Tree Hugging Capital of the World. The Jewel of Canada’s West Coast. Host to the Rip Curl Pro – Canada’s National Surfing Championships. Famous artist, Roy Henry Vickers. West Coast Foodie Destination… Welcome to Tofino!
To get to Tofino on Vancouver Island, you take Highway 4 that winds and twists for about 130 kms through mountain passes, lakes and narrow passages until you reach the junction; Ucluelet to your left, Tofino to your right. It takes a good 2 hours to get there and in the summer season longer on account of traffic and very few passing lanes. Don’t be in a rush and when you get there, don’t rush!
Tofino is located in a geographical region called Clayoquot Sound. The Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations made Clayoquot Sound their home and was a trading post since the late 1850’s. It got it’s name after an inlet was named Tofino to honor a Spanish hydrographer, Vincente Tofiño. He was part of the exploration team by Captains Galiano and Valdez.
Tofino has become a year round tourist destination. In the off season, storm watching is at its prime. Storms rolling in off the Pacific West Coast bring wind, rain and surf. In the summer, population increases 10 fold from the approximate 2,000 local residents.
Some of my girlfriends, “buddies” gave me a get-away weekend to Tofino as a birthday gift. 5 of us climbed into a pick up truck with provisions for the weekend. You know, things like activity cloths with 2 different pairs of footwear, dress cloths with appropriate footwear, lounging cloths with no footwear but warm socks, fun games, food to feed an army and libations.
The principal activity was a 2 hour hike on Meares Island, a 10 minute water taxi ride from the public dock. Meares Island is an introduction to a coastal temperate rainforest and is a Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park. It boasts some of the oldest and widest cedar trees. Some trees are 1000 to 1500 years old and have trunk masses with girths up to 60 feet wide. You initially walk along a funky boardwalk but then it disappears into a beaten trail over and under logs, through trunks and puddles… lots of puddles. I’m glad we brought boots.
The weekend was rounded out with lots of laughs, strolls along MacKenzie Beach, refreshing cocktails and appetizers at The Pointe Restaurant in the Wickaninnish Inn, well-known for the scenery and atmosphere and hanging out at the Rhino Coffee House, popular for their coffee and “maple bacon donuts”. The weekend would not have been complete without the drive to and from in the pouring rain.
Hello BC describes it best:
“For all this glamour, Tofino remains the rough-and-tumble frontier town it has always been, easygoing, outgoing, enterprising, unpretentious and resolutely friendly. Yet it also boasts swank beachfront resorts, excellent restaurants and a dynamic arts scene rooted in nature and First Nations culture. Welcome to the end of the road.”
Tofino is a destination and a must visit when on Vancouver Island. I am lucky to live in such a wonderful and adventurous province and having dear girlfriends to share it with.