Exploring Whistler: Function Junction
While Function Junction has historically been dismissed to the industrial and rather mechanical spaces of Whistler, it is now an up and coming artistically driven neighbourhood. Like many other cities where entrepreneurs strive to find space within an expensive rental market, Function Junction has helped to fill this void for many of the creative people calling Whistler their home.
The vast majority of short term visitors to Whistler completely miss Function Junction because it was never put on their radar. In fact, hotel concierges, travel guides, and top ten lists typically neglect this neighbourhood as it doesn’t necessarily fit the mold of the Whistler resort aesthetic. Although Forged Axe Throwing might be a little biased about our little corner of Whistler, we feel quite differently about Function than the traditional tourist guides would lead you to believe. Function is fantastic!
We want to welcome you with open arms to our local neighbourhood, and encourage you to make the epic, 10 minute trip, from Whistler Village down to Function Junction. It’s easy to get here, by bike, by transit or by car, and if you come for an hour or come for the day, we guarantee you can fill your day with some of the secrets this neck of the woods has to offer. Plus, Function Junction is often where the locals go; for a bit of entertainment, a beer or two, and to get away from the crowds of the village.
History of Function Junction
Not surprising, Function Junction has a long tradition as a stopping point for travellers exploring the sea-to-sky region. Even before the railway was built in 1914 (which connected Vancouver to the northern coastal mountain communities) a few working families were trying to make a living in Function.
Perhaps one of the first documented businesses was what was called a stopping house along the Pemberton trail, which was operating at least as early as 1906. This house was opened by a man named John Millar, who may or may not have been on the run from the law. From all accounts, he served up some delicious backcountry food to those passing through, with most travellers at this time being prospectors or loggers, headed up from the Squamish area.
In its early days, the Function community was solely known by Mile 34 ½, and the name Function Junction did not come into use until the 1960s when Whistler’s legendary ski hill was being established. The name Function came into being around the time when one could finally drive to Whistler from Vancouver (instead of relying on the train), but it was still a much more arduous journey in those days than the 90-minute drive is today. The name Function Junction referred to the critical junction which travellers were presented with as they entered what is now Whistler municipality. Visitors could choose either to explore the new ski hill being constructed or head towards the older Whistler village.
Thus Function came into being over the last century as a resting point on a long journey and first introduction to Whistler. These days, of course, there is much more flourishing in the Function community than a stopping house, and a highway junction. Function contains some of the most affordable eats, best indoor entertainment and of course delicious beers. As more and more locals move into the neighbourhood, we can only anticipate the good things to come!
What to do in Function?
Many visitors to Whistler pass right by Function because they think it’s all industrial. That scene is quickly changing, however, thanks in part to people like us! Forged Axe Throwing is helping to put Function in the forefront, alongside many of our neighbours. One could easily bring the entire family down to Function, and spend an entire day, including activity breaks, meals, and casual afternoon drinks.
Forged Axe Throwing
1208 Alpha Lake Rd #1
Currently sitting at the number two thing to do in Whistler, we are proud to represent Function on TripAdvisor. We offer an entertaining true Whistler experience and welcome everyone to stop by and try our axe throwing for an afternoon. Even for those who believe they don’t have what it takes, we promise you that our staff will guide you safely through the process and have you hitting the target in no time. It makes a great stop off between breweries, and we can accommodate groups up to 30 people (however we advise you to book ahead for groups, as space is limited). We love getting the stoke going, and always encourage a little friendly competition between our guests. There is nothing as satisfying as an axe sinking into the bullseye.
Throw your bike on a bus and come on down to Function to explore the area’s numerous mountain bike trails. There is a vast spectrum of trails available for just about any skill set. As with all Whistler trails, they are well maintained, can come with spectacular views, and tend to be a pretty good time for all. Some of the local favourites include AM/PM which is located across the highway from the Function community in the Interpretive Forest and Lord of the Squirrels on The Western side of the community.
