Project captures island beauty
Luxurious Vancouver Island development in whale-watching paradise of Tofino
In the midst of blustery winds and winter snow, Albertans are revving up their affinity for salt-water shores and lush, green, life-filled scenery.
A development in the worldrenowned surfing and whalewatching paradise of Tofino on Vancouver Island is attracting attention.
With a nod to West Coast beach architecture and mixeduse densification, The Shore is rising like the proverbial phoenix from the site of an old fish packing plant on the shores of Clayoquot Sound along the town’s main street.
The project is the brainchild of Calgary architects Walker McKinley and Mark Burkart in conjunction with MOSS Developments.
It is a four-storey, concreteand-steel development consisting of a collection of 24 homes. It offers a mix of two-storey penthouse apartments and one-storey, garden-style homes carved into a sloped shoreline.
The project is set amid the eclecticism of coffee shops and lively restaurants in the town’s core.
Ranging from about 800 to 2,100 square feet, the suites provide ocean views and all the necessities of contemporary living, including a yoga/exercise space, kayak storage and outdoor shower.
After searching for several years, the development team couldn’t initially find anything that fit its mandate. The goal was to create a project with a mixed-use element that created more energy in the downtown core and that benefited the community.
“Instead of going to the beaches and taking virgin forest away, we took the industrial site and densified in the town,” says Burkart.
The genesis of The Shore evolved from a shared love of Vancouver Island, which grew out of experiences such as living on the island and having a deep-seated affinity for its beauty.
When the site came on the market in 2007, they snapped it up.
“The plant had been unused and left to rust for a number of years and it was an eyesore in the town,” recalls Burkart, who grew up on the island.
The first step involved cleaning up the site.
“We took the existing buildings apart and donated the sheet metal to build homes in Guatemala,” says Burkart.
Calgary firm McKinley Burkart drew up the plans, coming up with a design that uses sheaths of glass, along with wood and stone. Every unit has ocean views and large decks.
A green roof blanketed in local grasses and wildflowers tops the concrete structure.
“I’d call the design a modernbeach style of architecture,” says Burkart.
C MVisit our website under the heading, ‘Rec Properties,’ for more photos and stories. Mark Burkart and his family, and Walker McKinley and his family. Background: Burkart and McKinley are part of the development and architectural team behind The Shore. They fell in love with the project and its location. Both have an affinity for Vancouver Island — Mark grew up in Victoria. The Burkarts have two children, ages 11 and 15, who adore Tofino and are avid surfers.
He loved the development so much, he purchased one of the penthouse units with business partner McKinley.
“Our families share it and my kids just adore it,” says Burkart.
“They would rather come here than anywhere else in the world.”
Burkart and his family recently spent Christmas in Tofino.
“We really love to surf and winter is the best time — it’s moist and green and beautiful,” says Burkart, whose children are ages 11 and 15.
His two-storey, two-bedroom penthouse features more than 2,000 square feet of living space. The unit consists of the third and fourth levels of the building, with the bedroom spaces encompassing the main floor and the living spaces the upper storey.
“The upper area is all open, like a big loft, and gets light from three sides,” says McKinley.
Burkart calls the vibe of the interior design and furnishings “surfer chic” — think modern, beachy, natural and elemental.
The home is filled with First Nations art and sculptures, and furnishings are hand-crafted by local artisans. In the dining room, a beautiful harvest table carved from a slab of mahogany takes centre stage.
Above the table is a photo of a horse from Roberto Detesco’s collection, Sable Island Wild Horses.
Perhaps the most stunning aspect of the home is the 800-square-foot deck that overlooks the ocean.
“You can look across at the little islands in the sound; it’s really beautiful,” says Burkart. “We watch the float planes and the orcas come in along the passage in front of us.”
Burkart says he prefers being in the town to on the beach.
“There is always that question of which is better. If you are staying on the beach, you tend to drive into town several times a day — to get coffee, groceries or have dinner. But we just wander out our door, grab a coffee, visit the art galleries; it’s perfect.”
In keeping with the mixed-use theme, The Shore incorporates several businesses at ground level, from a whale watching company to restaurants and clothing stores.
On-site boat slips along the resident’s dock and pier and boat storage are available to owners at The Shore.
Other amenities include underground parking, kayak storage and outdoor showers for removing the salt and sand after a day spent at the beach or enjoying water activities.
The project has an international flair, with buyers from all over the world — everywhere from Dubai and Texas to Alaska, in addition to several buyers from Calgary.
“It’s easy to get here,” says Burkart.
“We’ve got it down to a fine art. If we time it correctly, we can drive here from Calgary in a day.”
The Shore — a development on the main street of Tofino, B.C., on Vancouver Island — has ocean views from every unit and is close to restaurants and surf shops.
The Shore provides views of the ocean through large windows, along with substantial decks for each unit.
The ocean view from the well-lit living area on the upper level.
The front foyer includes a place to store footwear.
A bedroom within a unit.