The Wickaninnish Inn and The Pointe Restaurant | Tofino

Rustic elegance on nature’s edge – local, sustainable, tasty food on Tofino’s rugged west coast

Photo: Scallops Early October Tasting Menu

Photo: Scallops – Early October Tasting Menu

Built upon a family dream and above the craggy coastal shore of Chesterman Beach in Tofino, the Wickaninnish Inn — elegantly accompanied by The Pointe Restaurant — has garnered international acclaim for its sustainable vision and support of local food from the start in 1996. A place of serenity surrounded by wilderness and the rugged sea, the location is steps from the beach and offers unparalleled access to the true nature of Vancouver Island’s west coast. When you dine there, you feel like you are experiencing the majesty of the sea and the bounty of the land.

Twenty-five years in, it is one of Canada’s few Relais & Chateaux destinations, most recently applauded in as both a World’s Best Top 100 Resort by Travel+Leisure and a Top Resort in Canada by Condé Nast Traveler in 2021.

A Tofitian Family Dream

The dream was born nearly half a century earlier, when Charles McDiarmid’s father first moved to the Tofino area in the 1950s and fell in love with the rugged beauty of the peninsula jutting northward from the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Born and raised Tofitian, Charles connected with his father’s dream of starting a world-class luxury inn and it led him to exploring a career as a hotelier. Recruited by the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts to work in various cities across North America, he spent 13 years of mastering his craft before he returned to the Pacific Northwest.

With a firm plan to turn the family dream into reality, his five word vision—“rustic elegance on nature’s edge”—took form, crafted into a 45 guestroom luxury resort in Tofino with an impeccable attention to sustainability—and a restaurant wed to the same principles. The popular inn, set on over 100 acres of oceanfront property, preserves the natural beauty of the site and incorporates natural elements in its design with local cedar, driftwood and stone in the design.

A Vibrant and Venerated Landscape

That philosophy is well fitted to Tofino and its surroundings. Situated within the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, the landscape is both ancient and alive, prized for the profound biodiversity that predominates. From the towering old growth rainforests dripping from above to the quiet inlets and tidal pools eddying along the coastal peninsula, the UNESCO Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region offers an experience to be found nowhere else in Canada.

At the Wickaninnish Inn and Pointe Restaurant, capturing that wild essence and making the experience edible, has been the purpose all along.

Photo: Evaluating the Oceans Bounty

Photo: Evaluating the Ocean’s Bounty

Of Farmers, Fishers and Foragers

Firmly fixed atop a rocky bluff, The Pointe Restaurant team is guided by Executive Chef Carmen Ingham and Restaurant Manager Annette Rawlinson. They are fortunate to have access to some of the world’s freshest ingredients selected from local growers and pickers who harvest sustainably and provide incredible products. The ethos backing those ingredients, shines through in every one of Chef’s dishes, with special attention taken by the kitchen to employ techniques that emphasize the caliber of their super-natural pantry.

From the sturgeon caviar of Northern Divine Aquaculture, bursting with ocean brine to the prime poultry and meats of Yarrow Meadow, Farmcrest Foods, Stillmeadow Farm and greens of the Cowichan Valley, Chef Carmen takes special pride in what their proximity to nature at its rawest has to offer. He also works closely with the Tofino-Ucluelet Culinary Guild—a non-profit organization that connects Vancouver Island farmers, fishermen, foragers and food producers to families, restaurants, groceries and businesses on the West Coast.

For Annette, the relationships that have emerged as a result are emblematic of the philosophy that the McDiarmid family adheres to—one that goes beyond conventional notions of environmental sustainability to include harmony, integration and celebration.

The Pointe of Loving Local

For guests, the inspiration of the kitchen is reflected on the plate. The restaurant has long been regarded the high mark of West Coast cuisine, as reflective to the changing seasons as it is buoyed by the stalwart network of local suppliers. So while the tasting menu changes every 10 days, the goal of the kitchen is unwavering. They proudly merge their skills and passions with the bounty and beauty of where they live to cultivate tastes you might never have known you craved.

Fully committed to farm-fresh, organic and local sources, the end result is an ever-changing mosaic of a menu that is handmade and creative. The sounds of the ocean surf piped in from feet away adds audible allure to the kitchen’s always intriguing offerings.

Photo: General Manager Annette Rawlinson

Photo: General Manager Annette Rawlinson