Some call it Dream Isle or Tibbs Island although it's real name is Arnet Island. The story of this island is full of colour, intrigue, and as it seems, unrequited love.
Frederick Tibbs arrived in Tofino from England in 1908. Described as a short man with a round face and curly hair, a perfect gentleman and a dreamer. He bought Dream Isle and in full view of fascinated onlookers at Tofino, Tibbs transformed his island into his dream. He clearcut the entire island but choose to leave one 100 ft spruce tree standing. Over time he cut off all the limbs and built a ladder up the tree to a narrow platform at the top with a view of Clayoquot Sound. Locals say that he would climb to the top and play his cornet, perhaps serenading two maidens across the water in Tofino. He constructed a four-storey wooden castle with large shutters and a rose garden. Locals say that from the west it looked just like a castle in England.
It is said that Tibbs was in love with two local girls, Alma Arnet and Olive Garrard.
In 1917 Fred Tibbs went off to war and when he returned he was appointed keeper of the lights on the harbour bouys. On July 5th, 1921 Fred Tibbs was attending a lamp off of Mission Point and his skiff slipped off the float.
Tibbs was a good swimmer so he took off his clothes and swam after his boat. A combination of wind and tidal current took his skiff out of reach so he swam to a sandy beach on Clayoquot Island. He made it to the beach but was overcome with exhaustion and hypothermia and could not be revived. Frederick Tibbs is buried in the Tofino cemetery on Morpheus Island.
Frederick Tibbs left a proper and complicated will drawn up before he left for the war. It created much gossip and speculation as he left his Dream Isle castle to Olive Garrard and the island on which the castle stood to Alma Arnet. "I give devise and bequeath unto Miss Alma Arnet (because she is the nicest girl I ever met and another reason she knows), Lot 1460, Tibbs Island and everything thereon, excepting the house and ten feet of land on either side including the house site. The house and contents thereof, except the gramophone, go to Miss Olive Garrard, of Tofino (because it was built for her) so long as she remains single. In case of her marrying, the house goes to Alma Arnet if she is still single." - F. G. Tibbs
The Arnet family eventually bought the castle from Olive Garrard's family. The big spruce tree came down and the old castle was torn down after 1973. Today the Arnet Island is all green covered with new trees. Now the old castle and big spruce are only to be seen in old photographs . One of these photos taken in the snows of winter, was the inspiration for this work called Solstice 2010.
Thanks to David Rae Arthur for inspiring me to do this piece. Many thanks to my staff and friends who provided different photos and stories to help me create SOLSTICE 2010.
Artist: Roy Henry Vickers
Image Size: 12.5" x 20"
Edition Size: 70