The Wickaninnish Inn story began in January 1955 when Dr. Howard McDiarmid first moved to Tofino and assumed responsibility for the Tofino General Hospital . Over the years, he recognized the unique nature of the area and was instrumental in the creation of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in 1971.
The establishment of the national park eventually resulted in the conversion of the original Wickaninnish Inn to today's marine interpretive centre. The Inn 's closure sparked Howard's vision to someday recreate its rustic elegance in a modern hotel context.
Inspired by their parents' foresight, the McDiarmid family joined with a group of long-time Tofino residents to make the vision a reality. The vision was realized in August of 1996 with the opening of the new Wickaninnish Inn and The Pointe Restaurant . The natural appeal of Tofino as a destination and the quality experience provided by the Inn brought a steady growth in Canadian and international visitors, particularly after the opening of Ancient Cedars Spa in 1998.
2001 marked the year that the Inn became a true family-owned business, with the McDiarmids purchasing full ownership. To fulfill its long-term plans and meet growing demand, the Inn added its 'On-the-Beach' building in July 2003. Major features of this beautiful addition include a hotel lobby with sweeping views down Chesterman Beach through 20-foot tall windows, a spacious mezzanine-level Lookout Library area, fully equipped boardroom, a comfortable fireplace-warmed room called the Driftwood Café and a Fitness Room with beach views.
Any mention of art at the Wickaninnish Inn must begin with Henry Nolla. Nolla lived for over twenty years on the land adjacent to where the Inn now sits. His work is intrinsic to the character and history of this retreat, first evident in the hand-adzed cedar entranceways and carved entry doors.
Maxwell Newhouse, another BC artisan, is known for his sinuous driftwood furniture. In the foyer, one of his masterpieces takes the form of a large coffee table, a three-dimensional sculpture of weathered driftwood and Japanese glass fishing floats. No room at the Inn is left untouched by his hand. Each guestroom has a signature handmade driftwood chair nestled beside the desk. These and many other local artists and artisans are integral to the overall look, feel and character of the Inn.
The vision of a new hotel on Tofino's Chesterman Beach began with a desire to reflect the essence of this rugged, wild and untamed destination in combination with the ultimate in modern creature comforts-all without making a huge impact on the environment. Architecturally, the Inn has succeeded in defining an archetypal North West Coast style, utilizing the natural elements of cedar, fir, driftwood, and stone, together with expansive windows inviting the awe-inspiring ocean vistas. The Inn truly embodies its commitment to Rustic Elegance on Nature's Edge.