The growing impatience was palpable in Village Square as the afternoon sun set, casting a growing Saturday afternoon shadow across the square. At 4:10 p.m. the planned flash mob, anticipated by the hundreds of people gathered around the edges of Village Square, was running about 10 minutes behind schedule.
Then, without notice, the sound of clapping hands at the start of the song On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons started to fill the square as Vibe Dance Centre performers moved in synchronized rhythm at the centre of the square. Just a few at first, then more joined in.
Sofie Obermuller, in Whistler with her boyfriend to work for the season, stood on the rock step just outside Moguls Coffee House with no clue that in just a few minutes all eyes would swivel from the growing group of dancers and focus on her.
"Proposing to Sophie has always been a matter of when — not if," said Jared Lekkas before the start of the flash mob on March 22. "We are in a secure relationship and we feel comfortable with each other."
Over the course of the last four years Obermuller and Lekkas came to agree that marriage was in their future. In 2010 the pair met at a hostel in Australia while both were travelling. According to Lekkas, they saw each other daily after first meeting. He was clear there was something special between them.
Their special connection reached a new level as Village Square became a sea of dancers moving as one under a brilliant blue sky in the brisk early-spring air.
Lekkas snuck his way into the centre of the flash mob, which had been rehearsing for days, wearing a lion outfit as the song Can You Feel the Love Tonight? from the Lion King movie took centre stage. As the music faded and all the dancers crouched down, Lekkas stood up and began walking toward Obermuller.
She turned to a friend and pointed out that her boyfriend was part of the flash mob, and wondered why he didn't include her in the event.
"Just when he started to walk towards me, that's when I thought I was a big part of this," Obermuller said after the dancing, hugging, kissing, hand shaking and congratulating in Village Square had ended.
"It went very quick — everything went very fast," said Lekkas. "It was quite funny watching her. I could read her lips and she went, 'Oh, Jared!' And, then she realized."
On bended knee in the square, Lekkas produced a ring box. He opened it. Looking up from the ring to Obermuller, he didn't have to say a word. She said yes to him and leaned over to kiss her new fiancé. The crowd gathered around the pair cheering as confused onlookers, who had no idea what was happening, instantly understood.
Both had seen the Lion King musical recently and loved the themes. They plan to buy a car at the end of April, so they can travel for a few months around Canada and the U.S.
Lekkas said Australia is their next stop and from there they will figure out their next chapter together. Hakuna Matata!