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Blown Away by Tofino

I can still hear the soothing sound of ocean waves crashing into the rocky shores. We had just bid farewell to the hectic, busy summer when our Honourary Member and General Manager of Wickaninnish Inn, Mr. Charles McDiarmid, welcomed us to his home and resort in Tofino, BC, a town situated on the pristine west coast of Vancouver Island, for the October meeting. Following Chef Concierge Jason McWhinnie's itinerary for the perfect getaway, the Les Clefs d'Or members of British Columbia embarked on an adventure we knew would be filled with stories and discoveries of sight, sound, smell and taste.

The journey began before dawn on a rainy, Friday morning when we boarded the spacious tour bus provided by Landsea Tours. After watching the sky come alive with light on the ferry to Nanaimo, we made our first stop on the island at Coombs, a little, old country market filled with delicious specialty pastries, yummy treats, and goats on their sod roof - literally! It was so great of a lunch spot that we just had to make a stop on the return trip. 

Six hours after we left Vancouver, we arrived at the rustic and elegant Wickaninnish Inn, where we were greeted warmly by Mr. McDiarmid, Mr. McWhinnie and their front line staff as they escorted us into our guest rooms. Each room offered a panoramic view of the ocean or beach and most rooms included a fireplace, soaker tub and individual balcony, making it the perfect hideout for those seeking calmness, tranquility and peacefulness.

During our stay, the concierges got to experience the many wonders of Tofino. From dining in award-winning restaurants, such as the sophisticatedly-relaxed Shelter Restaurant and the stylishly-local SoBo, to finding comfort from the rain at The Pointe Restaurant at the hotel, we were definitely pampered with edible delights. Needless to say, The Pointe Restaurant, which earned six consecutive Gold standings for Best Resort Dining from the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, became the watering hole.

In other activities, we had the chance to participate in their popular winder storm-watching. However, the most memorable event must be the welcome reception at the McDiarmid's family cabin, which served as the inspiration for their 240° ocean-view restaurant. Huddled in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine, we listened to touching stories told by Roy Henry Vickers, the accomplished artist, carver, and sought-after keynote speaker. Roy received much recognition across Canada for being, among many things, the first artist to receive the Annual Honour Roll of Extraordinary Canadian Acheivers, receiver of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, and an integral part for Vancouver's 2010 Olympic Bid. His prints have been presented as gifts to former US president Bill Clinton and Queen Elizabeth II.

Tofino is the perfect escape from the mainland, a place for everyone and anyone to take a step back and slow down, an invitation to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature, and the Wickaninnish Inn embodied just that. Despite the rain, there were still lots of fun activities to do at the hotel. While some preferred staying-in and indulging in a eucalyp-tus steam bath at the Ancient Cedars Spa steam cave or strolling in the rain along their private beach, others chose to face the storm head-on and test the waves by taking surf lessons.

When it was time for us to leave, the sky cleared up and said its goodbye through a pair of magical, double rainbows arched over The Pointe building. Now, to the sounds of wind and rain, I anticipate eagerly for our next visit where I can once again hear the rolling waves lulling me to sleep.  

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