By the sea – Tofino
I took a road trip to the mythical western edge of Canada. Long Beach, Tofino – the legendary turf of Canada’s toughest surfers, orneriest fishermen and most dedicated enviro-advocates. I arrived driving on 10-per cent-left brakes maneuvering the tightest hairpin turns I’ve ever navigated. I felt the full shame of my inadequate driving skills – as an Albertan in the twisting emerald land of the West Coast. Only once in the entire journey that transected Vancouver Island, pretty much down its midsection, did an impatient logging truck force off the road.
View of Clayoquot Sound, as seen just a block from the Hurricane Suite.
I travelled with my trusty two-wheeled steed strapped to the back of my brake- deficient Subaru; and I popped it off as soon as I’d settled into my uber-cool pad right in the Town of Tofino. The Hurricane Suite served me well, and the owners at Stay Tofino (staytofino.com) gave me the winter rate in exchange for a plug in my blog. There’s the plug – and no kidding, if you’re in Tofino, see if you can book the suite.
Tofino’s kind of like Jasper in that it’s a town first; it hasn’t yet been overwhelmed by the high volume tourism of Banff or the elitism of Whistler. It’s unique as a heavy-weight international surf destination in Canada. Long Beach in Pacific Rim Park, which is where the enormous waves have unfettered access to pound the flat beach.
Suited surfers surf at Tofino beach – Cox Bay, I think.
I took my bike to check out the five beaches all within a few kilometers of town. Even though it was springtime, the surf was well populated with suited surfers surfing. Not all of the beaches were suitable for surfing. But the calm water was still too chilly for me, although I did see one hardy soul swim sans suit.
Instead of surfing and swimming I took a sweet kayak paddle through the islets and inlets in Clayoquot Sound to Meares Island, just a hop away from Tofino. The experience of walking through the rain forest, breathing in the rich coastal air is a sublime and singular – only in this part of the world.
Mostly I rode my bike. I sampled the delights of Tofino as I could. I discovered that the TacoFino bus serves a mean taco. I recommend it. The coffee’s good – almost everywhere in town. I took in some nightlife and heard the Blues at Jamie’s Rainforest Inn. And the views from Wharf Street are amazing.
View from Wharf Street