm of brokers ordered a carload of seed potatoes, offering $17 a ton."In spite of financial discouragements, vigorous efforts continued to improve marketing practices, storage facilities, and disease control. During the 'thirties outstanding awards came to the Valley. H.W. Purden submitted to the Board of Trade a "Snowflake Spud" design which was accepted and growers of commercial potatoes thereafter bought and filled sacks branded with the 'Snowflake" design.. To control quality of products the Board passed a motion that its stamp be on the labels of all root crops, 'providing they were properly graded and inspected by one of the Board of trade experts on Root Crops" Another motion appointed as the Board's inspector Harold Gethen, a fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society of England.  Using old bridge timbers donated by the P.G.E., the Board combined with the Farmer's Institute to build a root house close to the railway tracks. . In 1934 increasing recognition of Pemberton Potatoes came from the Federal Department of Agriculture which inquired about the Board of Trades ' marketing system for Snowflake Spuds" and for a sample of them. The Department had heard 'reports of the Huge Success of this Board". Members prepared the report and sent if off along with a 'large sample' of potatoes.

AUGUST 1933 BOARD OF Trade Statistics

  • Width of the Valley: 1 mile; length 40 miles
  • Approximately 25,000 acres privately owned, 25,000 acres that could be settled
  • Population: 350 Indians, 700 whites
  • Shipped in 1930: 2,000 poles
  • 26,500 ties
  • Shipped in 1932: 22,000 sacks of root vegetables
  • 15 carloads of hay
  • Shipped yearly: 6,000 gallons cream
  • $15,000 furs
  • Stock in District: 2,000 head of cattle, 500 head of horses
  • Roads: 26 miles of local roads, 40 automobiles
  • Sawmills: 8
  • Mining properties: 7
  • Dominion Fish Hatchery
  • Hot Springs
  • Abundant water power.

The 1933 Board of Trade statistics compiled for the purpose of promoting a highway to the coast outline the population and economy of the Pemberton area at the time, and any service industries had to draw revenue from those sources. For about twenty years the railway had been operating between Pemberton and Squamish, but Board of Trade members obviously believed that the P.G.E. had not sufficiently improved conditions. They wanted a road to the coast. Connecting with the P.G.E. rail link, the vital internal links were those few miles of local roads which meandered along with the river which itself meandered through the Valley and the inhabited parts of the district. Without them industrial and commercial activity would have been impossible for farms, mills, and stores depended on passable roads.

"Pemberton and District Board of Trade had been the driving force behind the drainage program and during the war years, assisted at times by the Women's Institute, sponsored salvage drives, showed films at the Community Hall and continued to boost Pemberton and to harass the Government about the local roads and the lack of a through train to Vancouver. In 1944 Vivien Lokken and Kathleen Lundgren were accepted as the first women members. In 1949 Board members were concerning themselves with the water supply for the village, and endorsing a request of the Lillooet Lake Trading Company for the establishment of a Post Office at Creekside. In their concern over the lack of a road they let no opportunity for publicity pass - in 1958 they distributed 5,000 pamphlets in Vancouver on this subject. The report in Vancouver that 4,900 of these were given out in beer parlours was hotly denied! The Board of trade strongly supported Pemberton's drive for incorporation, and through the years made many attempts to interest large mill firms in the area and even to persuade the Federal Government to establish a heavy-water plant. Though in earlier days the Board of Trade was mainly concerned with the needs of the farming community, as the population expanded their concerns turned towards the business community and the need for a locally based industry offering year round employment. This very real need has yet to be fulfilled and the Board of Trade, now the Chamber of Commerce, is still working on the problem"

"On the social side, the Board of Trade held an Annual Banquet which was a very popular local event in the 'fifties and' sixties.  In 1957 they entered the P.N.E. Parade with Princess Mary Miller riding a float decorated with paper potato flowers. Earlier they entered the District Display at the PNE and filled a stall with local produce from sheaves of oats to jars of locally preserved fruits. The Taylor family and Eric Gethen were closely associated with this effort and Granny Taylor spent many hours at the stand answering questions about this area which was largely unknown to the lower mainland."


The first organizational meeting was held in November 1931 and the Charter was granted in 1932. One of the main objectives of the Chamber was to 'push for a road to Bralorne and Bridge river" June 17, 1932 - Mr. Wellington donated part of his field for a sports ground and it was accepted by the Chamber.

Sept. 5, 1932

The Chamber Banquet & Dance sold tickets for the Dinner at $1.00 (included the dance) or if only attending the dance it was 50 cents.

Annual Report of activities from 1932-33

BC Tel line, river bank protection, special grant for Ryan Creek Jam, road works at various points, improvements at rock slide, cream cooler at PGE station, freight rate reduction on cars from D'Arcy to Lillooet (from $28 to $21), Dominion Charter, root house for station which was held up as dimensions were not sent in, fire protection form town site, registration of Snowflake Spuds, freight rate of potatoes 2/80 per ton. , freight rate for feeds and flour from 40 cents to

20 ½ cents for 100 lbs., 40,000orders for piling ties, trappers extension, allowance on cleaning up, relief work, Wellington Park, and clearing of the park., work on trail to Tenquille Lake and stocking the lake with fish, shingle mill meeting, visit of Hudson Harvey, Old Years Dance, reservation of timber for use of Pemberton residents, reduction of freight rates from Owl Creek to Vancouver and Pemberton to Shalath.

