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Iconic Vancouver Island artist Roy Henry Vickers selling Tofino gallery

Gallery has been a fixture in Tofino area since 1986, artist plans to explore Europe
Roy Henry Vickers and B.C.’s Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport Lana Popham share a happy-teared embrace during a ceremony held at Vickers’ gallery in Tofino to celebrate his new role as the BC Arts Council’s inaugural Elder-in-Residence on March 27. (Andrew Bailey photo)

One of the West Coast’s most prominent artists and storytellers is moving on, but Tofino will continue riding the phenomenal wave created by his exceptional inspiration.

Roy Henry Vickers is selling his iconic art gallery in Tofino and plans to spend some time traveling.

“I’m going to be doing a lot more traveling. The art gallery is up for sale and the business. I want to travel Europe where my mother’s people are from and get in touch with Indigenous people from those countries where I have DNA,” Vickers told the Westerly News.

The gallery, located at 350 Campbell Street, is listed for $4.45 million on

“I realized the value of this piece of land and this gallery and how a sale of the business would allow me to be nothing but an artist who travels and meets people and is inspired to do his artwork,” he said. “I leave behind my stories and hopefully a love of the land and the people.”

The gallery has been a prominent fixture in Tofino since 1986 and Vickers said the community has been equally prominent in his heart.

“I came to Tofino as a frustrated artist who wanted people to hear the stories, not just see my art and to listen to the stories, not just look at my artwork and that wasn’t happening so I quit and I went fishing,” he said, adding he and his brother fished the West Coast together.

“At the end of September, 1980, I settled into Tofino not knowing I was going to be here for so many years and everything changed. My life changed. I opened a little gallery above the Schooner Restaurant and then purchased this piece of property and built this gallery in 1986. We opened on April Fools Day in the morning and it changed my life completely. And, it changed Tofino. People saw the value of tourism and how all of these people traveling here can actually help us live here.”

Vickers was recently honoured at a ceremony held inside his gallery to announce his new position as the BC Arts Council’s Inaugural Elder-in-Residence.

Mid Island Pacific Rim MLA and Tofino’s former mayor Josie Osborne attended the ceremony and said Vickers has had a profound impact on the local community.

“The Roy Henry Vickers Gallery is a place that I visited before I even moved to Tofino and honestly I think his images and his passion for this place are the things that dreams are made of. Now, today, when I tell people I live in Tofino, the gallery, Roy Henry Vickers and his art always comes up,” she said. “It’s really synonymous with I think what this place is and how beautiful it is and he tells stories about this place and other indigenous homes across B.C. for all of us to learn from.”

She added the gallery has been a source of tremendous stories representing the West Coast and Indigenous communities.

“Roy just so effortlessly blends all of that together but in a way that’s incredibly distinct…People know his art and they know him and his storytelling and it leaves a real legacy,” she said. “Tofino has a lot of pride in local artists, Nuu-chah-nulth artists, visiting artists and his gallery and his presence here in Tofino have been a real stimulus for that kind of culture and activity here and we’ll keep on benefitting from that.”

She added his impact will always be felt by the community no matter where he travels.

“I think we’re celebrating what Roy Henry Vickers has done for Tofino and for the arts community here and we’re recognizing that he has built on the legacy of those before him and shown the way for younger artists and people that there’s a way to bring your art to life and to share it with the world and that’s incredibly inspiring,” she said. “ “Life is full of changes…Roy will always be a part of our bigger Tofino family.”

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Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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