Robert Held, glass artist and Tidal Treasures founder, holds one of the new Tidal Treasures tokens that will be placed on Parksville beaches instead of the glass floats. The instructions on what to do with the token is on the reverse side. — Lauren Collins photo

Tokens replace treasures on Parksville beaches

Tidal Treasures organizers say people were taking ‘more than their share’ of glass floats

Due to a number of people taking “more than their share” of glass floats, Tidal Treasures will now be placing glass tokens.

As of Tuesday (March 6), float fairies were placing glass tokens on the beaches instead of the actual blown-glass treasures.

“We felt it necessary to make this change in order to sustain the program,” said Wendy Sears, communications director for Tidal Treasures Vancouver Island. “Unfortunately, there were people taking more than their share and people were telling us that they weren’t going to bother coming to look anymore, which totally defeats what we are trying to do.”

Robert Held, glass artist and Tidal Treasures Vancouver Island founder, said it was very unfortunate that this happened.

“A few people decided that they didn’t want to play by the rules that we thought were reasonable for everybody. If you find one, you take it and keep it and have a good time. if you find two, put one back for someone else,” Held said.

“Obviously, it wasn’t just one person. There were some that we know of that took two or three that kept more. We know somebody with five and one guy that’s trying to (collect) more than 20.”

Sears said the Tidal Treasures group “kind of knew” about people taking multiple glass treasures since last season.

“We kind of suspected this was happening… One guy in particular was very vocal about it, like he wasn’t afraid to tell people.”

Because of that, she said, people became discouraged when it came to searching for the floats.

“We’re trying to get people to come up to the community. We’re trying to boost tourism and help businesses in the winter and bring attention to our community.

“If people weren’t going to come because they didn’t think that they were going to find a treasure because somebody else was taking them all, we wouldn’t be able to sustain the program,” Sears said.

There will be three tokens, each identified by a large sticker on the token that will indicate what the finder will receive: a green sticker with a shell is for a fused-art glass treasure, a green sticker with a dot is for a blown-glass float and a red sticker is for a blown-glass float and a bonus prize from a local sponsor merchant.

If people find a tidal token, they will need to take it to either the Parksville Visitor Centre (Monday to Friday) or to the Pines Gift Shop at Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort and Conference Centre (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) to register and redeem the token for an art glass treasure.

“This will ensure that people are only able to keep one treasure,” a release from Tidal Treasures states.

Asked how registering the tokens would ensure people only get one treasure, Sears said she hoped people would be honest and say they’ve registered before.

The Tidal Treasures initiative, now in its second year, is meant to encourage people to go outside and explore local beaches in the winter months. Float fairies hide the tokens at Parksville Community Beach, Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park and Resort Row Beach.

For more information, and maps, visit

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