In the 1960's one of the major community events each year was the Annual Chamber Dinner. With a notable guest speaker - even Ma Murray, Lillooet News spoke one year.

The Pemberton Chamber of Commerce sponsored a community newspaper from 1972-74 called Pemberton Valley News. In 1973 it was published every second week.

Outhouses: One of the major projects in the mid 1960's of the Chamber was providing all the materials for the Pemberton Secondary School Students to construct 17 outhouses for distribution around the valley in the many recreation area.

  • 1972: Chamber was urging Minister of Highways to re-route Highway 99 around Signal Hill
  • 1974: Pemberton Valley Labour Force Development Committee was formed


  • Welcome Wagon
  • Farmers Market
  • Trade Fairs
  • Citizen & Business of the Year
  • Lobbying for an alternate route from Vancouver - both the Harrison and Capilano Routes
  • Located the first building donated for the Museum
  • Revitalization Committee which is now the Village of Pemberton's Design review Committee
  • Cowboy Festival, Country Jamboree
  • Information Booth/Visitor Centre
  • Lobby for Bank Machine
  • Economic Strategy Meeting with Community Futures & Sea to Sky Economic Development Commission
  • Pemberton Entrance Sign, Business Directory Signs
  • Snowmobile Video on Outdoor Channel
  • Shop Local Campaigns
  • Economic Planning workshop
  • Tourism Pemberton
  • Tourism Strategy, Tourism Essentials Workshop
  • Downtown Revitalization
  • Spirit of BC Committee
  • Barn Dance: yearly - main fundraising event. Held in conjunction with Lions, Legion, Rotary, and Fire Dept.
  • Chamber Christmas functions
  • Christmas in the Park,
  • Christmas Light Up Contest
  • Annual Joint Chamber meetings with Squamish & Whistler
  • Participated in Pollution Free Weeks, Anti Litter Weeks
  • Chamber web site, print & email newsletters
  • Tourism Promotional Videos.
  • Pemberton Foundation established
  • Spirit of BC Committee, Winterfest
  • Awards expanded to include New Business Award, Customer Service Award, Community Service Award
  • Municipal and Provincial All Candidates Meetings
  • Advocate for New Business



  • 58 members,
  • printed brochure/map,
  • Barn Dance,
  • Tourist Booth


  • 4,000 visitors at Tourist Booth


  • 80 members,
  • 6,000 visitors to Tourist Booth,
  • Bursary to PSS Student,
  • 1st Barn Dance


  • 12,000 visitors at Tourist booth 58 participants at Trade Fair,
  • Bed Races & PJ Shopping community organizations sign erected
  • Revitalization Committee


  • 106 members
  • Chamber Newsletter
  • first Membership Directory
  • Pemberton Discount Book
  • 2nd Trade fair hosted a Carnival
  • Christmas Light Contest
  • Associate  status for Visitor Centre with Tourism BC
  • 8,721 visitors
  • Joined the BC Chamber of Commerce
  • reviewed the Village of Pemberton OCP and Zoning Bylaws


  • 119 members
  • presentation to first baby born in 2000  in the Sea to Sky Corridor
  • work commenced on Entrance Sign
  • 18,285 Visitors at Visitor Centre Trade Fair 73 participants Barn Dance
  • goal setting session with BC Chamber rep.


  • 114 members
  • full status Visitor Information Centre
  • 4th Trade Fair
  • start of joint Chamber meetings with Squamish & Whistler
  • Study funded by Community Futures on the " Friendliness of Pemberton"
  • lights for the entrance sign


  • 122 members
  • 5th Trade Fair
  • Cowboy festival
  • 22,717 visitors at Visitor Centre


  • 127 members
  • 20,537 visitors
  • TV snowmobile video funded
  • participated in caravan promoting the road from Harrison Pemberton
  • trip to Heber
  • joint marketing ventures


  • Established Tourism Pemberton committee visit to Heber, Utah
  • Barn Dance revenues shared and 30% to reserve fund for 2010


  • 130 members
  • Tourism Essentials Workshop, funds donated for Tourism Strategy
  • 14,782 visitors


  • 158 members
  • new Visitor Centre
  • Chamber office
  • hired part time-manager
  • completion of tourism strategy
  • Chaired Spirit of BC Committee
  • working on the establishment of an Economic Development Officer
  • Hosted joint chamber meeting with Squamish/Whistler


  • 158 members
  • Wheelchair ramp added to the Visitor Centre
  • Article in Business & Trade Magazine for Pemberton Chamber - 75th Anniversary
  • We hosted a joint Chamber meeting with Whistler & Squamish at the Museum
  • Rotary landscaped around Visitor Centre on Earth day
  • VCM held their Annual Meeting in Pemberton
  • Economic Development Commission established & Chamber had member on it
  • Barn Dance airport now named Pemberton Regional Airport Christmas in the Park
  • Citizen & Business of the Year New Fee schedule for membership
  • EDO hired
  • support to snowmobiling, Abracadabra for 75th Party


