New partnership takes design to one of the world's best destinations

Thu, Feb 25, 2016

Whistler, B.C. – Millions travel each year to experience the slopes, trails and natural environment that have made Whistler a world-renowned destination.

For the first time in the community’s history, 25 students and professionals will have the chance to see the area from a whole new perspective. Led by Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), the exciting Whistler Design Experience will start 670 metres above sea level in Whistler Village, soar a vertical mile to B.C.’s peaks and explore everything in between through the lens of design.

The eight-day course, to be launched this July by KPU’s Wilson School of Design and the Resort Municipality of Whistler, will offer learners, adventurers and design enthusiasts the opportunity to discover how design, culture and stunning geography influence work, life and play in Whistler.

“Studying design in context brings with it a level of learning and engagement that simply cannot be replicated. In this case, we are taking learning to the 670-metre level and beyond by giving students the unique opportunity to study how design evolves within the environmental and cultural context of Whistler,” said Carolyn Robertson, dean of the Wilson School of Design, which will run the program.

The Whistler Design Experience will allow participants to connect with the area’s creative community and immerse themselves in its culture through cuisine, trail excursions, time in the village, visits to local landmarks and much, much more.

“The Resort Municipality of Whistler is excited to partner with the renowned Wilson School of Design at KPU to establish the Whistler Design Experience. It is a unique opportunity for participants to explore all that Whistler offers with its natural and built environment and our local culture—through the lens of design. This partnership is another key step in the implementation of Whistler’s Learning and Education Strategy, while also adding further breadth to our resort,” said Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.

After a week at the Whistler Athletes’ Centre Lodge, multiple tours, and an engaging academic and design itinerary, participants will develop an understanding of the practice of collaborative design, and take away new skills, expertise and experiences. Although the number of spots is limited, the course will be open to local and international students across disciplines, industry professionals and anyone interested in learning about design. No background on the subject is necessary.

“At a time when cities dominate our attention and the world is becoming more the same, we tend to take for granted the rich and particularly unique aspects of our smaller communities and neighbourhoods,” said Erick Villagomez, lead instructor for the course. “So much is left undiscovered by those of us who simply pass through Whistler for a few days at a time. This course will look at Whistler with fresh eyes, showing how its unique qualities have bred its own distinctive design culture. I’m thrilled for those who will be joining us from around the globe to share this experience, although I’m even more excited for those who will be coming from nearby since I’m sure it will open their eyes to the magic of a place we think we already know.”

Applications will open soon. For more information or to express interest in the course, visit, email or contact Gabrielle Durning at 604-599-2567.

About the Resort Municipality of Whistler
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is Whistler’s local government led by an elected council and administered by an executive team and staff on behalf of 10,447 residents and 2.7 million annual visitors. The RMOW manages municipal planning and development, park and Village operations, sports facilities and recreation, public utilities and environmental services, bylaws and enforcement, fire rescue, fiscal planning and financial services, legislative services, human resources, communications and the administration of the Whistler2020 Comprehensive Sustainability Plan and Whistler’s Official Community Plan. The RMOW collaborates with in-resort and external partners to create visitor experiences and enrich community life.

Whistler’s vision is to be the premier mountain resort community as it moves toward sustainability. Whistler was the proud Host Mountain Resort for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

About the Wilson School of Design
The Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University is a leader in design education, playing a significant role in shaping the design leaders of tomorrow. Located on Canada’s spectacular West Coast, the Wilson School of Design offers seven unique programs through certificate, diploma, bachelor’s degree, and post-baccalaureate qualifications. With its purposefully small class sizes, hands-on learning approaches, faculty expertise, direct connection with industry and the advanced technological resources, the School of Design instills a deep understanding of design thinking and the design process. For more information about the Wilson School of Design, please visit

About Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Kwantlen Polytechnic University has served the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 200,000 learners. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs in business, liberal arts, design, health, science and horticulture, trades and technology, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 120 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates, citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at   

Whistler media contact:
Resort Municipality of Whistler Communications
Twitter: @RMWhistler
Facebook: RMOW
Instagram: @RMWhistler

KPU media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

For more KPU news: