By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: Once in Vancouver, we'd be interested in spending a few days on Vancouver Island. But is it really worth going there in the winter? My wife has never been.

A: During the winter months, one of the favorite past times on Vancouver island's west coast is storm watching. It's become so popular that some destinations have even started to brand themselves with this theme. One such resort that promises rustic elegance in the midst of rugged scenery is the Wickaninnish Inn.

Situated on the cusp of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, the McDiarmid family has created an oceanic paradise on the edge of Canada's most westerly point. Located a few miles south from Tofino along the secluded Chesterman Beach, the "Wick" as the locals like to call it is where you can curl up in a thick terry white bathrobe as the effluent warmth from your gas fireplace keeps you toasty while you sit mesmerized, watching the natural drama unfold outside. Or sip on a glass of B.C.'s finest wines as you dip in your very own Jacuzzi, candles casting flickering shadows that add to the changing mood of Mother Nature.

On my last visit here, I was completely dazzled with the cuisine. The Wick's Executive Chef insisted I accompany him to meet his crabber who gave us some snappy Dungeness crabs and loads of crayfish. It was also at the Pointe Restaurant where I sampled wild salmon and Ucluelet Goat Cheese Ravioli, truly a taste-bud piece de resistance.

For reservations or more information, visit or call 1.800.333.4604.


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All text & photos 2004.