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Three Weeks in British Columbia #8, Tofino

 BLOG #51, SERIES #8




December 20, 2017

And now we come to the beach town of Tofino itself, the hub of life at the terminus of Highway 4. Interesting, isn’t it? Lund, Port Hardy, and Tofino–each one is situated at an end of a road. I find such ends of roads to be intriguing. Perhaps because there are, in comparison, so few of them in the U.S.

One of the miracles of this wild Pacific Coast is that it has not yet been blighted by towering high-rise condos, such as is all too true of much of the U.S. coastline. British Columbians obviously have made some tough decisions where it comes to what to preserve intact and what to prevent.

Of it, Andrew Hempstead (in his Moon British Columbia handbook) notes, “The bustling tourist town of Tofino sits at the end of a long narrow peninsula, with the only road access to the outside world being winding Highway 4. In winter, it’s a quiet, friendly community with a population of fewer than 2,000. In summer, the population swells to several times that size, and the village springs to life. Fishing boats pick up supplies and deposit salmon, cod, prawns, crabs, halibut, and other delicacies of the sea, and cruising, whale watching, and fishing boats, along with seaplanes, do a roaring business introducing visitors to the natural wonders of the West Coast.” Speaking of seaplanes, Byron, whose day job is keeping Alaska Airlines pilots updated on aviational technological changes, has a sideline passion: flying seaplanes all over this region.

As for Lonely Planet editors, here is their introductory take on the town: “Transforming from resource outpost to hippie enclave and now a resort town, Tofino is Vancouver Island’s favorite outdoorsy retreat. It’s not surprising that surf fans, families, and city-escaping Vancouverites keep coming: packed with activities and blessed with spectacular local beaches, it sits on Clayoquot Sound, where forested mounds rise from roiling, ever dramatic waves.”


We wandered through the town, savoring its uniqueness. Of course, I had to find another coffee mug to haul home to my museum-size collection of other coffee cups: one of Connie’s crosses that she bears [not quietly, I might add] for being married to a collector. We also tried out a number of eateries (the most popular one being a truck called “Tacofino” where we joined hundreds of others waiting for their Mexican food fix). We had to wait for over an hour just to reach the front of the line.

Our first night’s stay was in a condo called “Raven’s Retreat,” set on the water. It was hard to leave it. We also spent quite a bit of time down by the harbor watching seaplanes flying in and out. The second night we spent in Rain Forest Inn, itself positioned in a rain forest.

We’ll conclude this B.C. sojourn story in mid-January.