Close this search box.

MAC History

MAC has been advocating for the seniors of Whistler for over 30 years.

Hear stories from local legends of how Whistler transformed from wilderness to world class resort.

Identifying the Need to Support Seniors

MAC’s Purpose Expands

A Plan to Actively Engage Seniors in the Community

In 2008, a focus group was created “to review potential opportunities for activity services in the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) that will not only enable seniors to age in place, but also enhance seniors’ lifestyle choices allowing them active engagement in the community.” An activity and medical services inventory and a seniors survey were completed as a baseline. A Seniors Needs Advocate Planner (SNAP) job description was drafted and partnerships explored.

In 2009, a community survey was undertaken with 181 respondents participating. By 2010, the Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) committed to hosting the position of a SNAP in partnership with MAC. It had become apparent that the Seniors’ Activity Centre to be included in the Holborn development in Whistler Village was going to be delayed. In November, at Maury Young Arts Centre, a community information session releasing the survey results was held. Seniors’ units were created in the Whistler Housing Authority’s (WHA) Cheakamus Crossing Legacy Neighbourhood, with six townhomes built in The Rise and 18 condominiums in The Falls complex. In this period all seniors’ units were assigned through a process with MAC taking the lead on ranking local senior citizens as qualifying prospects. There was no seniors’ units waitlist.

Making Aging-in-place a Part of Whistler’s OCP

In 2010, the SNAP was hired by WCSS. The MAC website was updated, and the platform upgraded to provide greater functionality. Talks took place between MAC and the RMOW for a seniors’ centre, given that the Holborn site was not being developed.

MAC received a Union of BC Municipalities grant, and funds were allocated for the Social Planning and Research Council of B.C. (SPARC) to obtain the information necessary to make aging-in-place a part of the new Official Community Plan for Whistler. With $6K from the grant, a Seniors Resource Guide, “Access Whistler: An Inclusive Resource Guide for Seniors” was produced in partnership with the Whistler Question. In October, the balance of the grant went towards producing a Seniors’ Lifestyle Expo, held at Spruce Grove Field House with over 100 enthusiastic attendees.

Whistler seniors have demonstrated leadership in community contribution through considerable volunteering and memberships in various community groups and projects, raising the profile of seniors within the community of Whistler. Projects included “Connecting Seniors – Changing Lives,” “Seniors Mentoring Seniors,” and an initiative with Whistler Blackcomb to work with MAC on potential employment and volunteer opportunities.

Offering Information, Activities, and Events

In 2011, a bulletin board was implemented at the library as an information hub for seniors and 55+ drop-in participants, as the library continued to feature speakers relevant to seniors’ needs. Seniors’ cooking classes at Myrtle Philip Community School continued and a walking group was created and led by the SNAP, as well as MAC Lite Fitness and AquaMAC programs. Seniors Supporting Seniors was established along with a driving program with a Vancouver mileage rebate of $100  and a Squamish rebate of $30. A Seniors Lifestyle Expo was held in partnership with a VCH flu clinic in October, with 160 people attending and 100 flu shots given.

Conversations with other organizations continued to identify the needs of Whistler’s seniors through the lens of chronic disease management, proactive and preventative care, advance planning, and education.

Finding Venues and Creating Housing

A proposal was approved for seniors to utilize the Youth Centre on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and the WCSS increased the Seniors Needs Action Planner hours from 15 hours to 26 hours per week in recognition of the growing needs of seniors in the community. The access guide “Lifestyle Planning Guide for Zoomers” was published in partnership with The Whistler Question.

On the topic of housing, the WHA strategic plan included seniors’ housing as a goal. At its January meeting, the WHA reviewed the Rainbow Lot 10 Seniors Housing Needs Assessment information report and discussed a process for project implementation. The Lot 10 Final draft plan included eight townhouse units.

Seniors’ Centre Launches

In 2012, the RMOW began assessing potential locations for a seniors’ activity centre, and partnered with the WCSS to utilize their new location in the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Social Services Centre (WBFSS) at Spring Creek. MAC received the New Horizons for Seniors Program grant ($16K) for the “Seniors’ Centre Intergenerational Activity Project.” The Seniors’ Centre opened on September 6th at the WBFSS Centre with MP John Weston in attendance along with 70+ seniors. It was a comfortable drop-in place with couches, coffee and conversation.

In October, a Seniors’ Lifestyle Expo and Flu Clinic were held, drawing 140 attendees. MAC also produced a Downsizing Guide for the Access Whistler publication. Website redesign took place, funded by the New Horizons for Seniors grant. A regular monthly article for seniors called “Silver Linings” launched in the Question. The first article, titled “Myth Busters” explored the commonly held beliefs that there aren’t any seniors in Whistler; there aren’t any seniors’ services in Whistler; all seniors are prepared for the reality of ageing; and downsizing is easy – just sell your house.

On the housing front, Lot 10 did not receive sufficient numbers of seniors willing to commit financially at the time. However, it was identified that there may be an opportunity for seniors’ housing on Lot 9 (the commercial site) on the three floors above the commercial space.

