John "Rabbit" Hare epitomized the ski bum
Hanging on a dark hallway wall on the way into the Dubh Linn Gate theres a picture of a man kissing the famed Irish Blarney Stone.
Thats Whistlers 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, Whistlers 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 Piques annual peoples 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 its party time, its 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.
"Lets 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."
Thats 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, hed 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 Hudsons Bay Company while living in Vancouver, by English Bay.