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Adding a Festive Flair: Camilla Thorogood, Inn Volunteer

Walk into the Inn at this time of year and you will be greeted by the fragrant evergreen boughs and twinkling lights of a magical holiday destination by the sea. For all this seasonal beauty, you can thank Camilla Thorogood, the Inn Volunteer and Décor Guru.

Camilla first moved to Tofino 23 years ago when her RCMP officer husband was stationed here. They were eventually relocated, but moved back in 1993 to spend their golden years with friends like Charles’s parents, Howie and Lynn McDiarmid. “I love the sense of community in Tofino,” Camilla says. “The people of Tofino brought me and my husband back and that is why we stay.”

Even though the Thorogoods came back to Tofino to “retire,” Camilla is a woman who doesn’t know the meaning of the word. Not only does she volunteer for the community’s hospice and animal rescue projects, but after a few years of running a B&B, in 2001 she opened Crab Apple Flower Shop. As owner, she provided flower arrangements for the Inn and developed its signature style using indigenous plants and flowers. When she sold the business a few years ago, Charles asked Camilla if she would be the Inn’s official volunteer. Recently, she was honoured with a new title, and now her business cards read “Décor Guru for the Wickaninnish Inn.”

Throughout the year, she decorates the Inn for events and private functions and creates the displays in the Gift Gallery and guestrooms. But it is at Christmas that she truly comes into her element. Not only does Camilla decorate the Inn and all the trees in the guestrooms, she also creates the ornaments from original designs and teaches the staff how to assemble them. She loves volunteering at the Inn, especially at this time of year, she says, adding, “I feel like the people who work there are all my kids.”

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