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Friends of the Inn: Women of Tofino

In recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8, meet some of the remarkable women of Tofino, all good friends of the Wickaninnish Inn.

Mayor Josie Osborne is a marine biologist who came to Tofino just over 15 years ago to work with local First Nations communities. Like so many, she planned to stay a couple of years and move on. Then she fell in love with “the boy next door” and with Tofino. Now she runs the Tofino Botanical Gardens, and in 2013 was acclaimed the community’s mayor.
Chef Lisa Ahier hails from Texas, but has found her true home in Tofno. In 2003, she and her husband Artie opened SoBo (short for Sophisticated Bohemian), the famous purple truck in the Tofino Botanical Gardens. There they served up fresh, local, sustainable food that earned raves worldwide. Today SoBo has moved to the sleek Conradi Building in downtown Tofino, where the spirit of the purple truck lives on, only this time with terrific margaritas.

Dorothy Baert founded Tofino Sea Kayaking more than 25 years ago. For even longer than that, she has been a passionate guardian of both the environment of Clayoquot Sound and the culture of Tofino. Now she can do even more for the community in her role as city councillor.

Surfer Cath Bruhwiler is that rare creature – a native Tofitian. She grew up here surfing with her brothers Sepp and Raph. Today, she not only teaches surfing, she took the women’s national surf title at the 2013 Rip Curl Pro as well as winning the international all-women’s surf contest, Queen of the Peak. As if that weren’t enough, this young mom is also a certified Crossfit trainer and Paddle Canada SUP (standup paddleboard) instructor.

Canadian surfing champion Jenny Stewart founded Surf Sister Surf School in 1999 to get more women out on the water (and men, too). Today she’s passed the torch to Krissy Montgomery, the current owner and general manager of the “sisterhood.” She leads a team of awe-inspiring women instructors, who’d rather be riding the waves than doing just about anything else.

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