Nuu-chah-nulth art the jewel in resort’s crown

Ha-Shilth-Sa, September 13, 2007

Willie ‘Buddy’ George works on a headdress that will be mounted atop pillers at the entrance to the Tin Wis Resort.

Tofino — 

With tourist season gearing down following a busy summer, Tin Wis Resort will kick into high gear with new construction and extensive renovations. Marketing Consultant Noni Bruyere said the hotel rooms are old and tired and will undergo renovations starting this fall.

“All the carpets will be changed to black and red in keeping with the Tin Wis serpent logo,” she said.

Hesquiaht artists Patrick Amos and Willie (Buddy) George have been working on site in the carving shed across the parking lot from the lobby. They’ve carved massive serpent headdresses adorned with copper that will be placed atop the cedar pillars at the entrance to the lobby.

Bruyere was hired during the summer to put together a sales and marketing plan for the First Nations-owned resort. She said she had something in mind immediately, but after spending more time at the resort found herself modifying her plan in order to infuse more First Nations culture.

In mid-September Amos began stenciling and painting serpent bodies entwined around two of the cedar pillars at Tin Wis’ lobby. The headdresses will be placed atop the poles by the end of September and room renovations are scheduled to begin in November.

Patrick Amos prints will also be featured throughout the resort.

Management is working hard on attracting business with the new features. In September, the Lelala Dancers were invited for a performance held at the Tin Wis Conference Centre. The 150 guests finished the evening with a salmon barbeque. Bruyere said plans are in the works to make this an annual event.

The new features are planned with culture and wellness as the focus. They are designed not only for the guests at the resort, but also as a way to reach out to the local communities, morning yoga classes on the beach started in September and is open to everyone for a small fee.

Tin Wis management has a proven track record of employing and training First Nations people at all levels in the hospitality industry.

“We give First Nations the first opportunity for job openings,” said Noni, adding that manager George Atleo has a passion for helping First Nations people advance in the hospitality industry. “He is hoping to offer training to help young people advance, not only at Tin Wis Resort, but also at other hotels they may choose to work in,” she said.

In keeping with their support of First Nations people and business, the Tin Wis Web site contains a list of their First Nations suppliers and also features the work that local artisans have for sale.

Besides gourmet cuisine by Chef Margo, Calm Waters Restaurant also features local art, breathtaking views of the beach and friendly staff who are predominantly First Nations. They are proud of their signature coffees, like Opitsaht medium roast and Tin Wis decaf, which are also offered in the hotel rooms.

Construction on the new staff housing and laundry facility continues to move at a fast pace and is scheduled to be complete by the end of October.

By Denise Titian