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

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Skeena Bulkley Valley MP calling for halt on sport fishing licenses to out-of-province fishers

Bachrach and Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns co-signed the letter to the Minister of Fisheries

Bella Coola Heli Sports closed, says no confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in their operation

The company has committed to informing the community if a case is reported

COVID-19 case confirmed at Subway restaurant in Cache Creek

Customers who visited the site from March 25 to 27 are asked to self-isolate

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

How to cope with your mental health during a global pandemic

Becca Shears, clinical counsellor in Vanderhoof speaks about ways to deal with stress and anxiety during this time.

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Most Read