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

FortisBC offers 90-day bill deferrals to customers impacted by COVID-19

Customers can apply for the relief program through the utility’s website

Kootenay Boundary doctor offices open, call first

Viral transmission precautions in place

Trail residents asked to postpone parades

Trail Mayor makes Facebook plea to stop the ‘self-distancing parades’

A message to Trail Times subscribers

Thank you and we appreciate your support during this unprecedented time in history.

Last call for Trail-Warfield Citizen of the Year nods

Submissions should be forwarded by email

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

Most Read