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Tofino restaurant destroyed by fire to reopen at nearby resort

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A popular Tofino, B.C., restaurant that was destroyed by fire shortly before Christmas is poised to open at a new location in the comings weeks.

Shelter restaurant was engulfed in an overnight fire on Dec. 22. The Campbell Street eatery had been a staple in the community for 20 years when it was gutted by one of the largest fires in recent memory in the community.

No one was injured in the blaze, which is still under investigation Wednesday, according to Tofino's deputy fire chief Emily Coombs.

The restaurant's ownership has signed a lease agreement with the nearby Tofino Resort and Marina, where it plans to open a "revitalized food and beverage facility" in the former 1909 Kitchen and Bar location early this spring, according to a statement from the resort.

A spokesperson for the Tofino Resort and Marina confirmed Wednesday that the restaurant will open under the Shelter name and the move to the new location will be permanent.

1909 KITCHEN AND BAR CLOSED, STAFF TERMINATED

1909 Kitchen and Bar was slated to reopen after its seasonal closure on Feb. 8. However, the restaurant will now remain closed indefinitely.

Former staff of 1909 Kitchen and Bar who spoke with CTV News on Wednesday say they were summoned to an emergency all-staff meeting on Monday where they were told their employment had ended due to the Shelter takeover.

The resort says all employees who were let go will receive full severance pay and will be allowed to remain in their complimentary staff accommodations until Feb. 18, at which point they can pay to stay until the end of March, when they will have to vacate.

The resort declined to say how many restaurant workers were affected by the loss of employment and housing. Staff who spoke to CTV News estimated up to 25 employees had lost their jobs, all but a handful of whom currently live in staff accommodations.

"All former 1909 Kitchen and Bar employees have been invited to apply to Shelter Group who are looking to fill a range of immediate roles," the resort said.

Guests with reservations at the former 1909 Kitchen and Bar will be contacted about cancellations, according to the resort.

'STILL IN THE PLANNING STAGES'

Shelter restaurant general manager Karen Debi confirmed the move to the new location Wednesday, and said the transition to the new space will take considerable time.

"Since the fire we’ve been working hard to figure out the next steps for Shelter and our team," Debi said in an emailed statement.

"This doesn’t mean Shelter as we knew it will be up and running tomorrow, but over time we’ll be able to create a new and evolved Shelter," she added. "Currently, we’re still in the planning stages and don’t have concrete dates on our opening." 

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