"Thus began a friendship that was just a joy for 25 years"
- Dr. Howard McDiarmid
In the late 70's, with the help of a local Tofino contractor Don McGinnis and carver Henry Nolla, the McDiarmid family began construction on their cabin at the north end of Shell Beach. Over the building phase, Dr. McDiarmid developed a deep respect and trust for Henry, and invited him to build his own place on the McDiarmid property in exchange for playing a part as custodian and protector of the cabin.
Over the years, Henry became a mentor to a community of West Coast wood carvers. In fact, his work can be seen throughout Tofino at the Common Loaf Bake Shop, the Village Green and most prominently, as the face of Roy Henry Vickers' Eagle Aerie Gallery. In his Carving Shed and on Chesterman Beach, using tools he designed himself, he completed much of the adze work found throughout the Wickaninnish Inn, from our yellow cedar welcoming doors, throughout beam and detail work in all public spaces, and the fireplace mantles found in each guest room.
Though Henry passed in 2004, his legacy continues in the hub of activity at his carving shed right by the Inn's Beach Building as well as the small Henry Nolla Art Gallery off the Driftwood Café. On your next walk down Chesterman Beach, if you see the yellow sign up or door open in front of the shed, pop in and see the latest works from those who learned from and worked alongside Henry, such as "Feather" George Yearsley and Lyne des Rosiers.