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

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

COVID 19: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, other First Nations mobilize resources

Some Indigenous communities are enacting emergency measures to cope during pandemic

North Island College brings marine training to Port Alberni

Marine Training instructor Captain Harry Johnston joins NIC team

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Most Read