clayoquot crafts in tofino

Clayoquot Crafts in Tofino: Doing more with less…

by Alex Nicolic, Tofino


He has seen a few changes over the past thirty-five years. He has seen Tofino transform from what was once a sleepy fishing village to the magnetic sea-side resort it is now. And Daniel Lamarche has evolved alongside the town, adjusting to the economic and environmental shifts facing one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

Originally from Quebec, he spent over five years exploring Europe and South America before travelling across Canada, eventually ending up at the end of the road here in Tofino. After twenty-five years working in the fishing industry, cutting cedar shake-blocks in a saw-mill, and building houses, Daniel opened Clayoquot Crafts in 1993 - a pivotal year for western Vancouver Island's forestry industry.

He had always wanted to work more with cedar and to create a finished product. So, for ten years prior to launching his enterprise, he collected un-saleable cedar and turned it into furniture. What started as a hobby turned into one of the most unique, creative and practical businesses in the area.

Since his first years in Tofino, Daniel understood the importance of keeping local wood in the area, and worked toward creating a value-added industry. As the director for value-added businesses he organized presentations and sought partners for the Long Beach Model Forest. Until five years ago, he was the president of the Value-Added Wood Industry Association.

He maintains that a sustainable forestry industry is impossible without local involvement, and value-added products are the best way to get involved locally as the practice generates more jobs and cuts fewer trees. "It's a good way to go green," says Daniel, citing the environmental component of the industry.
Indeed, wood furniture is superior to plastic in every way. It is more durable and the production process requires less chemicals. And, where plastic furniture ends up in the landfill forever, wood furniture decomposes when discarded at the end of its usefulness.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to create a value-added industry when faced with the competition of overseas labour markets. Access to local timber is also a major problem as many logging companies prefer the economies of scale provided by larger customers. Hence, Daniel sources much of his raw materials from a saw-mill that salvages blow-down cedars beachcombed in Bedwell Sound. In fact, much of his wood is cut from imperfect boards the mill is unable to sell.

During Clayoquot Craft's infancy, Daniel supplied furniture for local Bed & Breakfasts and hosted shows in town where he would invite the local resorts. As the resorts began to recognize the quality of his products, they gave his business a boost by furnishing their properties with his work. This also provided exposure to the tourist market.

Today, with the downturn in the US housing market, most of his pieces are shipped overseas to Europe and Australia as kits. Nonetheless, much of his work still ends up south of the border and can be found overlooking beautiful vistas across Canada.
What started as a home-based business on Chesterman Beach has now grown to require a larger space in the big red building on Industrial Way, where it has been operating for the past six months. Just look for the patio display. Daniel's wife, Barbara, has always handled the office and paperwork, and the business now also employs an assistant craftsperson, Bruce.

Daniel hopes to expand his enterprise to employ up to ten people. He would like to provide work for even more locals, if greater access to and availability of local wood presents itself.
Daniel's creations can be found at many local resorts. He has done over 200 pieces for the Wickaninnish Inn, Middle Beach Lodge is extensively furnished with his products, and Long Beach Lodge is also home to much of his merchandise.
With no retail outlet, the bulk of his orders are done over the internet. Still, he is seeing an increase in traffic through his studio lately as people looking to enhance their surroundings with decorative furniture come to order pieces directly from the source, and see sustainability in action.

Clayoquot Crafts

Handcrafted Furniture
Unit 6, 671 Industrial Way, Tofino
1-877-522-3327 • (250)725-3990

Alex Nikolic is a contributor to a number of BC publications. He can be contacted at

Tofino Time April 2008

tofino | tofino time | activities | accommodation | events | directory
maps | travel | food | art & artists | photos | horoscope | tides
search | magazine | issues | articles | advertising | contact us

hosted in tofino by & studio tofino
© 2002-2014 copyright Tofino Time Magazine in Tofino Canada
© 2002-2011 Tofino Time Magazine & ThinkTank Design Inc.

tofino time april 2008

quick links:
tofino accomodations
tofino calendar

tofino surf report
tofino horoscope
september horoscope
tofino map
tofino fishing report
tofino tides
tofino weddings

tofino events:
tofino concerts
tofino events
tofino movies
tofino festivals
tofino yoga classes

tofino time magazine:
tofino time september 2012
captain vincente tofino
readers choice: the best of tofino
floating gardens at freedom cove
tofino event listings for september 2012
tofino concerts in september 2012
tofino movies in september 2012
tofino tide table for september 2012
tofino surf reports for september 2012
cox bay | wickaninnish beach
chesterman beach
tonquin beach
tofino brewing co.
horoscope for april 2013
tofino wedding guide

tofino accommodation:
tofino cabin
tofino camping
bed & breakfasts in Tofino
tofino hostels
tofino motels
tofino hotels
tofino vacation rentals
petfriendly accommodation

tofino bike rentals
tofino bear watching
tofino bird watching
tofino boat charters & cruises
tofino fishing
hot springs cove
sea kayaking in tofino
tofino storm watching
tofino surfing
tofino whale watching
tofino yoga

tofino art galleries
tofino books
tofino boutiques & gift shops
food stores in tofino
tofino outfitters

tofino yoga, spa & wellness
tofino restaurants
tofino internet cafes
tofino travel & transportation
tofino real estate
tofino vacation rentals
tofino weddings

tofino events
tofino concerts
tofino movies
tofino calendar
tofino cabins
tofino maps
tofino jobs
tofino media