A raucous lunch across the tracks — Don and Isobel revealed 

click to enlarge opinion_altastates1.jpg

Page 2 of 3

And she succeeded beautifully. Don had depictions of his beloved red MG (that they still own!) splashed all over his coffin, while Izzie had painted her trademark flowers all over hers. A riot of colours; a moment of good-humoured fun. This was exactly what the MacLaurins wanted. "She's from Irish stock," says Don. "And my family's from the Scottish Highlands. Both cultures like a good wake. So that's what we decided to do."

Here's how the invitation went: "We will have dinner n' drinkin' n' music and dancin' n' talkin' an' lyin'...and perhaps a wee dram. Hmm...What do you wear to a wake? NOT jeans! ...(it's against Isobel's religion)."

It was quite the scene. A Whistler party, I've heard, like the community hadn't seen in a long time: "It was a wake for the ages," says Arthur De Jong eschewing his usually understated manner. He even allows himself a self-conscious chortle. "I laughed so much that night. I think I had more fun at that wake than anybody rightfully deserves. They're an amazing couple those two..."

And then, of course, there's the near half-century of community service that Don has given to Whistler. Exaggerating again? You decide. Here's an excerpt from a 1973 Whistler Mountain Ski Club newsletter (written, by the way, by Judge Sam Toy):

"I am delighted to announce," starts the letter, "that we are now truly a four seasons club...On July 22nd, Don (MacLaurin) will lead a combined hiking and cairn building outing to Singing Pass...In addition to your personal gratification in (a) getting that far and (b) seeing what you will see by piling a few rocks here and there, you will be making a major contribution to mountain safety (summer and winter) in constructing the odd cairn."

Says Don: "Somebody had to do it. It was really dangerous back then. There was nothing to mark the route along the Musical Bumps. When the weather got nasty, it was really easy to get lost."

What he doesn't mention is the decades of hard work he put in between that initial outing and now, first for Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains and then for the municipality. A forester by trade, Don's tireless trail-building in the valley and local mountains pretty much set the foundation for the outdoor wonderland we have today. Ask anybody: without McLaurin's patient mentoring and critical eye for the 'small stuff' (they don't call him Details Don for nothing), Whistler would simply not be the place we know and love now!

"Bob Dufour was a great ally in those early years," he recounts. "In 1990, he arranged for a meeting between me and Maury Young, Whistler Mountain's owner at the time." He pauses. A smile weaves itself across his gnome's face. "And by golly, Maury was a real enthusiast. That's when we launched an enhancement program on Whistler using and planting native species. It lasted about three to four years...and by the time we were done we had planted thousands of local plants!"


Latest in Alta States

More by Michel Beaudry

© 1994-2019 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation