A popular tourist resort in Tofino, B.C., co-owned by former NHL player Willie Mitchell, says it is operating under an interim manager after “highly inappropriate behaviour” came to light during its annual fishing tournament.
The details of the alleged behaviour are still unclear, but the Tofino Resort and Marina says it has cancelled the remainder of the Race for the Blue tournament, which was scheduled to run from Sept. 9 to Sept. 17.
It is not clear yet whether the behaviour involved Mitchell or other resort leadership.
In a brief statement published on the tournament website, the resort says it is continuing “to take steps to ensure the absolute safety and well-being of our team.”
“We were extremely upset to hear about highly inappropriate behaviour connected to one of our annual events,” the resort said. “Our first concern is for our staff, and we are responding to the needs of those affected.”
The 1909 Kitchen and Bar, which is attached to the resort, announced on its Instagram page that it will be closed until Sunday morning.
Ollie Happyness, a member of the band Downtown Mischief, was playing at 1909 on Sunday evening when, he says, the band was asked to end the show due to a staff issue.
He says the band was scheduled to play until midnight, but performed a few extra encores for the crowd.
“At about 12:30 [a.m.] after our third encore is when the promoter came up and said, ‘I’d love for you guys to keep playing, and usually it’s totally cool, but there’s been an issue going on with some staff members and we need to shut this place down right now and get everyone out of here,'” he recalled.
Happyness told CTV News that some people left the bar, while others remained outside for about an hour chatting.
There didn’t seem to be much conversation about inappropriate behaviour that night, Happyness says, but the next morning he says he did hear that something occurred between resort management and staff – though he’s unaware of specifics.
Another musician, Sarah Osborne, was scheduled to play at the resort the next day, but Happyness says her performance was cancelled.
Osborne told Happyness that her show was cancelled “because none of the staff showed up in protest because of the incidents that happened,” he says.
Spokespersons for the Tofino RCMP and the Island District RCMP declined to comment on the allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
Staff at the Tofino Resort and Marina also declined to discuss the allegations.
The Race for the Blue tuna derby is advertised as the “most exciting bluewater adventure experience in the Pacific Northwest,” with a focus on Pacific albacore tuna.