The Holborn proposal progressed to third reading. The re-zoning would provide 27,000 sq. ft. of seniors’ non-market housing with 20-23 townhomes, a 1500 sq. ft. seniors’ centre and underground parking on the plans, including allowance for progression from independent living to assisted living to full care.

Conversations with other organizations continued to identify the needs of Whistler’s seniors through the lens of chronic disease management, proactive and preventative care, advance planning, and education.

A Name Change to Fit the Community

In 2013, the name Mature Action Committee was changed to Mature Action Community to be more inclusive and the logo was redesigned. A membership drive was implemented to increase membership from 212 to 1000. Club 50 came under the MAC umbrella as the social arm. Two trifolds were designed: “What Does MAC Do?” and “Whistler’s Senior Voice.”

A Sea to Sky Transportation Collaborative was established with Pemberton and Squamish seniors’ groups. Jack Crompton, owner of RideBooker, expressed interest in exploring a new Sea to Sky Transportation model to meet the needs of seniors.

Holborn withdrew their application for rezoning, and there was a Cheakamus Crossing co-housing proposal with the WHA.

Finding New Partnerships

In 2014, the Annual Town Hall Meeting was held in January. The WHA completed a housing survey that included seniors’ data for the first time. The Sea to Sky Transportation initiative moved under the Sea to Sky Community Services Society as a volunteer driving program needed to be run under a registered charity and no municipal sponsor could be secured for the program. There were over 5000 volunteers’ hours logged by seniors at Village Host stations in 2014, demonstrating the positive impact of seniors’ contributions to Whistler.

In 2015, the WCSS advised that they no longer felt seniors’ services were within their mandate and withdrew their support of the Seniors Outreach Worker.  MAC was not able to find an alternate partnership to keep the position in place; however, MAC did negotiate with the RMOW to include a seniors’ drop-in centre in the plans being drawn up for a Meadow Park expansion and secured both a 55+ section in the Leisure Guide for activities at Meadow Park, and a page on the RMOW website for seniors.

Successful Projects and Programs

In 2016, the film “Whistler: From Wilderness to World Class” premiered. The digital storytelling project tells the history of Whistler through the stories of its senior people, past and present. It was made possible by Canada’s New Horizons Grant for Seniors and the joint participation of MAC, the Whistler Museum and Archive Society, and the Whistler Arts Council.


Whistler: From Wilderness to World Class

With the Rainbow Resident Housing Neighbourhood being approved, the Solana, 20 units designated specifically for seniors and “for purchase” were built. Pursuant to the Mayor’s Task Force on Resident Housing 2016-2019 specific to Senior Application Management, implementation of the new Council Policy called for the senior housing waitlist process to be aligned with all policies on the eligibility for the general Employee Housing Program. This would move MAC onto the general WHA waitlist.

2016 - 2019

Rainbow Resident Housing Neighbourhood

In 2017, Holborn chose not to proceed with its development and sold it to the Beedie Group. The Beedie Group have been in discussions with the RMOW and the community since that time.


Beedie Group & RMOW

In 2018, a partnership was formed with Spring Creek Community School to form the Grades 5 - 7 Reading Program, delivered by 10 MAC volunteers.


Partnered with Spring Creek Community School

In 2019, the Illumina was built in Rainbow with 20 seniors rental units. It was maintained that eligible seniors would still get priority access to seniors’ housing projects, prioritized from oldest to youngest senior. MAC developed a three-year strategic plan organized along the WHO themes for an age-friendly city.



In 2021, MAC participated in the Lifting the Community project led by Arts Whistler in which old Catskinner chairs were given a new life as works of art. MAC's chair was a stunning depiction of the view from the Catskinner chair by artist Tonnja Kopp. The WHA decided that qualifying seniors are eligible for all employee housing units not only Senior Designated Units. The WHA removed the MAC non-voting WHA Board member.


Participated with Arts Whistler

In 2022, The Making Connections dementia-friendly program was developed and started as a five-session pilot held every two weeks for 2 ½ hours from late October to December 2022. In April, the WHA decided only one waitlist will be maintained and managed by the WHA for allocation of all restricted units, including Senior Designated units.


Making Connections

In 2023, based on the success of the Making Connections pilot, a weekly program was launched in January. In February, MAC was awarded a Federal New Horizons for Seniors Program grant in the amount of $21,440. MAC implemented a new strategic plan under key focus areas of supportive services: health and well-being; inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility; and organizational capacity, to guide priorities until the end of 2024. MAC purchased a pedal wheelchair thanks to a grant from the Real Estate Association of Whistler to benefit area residents and visitors.


Federal New Horizons for Seniors

MAC received a grant of $22,965 from the Community Services Recovery Fund through the Community Foundations of Canada to upgrade to a new website and to implement software to modernize the member and event registration, current databases, systems and records to communicate with our membership in a more efficient, effective manner. In addition, MAC partnered with the BC Association of Community Response Networks to set up the Whistler Community Response Network. During November, MAC held a Housing Forum for members and WCSS hired a Senior Outreach Coordinator.


Upgraded System Architecture