  • 172 members
  • Successful Winterfest
  • Hosted Workshops for the EDC
  • Assisted the EDC - with conference expense, paid for website
  • 3 Directors attended a lunch with the Premier & Cabinet, BC Chamber AGM - Paul Selina & David MacKenzie Attended
  • Contributed funds towards the Inuksuk at the Visitor Centre
  • Tourism Pemberton grant from the UBCM Tourism funds
  • Bursary for PSS Student ;Pemberton Festival
  • worked closely with Live Nation
  • International Year of the Potato which we promoted
  • New Chamber Logo
  • Chamber Luncheons
  • Rick Hansen Wheels in Motion Event raised $5877
  • Reprinted Map/Brochure
  • Meager Hot springs opened
  • Successful Golf Tournament with Rotary
  • Organized the Pemberton Festival Committee - $130,000 was distributed to community groups from Live Nation
  • Funded the Hand Print Project of the Festival Bands
  • Supported Boundary Expansion, OCP & Zoning Bylaws
  • Visitor Centre   received a grant to upgrade computer equipment
  • Highest number of visitors 23,292 in the nine years of operation as a full status Visitor Centre
  • Painted the Visitor Centre, new Church/Organization & area map
  • Lobbied for new business to locate in Pemberton
  • Support on new development proposal


  • 157 members
  • Barn Dance at old High School ( last Barn Dance held)
  • Spirit Committee successful Winterfest
  • Downtown Enhancement
  • new power pole installed at Visitor Centre
  • DVD purchased for Visitor centre from PV Golf Course
  • TP website launched


  • 161 Members
  • Olympic Year
  • Hosted German Youth team
  • Winterfest
  • Golf Tournament
  • Torch Relay comes to Pemberton


  • 156 members
  • Tourism Pemberton Winter Promotion
  • funded TP Marketing position
  • Visitor Centre operation
  • Winterfest
  • reviewed and changed our Bylaws
  • Premier's Lunch
  • New Visitor Sign


  • 141 members
  • Tourism Pemberton Summer Promotion
  • Visitor Centre operation
  • Winterfest
  • Workshops for Business
  • Visitor Centre tied down
  • wheelchair picnic table added
  • BC Chamber AGM  delegates attended
  • also Premiers Lunch
  • BC Chamber Zone meeting
  • Rutherford Power Plan Tour


  • 148 members Award presentations
  • New Entrance Sign south of Pemberton Innergex & VOP assisted with funding
  • Donated funds to the Pemberton Community Endowment Fund
  • Major Tourism promotions
  • Tourism Pemberton becomes a Society Joint Chamber
  • VoP meeting, Lunches
  • educations workshops
  • Ironman Cheer Station


  • 145 members Award presentations
  • debrief session with members on Economic Impact of Music Festival
  • Small Business Dinner & Dance
  • Updating of Chamber website
  • attended Visitor Networking Meeting with Destination BC
  • Awards Presentation to now be cancelled in the future
  • Delegations, lunches, networking opportunities
  • Festival Brainstorming Session
  • "Rock It" Ironman Cheers Station


  • 145 members
  • 2nd Entrance Sign
  • organized Business Park Open House
  • Wedding study
  • Strategic Planning Session
  • Share the Road Signs for cyclist/cars
  • Lucky Bastard Campaign for Festival
  • >Commuter bus to town from Festival
  • First endowment funds given out
  • Young Entrepreneurs Evening


  • 146 members
  • 4 lunches (SASET, Small Business BC, Radius Development, HUKA)
  • Surveyed vendors for their requirements at the Pemberton Festival
  • Created policy for BC Chamber AGM re - Taxation for Distilleries
  • Operation of Visitor Centre
  • Annual Golf Tournament with Rotary
  • Paul Selina was appointed as the Economic Development Coordinator for the Chamber relating to the 2017 Pemberton Music Festival
  • Positive response from Minister of Agriculture re weddings
  • Participated in Job Fair in Mount Currie
  • Co-hosted Community Organization Meeting with the Village & Regional District


  • 155 members
  • Spirit Committee held  a successful Winterfest
  • 3 lunches, Guest speakers, Mayor Mike Richman,  Melanie Williams, Lil'wat, Pat Large SASET ,  Chamber Apres - Pemberton Hotel, Guest Speaker Jordan Sturdy, MLA, Lisa Pedrini
  • Hosted a  Provincial All Candidates Meeting
  • Community  Organization Meeting  hosted by Chamber, SLRD & VOP
  • Establishment of Economic Development Task Force
  • Visitor Centre opens in May for the season .
  • Chamber/Rotary Annual Fund Raising Golf Tournament  ,
  • Presentation of PSS Bursary
  • Visitor Centre had 24,968 visitors
  • Chamber 85th Anniversary Celebration