Much like beauty, art is in the eye of the beholder, and in the case of our longtime guest—Wayne Phillips, and his unique Tofino beach art—it’s an annual pilgrimage and passion.
It all started one day walking on Long Beach, when Wayne noticed rope, buoys, old nets, and marine debris washed up and sticking out of the sand and log crevices. The retired, former high school English/history teacher—turned art teacher—had an idea, and he and his wife, Janelle, started gathering the pieces. Back at the Resort, Wayne began playing with the beachcombing treasures they’d collected, and using driftwood as a frame for hanging, his vision for “Beach Art” was born.
Hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the Phillips have been guests at Pacific Sands for going on 20 years.
“We like to come for a month each year,” declared Wayne. “Many happy hours have been spent watching high tide waves wash up the surge channel right out front in Cox Bay. We also like to explore Long Beach, Chesterman, Mackenzie, and Wickaninnish Beach, as well as Schooner Cove and Florencia Bay.
“We’ve found everything from old, rusty crab traps to styrofoam floats, but one of the coolest things was a fishing net here in Cox Bay. And then a bright pink net on Wickaninnish Beach.
“Besides enjoying being by the ocean and the fun of making Beach Art, we’re food fanatics and Tofino’s restaurants are fantastic. We especially love getting to know the locals. Many of the staff here at Pacific Sands have pieces I’ve made, and Chocolate Tofino has a couple of cool ones hanging outside.”
“The Man with the Box Cutter”
Wayne now brings heavy duty rubber gloves and vinyl bags for gathering. He occasionally uses pliers and a small knife to undo ropes, but he’s affectionately known as “The Man with the Box Cutter” by our Maintenance Team, as he often finds ropes so big, he needs to call on them for heftier tools. Case in point, one time on Wickaninnish Beach, he found a tugboat rope about 200-feet long, buried in the sand and under logs. It was as big as his thigh.
Last year, the Phillips ran into a group of local high school students and teachers cleaning up the beach. They gave Wayne and Janelle everything they had collected.
“That was great!” laughed Wayne. “Because the locals and surfers are doing such a great job looking after the beaches, we’re finding it harder to find materials. Although, you wouldn’t believe the huge rope knot we found off Long Beach! Still need to figure out a wagon or something to get it, but the amazing thing here is the beach is always changing. You just never know what you’ll find.”
And like beachcombing recyclers with a well-oiled system, the Phillips don’t just pick up the pretty stuff for art, they grab garbage that washes up; sorting and discarding those items into our onsite recycling bins.
From the beach to the kitchen
While we look forward to seeing Wayne and Janelle each year, we can always enjoy a fix of Wayne’s delightful personality in Outdoor Canada Magazine and Pennsylvania Angler & Boater Magazine, where he publishes his tried, tested and true recipes.
Yes, Wayne’s world is made up of quite an entertaining blend of talents!
Watch for more GUEST STARS posts, where we profile special guests we’ve gotten to know over the years, and the interesting stories they have to tell.