Squamish, BC, incorporated as a district municipality in 1964, population 17 158 (2011c), 14 949 (2006c). The District of Squamish is located 70 km north of Vancouver at the head of Howe Sound. The municipality is governed by a mayor and 6 councillors. It is the service centre for a richly endowed recreational area, with road, rail and water access to Vancouver.
The area was originally inhabited by the Squohomish, a group of Central Coast Salish; Squamish is the Native word for "mother of the wind," in recognition of the strong winds prevalent in Howe Sound. The first Europeans settled in the Squamish Valley about 1888. Though their settlement was known for a while as Newport, the older name was eventually restored. In the early years, hop farming was the valley's main industry and Squamish hops were some of the finest shipped to England.
Today, the primary industries in the area are logging, milling and pulp production. Squamish is serviced by a year-round, fog-free, deep-sea port and is close to rail and road transport. CN Rail (formerly British Columbia Railway) has its maintenance shops in Squamish. Two trends are important for Squamish's future. Tourism is becoming more prominent in its economy, given its location on the Sea-To-Sky Highway. There is also a growing trend for Squamish to attract former Vancouverites to the community; it is for many a bedroom suburb of the major metropolitan area.
Squamish has a campus of Capilano College and Quest University Canada, a private university, opened in 2007. Some of British Columbia's best skiing is available at the nearby resort of Whistler. There are 8 provincial parks nearby including Garibaldi Provincial Park; Stawamus Chief, a 700-metre high granite monolith, which attracts rock climbers; and Brackendale Eagles, protecting one of the most important wintering grounds for bald eagles. Squamish holds a loggers' sports show, which attracts world class competitors. Wind-surfing is popular in Howe Sound. The West Coast Railway Heritage Park has one of the largest collections of railway rolling stock and artifacts in Canada.