Squamish as a town had its beginning during the construction of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway in the 1910s, and was the first southern terminus of that railway (now a part of CN), and the town remains important in the operations of the line and also the port. Forestry has traditionally been the main industry in the area, and the town's largest employer was the Western Forest Products pulp mill. However, Western Pulp, Squamish Operation permanently ceased operation on January 26, 2006.. Before the pulp mill the town's largest employer had been International Forest Products Interfor with their sawmill and logging operation but it closed a few years prior to the Pulp mill. In recent years, Squamish has also become popular with Vancouver and Whistler residents escaping the increased cost of living in those places, both less than one hour away by highway, with tourism an increasingly important part of the town's economy.
Another activity for which Squamish is well known is mountain biking, with over 600 trails suitable to all abilities surrounding the town. One of the more famous events supported by the Mountain Biking Community is the Test of Metal, a 67 km cross country mountain bike race held in late June every year. It is limited to 800 riders, and the 2007 race sold out in under an hour.
Other tourist attractions in Squamish include Shannon Falls waterfall; river-rafting on the Elaho and Squamish rivers; wind surfing and kite surfing at the mouth of the Squamish River; snowmobiling on nearby Brohm Ridge; and bald eagle viewing in the nearby community of Brackendale, which has one of North America's largest populations of bald eagles. Squamish is also a popular destination among Greater Vancouver hikers, mountaineers and backcountry skiers, who visit the large provincial parks in the surrounding Coast Mountains.
Federally, Squamish is a part of the West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country electoral district. It is represented by Blair Wilson (Green Party of Canada), who took office during Canada's 2006 federal election.
Capilano College offers post-secondary education through its Squamish campus, including diploma programs and university transfer courses. Quest University Canada, opened in September 2007. It is Canada's first private, non-profit, secular university. Squamish Montessori School offers 3-6 year olds a full AMI based Montessori preschool education.
Squamish is one of the wettest locations in Canada, with nearly 2400mm of rainfall per year, often falling in long stretches through the winter. Snow is not typical in winter, but can fall in heavy amounts with 50cm accumulations not uncommon, although it often melts quickly.
Mike Sweeney who grew up in Squamish competed in the 1984 olympics with Team Canada for soccer.
Neal Kindree, World Cup mountain bike racer.
Linda Firbank: Recipient of the Priemier's award for excellence in teaching.