Vancouver Island’s spectacular West Coast has been a Mecca for visitors from across the globe for decades. From the untouched splendor of the Broken Islands Group, to the expanse of sand and crashing surf that is Long Beach, to the rustic calm of the community of Ucluelet – the region is blessed almost beyond measure with character and natural beauty. Central to all of this is the District Municipality of Tofino, the largest population center on the Island’s West Coast.
The community of Tofino has assumed a near mythic reputation for its beauty and distinctive charms. A true Island Jewel, Tofino is home to approximately 2,000 permanent residents, but can see its temporary population swell dramatically depending on the season.
On the edge of magnificent Clayoquot Sound (a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve), Tofino is the perfect jumping off point for any number of outdoor themed adventures: from bird and bear watching, to hiking, fishing and sea kayaking. Thanks to its immediate proximity to Long Beach the region has earned a world class reputation as a surfing destination. In fact in 2010 Tofino earned the Editor’s Choice Award as the best surfing town in North America by Outside Magazine.
With a character uniquely its own, Tofino picked up its name from nearby Tofino Inlet, named by Spanish explorers in the late 18th Century. The town itself began to take shape in 1909 when the Tofino Post Office was opened to provide mail service to the loggers and fishermen who frequented the region. Today the community continues to honor and serve its resource-based roots, while embracing a new generation of visitors who are drawn to the region more for its beauty and untouched appearance than they are for the allure of timber or fish.
Tofino’s direct proximity to Clayoquot Sound is one of its greatest visitor attractions. Consisting of nearly 400,000 hectares of land and marine inlets, the Sound is an echo of the natural grandeur that was Vancouver Island before the encroachment of civilization. Home for thousands of years to the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, the Village of Opitsaht (across from Tofino on nearby Meares Island) is believed to have been inhabited continuously for more than 5,000 years.
Easily accessible via Highway 4 that links the City of Port Alberni to the West Coast, Tofino is easy to reach, and impossible to forget once you arrive. The community in recent years has developed a well-earned reputation for its sophisticated food scene, offering unique and delicious West Coast fare that make the drive worth it all on its own. Once you’ve arrived Tofino has a number of parks and nearby beaches to explore, while the community is located just beyond the boundaries of the famed Pacific Rim National Park.
Distinctive, charismatic, spectacular and even delicious, Tofino has to be on your ‘to see’ list when visiting Vancouver Island. To learn more about Tofino and the West Coast contact Van Ventures today to arrange for your camper van rental. It will be a journey you will always remember.