Where to Eat In Function Junction
Some of the best food in Whistler can be found down in Function, and all for a very reasonable price. Unlike the village, there is no need to wear your fancy pants, because Function comes in all shades of plaid, Carhart and mountain gear. All they require is that you come hungry. Here are some of our favourite places to chow down in the neighbourhood.
The Wildwood Cafe
4-1085 Millar Creek Road
Living and working in Function is honestly hard work, so where do we go when we need healthy, scrumptious food to fuel our day? The Wildwood obviously! It has excellent breakfasts, bountiful lunches and never disappoints. Located in the cull-de-sack it can often be overlooked, but we highly recommend making moves on this place for a perfectly priced and portioned meal. Just remember, you are not in the village, so don’t expect a modernized interior design, but expect to be extremely satisfied with the flavor, size, and price. They have been operating in the neighbourhood for 14 years, and continue to be a local favorite brunch and breakfast destination. They are only open until 2 pm however, so much sure to plan dinner accordingly.
1040 Millar Creek Road
If you are trying to maintain a rigorous gluten free lifestyle, run far away from this delectable, mouth watering bakery. The glutenous snacks they serve will be calling your name from blocks away, and we have yet to meet anybody that can resist the sweet, savoury, baked treats they serve up. If you are looking for something specific, we urge you to show up early (they open every day at 8:30 AM) because they often sell out of local favourites well before lunch time. We especially enjoy their cheesy cornbread with chunks of real corn, their fresh baked rustic Italian, or if we are feeling really good about ourselves, we might splurge on a raspberry riot. Take it from one of their many five-star yelp reviews,
“They sell crack! A bar of crack… and it’s delicious and obviously addictive. “
Where to Drink in Function Junction
In Function, there is not a cocktail to be found, that is perfectly okay with us. We like beer. Thankfully, due to its zoning and industrial nature, Function is the perfect location for breweries to take root. At the moment we have two excellent breweries to sample while in the neighbourhood, but we can only hope for more.
1045 Millar Creek Rd
Always a local tradition, Whistler Brewing was one of the pioneers of craft breweries in BC. They have been crafting solid, delicious beers since 1989. They continually create interesting fusions, and seasonal favourites year after year. Have you had a chance to sample their summer standby, the Grapefruit Ale? How about the winter warmer they have on tap during the colder months, the Chestnut Ale? Also, Whistler Brewery has continued to make one of the best mixer packs on the market if you ask us, which gives customers a chance to sample all the goods. They also offer an in depth look at the brewing process through their daily brewery tour, which comes with a full flight of samples to keep you interested right to the very end.
Coast Mountain Brewery
1212 Alpha Lake Rd #2
The newest addition to the Whistler craft beer scene is making waves among beer connoisseurs. Although their tap room is small, their hearts are big, and they welcome us all with open arms and a large variety of hop-forward beers to keep us going back over and over again. Although still relatively new, Coast Mountain Brewery has managed to push their way onto our pallets with fascinating takes on traditional styles. From our experience, after all, we are neighbors, we highly recommend their sours and punchy IPAs. They also tend to release a number of their most interesting concoctions solely on site, so taking the time to stop by and taste their interesting creations can be well worth it.
Where to Shop in Function Junction
If our predictions come true, the next wave of change in our local community will be an increased presence in the retail market. We sell a few great pieces ourselves, but we highly recommend checking out the well established and uniquely Function retail scene. We guarantee it is always unique, and always affordable.
104, 1055 Millar Creek Rd
While the Re-Use it has some quality gems, Deja Vogue consistently caters to these gems. Launched by a local trying to find affordable fashion, it is Whistler’s premier consignment store. Working down the road from these guys, we have personally seen some pretty impressive pieces walk in the door of Forged Axe Throwing and have found a few unique pieces ourselves. Plus, it’s all been handpicked to be special, anything from affordable fashionable goods to designer wears. Deja Vogue has something in store for everyone.