When the menu at Le Gros claimed the fish was fresh, that may not have been an exaggeration — it could very well have been caught just steps from the dining room.
That was back in the day when Chef Pascal Tiphine was in the kitchen, for Tiphine loved nothing more than to fish in Alpha Lake, despite the catch and release rule.
"In true French spirit it was catch and release... in the kitchen," laughed one of the Frenchman's best friends Alan Lande.
Lande can think of no better way to honour his friend's memory than to have Alpha Lake renamed Lac Pascal. He has set the wheels in motion to do just that.
An online petition now has 175 signatures with a goal of 1,000, with many people adding their two cents about Tiphine, who died on Nov. 22, 2013 at 58 years old.
Tiphine loved the lake so much that he requested half his ashes be spread there, the other half has been sent to his father in France.
"That says everything in itself right there," said Lande.
Tiphine was one of Whistler's original restaurateurs, involved from the fledging days when there was only a handful of restaurants to choose from, and watching the resort grow into a food destination in its own right.
At his Celebration of Life, hundreds gathered at Le Gros to pay tribute to the man behind the iconic sign high at the entrance to Tamarisk.
As part of the initial steps to officially change the name, Lande sent out more than 300 letters to residents around Alpha Lake.
Dick Gibbons lives there. He wrote to Lande, telling a story of how Tiphine came to work for him at Stoney's Restaurant in 1980, in the spot where La Bocca Restaurant & Bar now stands.
"I think it was Pascal's first job in Whistler," wrote Gibbons. "My family and I also had many wonderful evenings at Le Gros with Pascal. We will miss him dearly. I fully support your great idea and would be honoured to say we live on Lac Pascal."
According to Lande's research with the Whistler Museum, Alpha Lake was so named because it is the first in the chain of Whistler's five lakes.
"There's a lot of significance, right, a.k.a. none," joked Lande, adding that he wouldn't want to try and change the name of Alta Lake.
The renaming would also help solve the ongoing confusion between Alpha Lake and Alta Lake.
"It couldn't be a better fit," said Lande. "Cinderella's slipper couldn't fit better than this thing."
Ultimately, at the end of the day, the provincial government controls the naming of lakes and mountains.
Lande will take his petition to council, which then decides about moving the idea forward.
When asked what he thought his dear friend Tiphine would think of his efforts, Lande paused to consider: "When it was over he'd be proud; in the process he'd be shy. If he could look down and see Lac Pascale you'd see the biggest smile."
The online petition can be found at www.ipetitions.com/petition/lac-pascal.
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