THE ADVOCATE 565
VOL. 79 PART 4 JULY 2021
much—about politics, whether local, provincial, federal or the politics of
our neighbour to the south. He cared for his colleagues and was generous
with his time and talents in that regard, particularly with young associates
and students. He was both a mentor and friend to many, and I was particularly
privileged to count Walter as a mentor when I was young, and a friend
when I was not so young.
Walter was generous with his advice but only to those who wanted to hear
it. His advice was sage to a young lawyer getting ready for trial: “Stop running
around like a chicken with its head cut off; being headless won’t
impress the judge” or “Stick to your three best arguments; judges can’t count
much beyond that.” But his advice was not limited to just legal issues. Walter
knew all the best cafes and eateries in Vancouver, in the South Okanagan,
and up and down the West Coast, and he was always game to invite you
to drink or to partake in a meal with him and Sara at one of his new finds.
He was drinking cappuccinos at Caffè Artigiano before even the Piccolo
brothers knew they had a hit. He could lead you to the best spot in Napa as
well as the coolest cafe in Bellingham. In fact, he got his NEXUS pass just
so he could zip across the border for such purposes (it seems now the border
guards take less kindly to not checking in). On one work-related road trip,
I was ordered to make a sudden stop in Greenwood, because it would have
been “wrong” not to visit the best bakery between Vancouver and Calgary.
Michelin stars as well as diners, drive-ins and dives were all in his sweet
spot. When dining out with Walter, all you had to say to the server was “I’ll
have whatever he’s having” and you could usually get pretty close to a When
Harry Met Sally moment.
Walter had eclectic tastes: for music—sometimes Leonard Cohen, sometimes
Eminem; for news—sometimes The New York Times, sometimes The
Province. Walter liked good theatre. Conversely, he did not like bad theatre
and was not shy about walking out at intermission if the performance was
subpar. Walter was also a great traveller. In his early years, he went on an
epic adventure with a few of his university buddies to Africa, where they
spent part of the year traversing the continent from Tangiers to Cape Town.
In later life, he and Sara had their own epic adventures, travelling to Israel
and then to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and more sedate adventures in
France and Italy. He liked exploring the U.S. Pacific Northwest with his son.
But he also liked relaxing in the surf of Maui. This is all to say that Walter
was hard to pin down—he knew what he liked and was happy to plot his
course to his liking, regardless of what others might think.
Walter took me under his wing 30 years ago. We “did coffee” at one of Walter’s
special places pretty much every workday from the day we arrived at