The 2020 Tofino Food and Wine Festival has been cancelled. (Photo - Tofino Food and Wine Festival Facebook)

The 2020 Tofino Food and Wine Festival has been cancelled. (Photo - Tofino Food and Wine Festival Facebook)

B.C. liquor branch blamed for cancellation of popular Tofino food and wine fest

Organizers held the 17th annual Tofino Food and Wine Festival in June 2019

Organizers of the West Coast’s popular Tofino Food and Wine Festival say the event will not be held next year because of fractured relationship with B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.

“To the many patrons, artists, musicians, winemakers, chefs, suppliers, organizers, sponsors and volunteers who have been our partners these many years, we extend our deepest and heartfelt thanks and regrets,” read a statement on the event’s website Oct. 4.

“These events have all been happy, convivial afternoons of celebrating our great B.C. wineries, craft brewers, distillers and the culinary excellence of B.C.’s restaurant industry.”

Organizers blamed a “terribly ruptured relationship” with the agency that issues liquor licences in B.C., saying their positive relationship with the branch this year suddenly.

“Our experience was the opposite; obstructive, hostile, intimidating and rude. We felt like an opponent.”

It suggests this year, organizers navigated the permit requirements only to receive one just two weeks before the event, leading to “a great deal of anxiety, stress and pressure for the producers and directors.”

READ MORE: Allow bars, restaurants to sell alcohol for offsite drinking, industry group says

ALSO READ: Licence issue delays boozing while cruising on BC Ferries

This year’s event, held in June, was a success, but the organization said it is not confident it will get a permit for 2020 and does not want to risk the disappointment or stress.

Andrea McQuade, a district councillor and co-owner of festival contributor Kuma Restaurant, said the cancellation was unexpected and unfortunate, and touted the event as a “linchpin” of the local culinary scene.

“To have everyone come to Tofino, a relatively small place – it gives us a boost in morale, it gives us a boost in tourism and it gives locals and tourists alike a really great time,” McQuade said, adding she hopes the event will return in 2021.

The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch has not yet returned a request for comment.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sipili Molia, regional kettle manager, shows off the Salvation Army’s new contactless donation system for the 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria raises record-breaking $350,000 for Salvation Army

The charity says it’s seen an increase in need since COVID-19 hit

Forty-two residential properties in Oak Bay were assessed the speculation and vacancy tax in 2019 for a total of $693,000. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
74 Oak Bay property owners paid $693,000 in spec tax

42 properties were assessed with the SVT in 2019

Staff at Artemis Place Secondary were shocked to find that one of the student-built greenhouses on the campus was stolen overnight on Jan. 11. (Artemis Place Society/Facebook)
Saanich school hopes to catch greenhouse thief red-handed

Student-built greenhouses stolen from Artemis Place Secondary on Jan. 11

The intersection of Highway 14 and Grant Road was closed after Tuesday night’s windstorm. (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke makes progress on storm cleanup

Crews clear tons of debris from fallen trees to rocks

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said a lack of experienced crew members and the inability to detect navigational errors is what led to a Sooke search and rescue boat running aground in February 2019. (Twitter / @VicJRCC_CCCOS)
TSB: Sooke search and rescue boat crash caused by ‘misinterpretation of navigational information’

Crew members were lacking experience and unable to detect navigational errors

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

(Black Press Media file photo)
From arts to environment, nominate your West Shore hero

Nominations for the Goldstream Gazette’s Local Hero awards are open to Jan. 15

Forest ecologist Andy MacKinnon is the guest speaker at the Jan. 27 meeting of the Sooke Garden Club. (Contributed)
SOOKE GARDEN CLUB: Fabulous plants and their fungal friends

Fungi expert Andy MacKinnon is the guest speaker at the next Sooke Garden Club meeting

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring has expressed his frustration with harassment of people who have made racist comments online about Cowichan Tribes in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak in the First Nation. (Citizen file)
Island mayor calls for de-escalation as social media gets uglier in racism fight

“Racism is wrong. But so is this kind of reaction”:

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Most Read