Pacific Sands Beach Resort Tofino – A Family Legacy

This is the remarkable story of the Pettinger Family, how Pacific Sands Beach Resort Tofino became part of their family legacy and by extension, the legacy of so many other families.

It began in Edmonton, Alberta where from service station owner to farm manager, Bill Pettinger was many things but above all else, he was a visionary and a risk taker.  Bill loved the land and had a keen interest in real estate development.

After a couple of successful real estate projects in Edmonton and the Cobble Hill area of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Bill and his wife Joan were looking around Victoria for a motel investment in the fall of 1972 when Bill’s brother Barry called about a “For Sale by Owner” advertisement in the Edmonton Journal. The ad was for a motel in Tofino, British Columbia – at the time, a remote little-known area on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Love at first sight

It took them 6 hair-raising hours to drive there (now 4) but it did not take Bill and Joan long to see that the Pacific Paradise Motel nestled in breathtaking Cox Bay was a very special opportunity.

They saw the vision, bought the motel and the rest is – as they say – history. Bill and Barry formed Pettinger Brothers Holdings and renamed the property Pacific Sands Beach Resort. While Bill and Joan looked after the Cobble Hill project, Barry and his wife June moved their family and dreams from Edmonton to Cox Bay to manage the Tofino resort which at the time, consisted of 5 cottages, a three storey lodge with 12 units and an office and laundry room.

In 1980, Bill and Joan moved to Tofino, purchasing 100% interest of the resort in 1987. They handed the management reins to son Dave, who over the years, expanded Pacific Sands Beach Resort Tofino to 77 beach houses and suites.

New perspective

And then in February 2015 - after almost 42 years of friends, family and legendary stories - the Pettingers passed ownership to Gordon Nelson Inc., another family-run resort operator with a passion for Tofino, including nearby Ocean Village.

With a vision for 'staged development' that embraces Pacific Sand's unique setting, the expanded new team looks forward to carrying on the legacy, meeting the Resort's many loyal guests, and creating generations of new stories.

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