Whistler’s favourite resident passes away 

John "Rabbit" Hare
  • John "Rabbit" Hare

John "Rabbit" Hare epitomized the ski bum

Hanging on a dark hallway wall on the way into the Dubh Linn Gate there’s a picture of a man kissing the famed Irish Blarney Stone.

That’s Whistler’s own John Albert Hare smooching the slab of rock.

And while rumour has it that kissing the Blarney Stone gives you the gift of the gab, it may have brought Hare untold luck.

"He was a rabbit," said his old friend Guitar Doug.

"He had the luckiest of lives."

John Albert Hare, Whistler’s favourite local who was better known around town as Rabbit, passed away Saturday, Dec. 7 at his "Cottage in the Pines." He was 70 years old.

Rabbit was the quintessential Whistler of old. He was one of the original ski bums, which is perhaps why he was routinely voted as Favourite Whistlerite in the Pique’s annual people’s choice poll. He topped the list again this year.

"He harkens back to the more simpler times of Whistler," said Dave Kirk, his former employer at SportStop.

"He represents a simplicity, an honesty, and almost a touch of debonair because he was polite. But he also represents the Wild West spirit. No holes barred. When it’s party time, it’s party time until you fall down."

That Rabbit loved to party was no secret. His picture hangs in some of his more familiar haunts, like the Dubh Linn Gate and the Boot.

"Let’s just say that Rabbit and I used to love to have a good time," said Guitar Doug, who was weary about going into too much detail about their past escapades together.

He did say they used to love dancing at the Boot.

Rabbit also had a VIP card at the Dubh Linn Gate, where he would pop in for a Guinness regularly – a place where he rarely paid for a drink.

"He epitomized the ski bum," said Paul Cosgrove, manager at the Dubh Linn Gate, who poured Rabbit drinks during the past five years.

"He lived it to the fullest."

That’s the last place Doug remembers seeing Rabbit, on the day George Harrison died, when Doug played him a few old Harrison songs.

"Rabbit was a gentle soul and he could always make you smile, he’d just twinkle his eyes," said Doug.

Rabbit was born in Portsmouth, England in 1932.

As a young man he spent time sailing around Europe and to the Caribbean. He eventually settled in Canada in his early 20s and ended up selling suits at the Hudson’s Bay Company while living in Vancouver, by English Bay.

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