Bear Foot gives boot to lions, tigers 

Restaurant pressured to cancel exotic animal entertainment at Cornucopia rave

The tigers have turned tail and will not appear at Friday’s MasquerRave at the Bear Foot Bistro.

The change came after the restaurant’s Andre St. Jacques began to get complaints from both far and wide about having live exotic animals appear as part of the entertainment for his late-night event.

On Wednesday the Vancouver media arrived in droves to follow the story and radio stations as far away as California were tracking it.

"My party is about ruffling feathers, but not in a bad way so obviously I cancelled the tigers and lions," said St. Jacques. "This is about having a celebration and the animals were a very small component of the party."

St. Jacques said he is sad that the animals won’t be part of the extravaganza, which will see 2,000 people enjoy $300,000 worth of fine wines, champagnes and other beverages as part of the Cornucopia event.

But he said: "The resort was starting to get a rap for this and I didn’t want that. It is sad because I thought this would have been great."

The MasquerRave will take over Buffalo Bills and Ric’s Grill this year and offer Cirque Phoenix performances in a grand tent as well. Three bands will also perform and a myriad of airbrush painted naked models will also appear throughout the venue.

Sylvia Dolson, executive director, of the Get Bear Smart Society, was very concerned when she heard that live tigers and lions would be part of the event. She e-mailed St. Jacques to outline her concerns. She also e-mailed others in the community, including WAG and AWARE and encouraged people to contact the restaurant, mayor and council, provincial politicians and anyone else who could be prevailed upon to stop the big cat performances.

"This is not normally within our mandate," said Dolson. "But it came right to our doorstep so I felt I needed to do something.

"It’s like we are becoming Las Vegas north here. This isn’t aligned with community values. This isn’t what Whistler stands for. Whistler stands for wilderness and a nice environment to live in.

"I am speechless that was even going on."

The BearFoot Bistro is also sponsoring a fundraising event for the Whistler Gymnastic Club with Cirque Phoenix this Saturday. That event is still going ahead, but also without the exotic animal portion.

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