Tofino lies on the western side of Vancouver Island, at the end of Highway 4. In 1791, Boston fur trader Robert Gray built Fort Defiance to stay the winter, though the next spring the fort was stripped and abandoned, with only ruins remaining today. The town’s sandy beaches are popular with beachcombers, scuba divers and whale watchers.
Back in 1912, it proclaimed itself the “western end of the Trans-Canada Highway”, though when the route across Canada was finally completed in 1963, it veered south from Nanaimo to Victoria (today’ highway #1), instead of west to Tofino. This sign is located at the foot of First Street at the northwest end of the town
Tofino is a popular jumping-off point for whale watching tours (along with Ucluelet to the south). Some tours are by kayak, some by zodiac, and some on full-sized boats (more comfortable in rougher seas).
The west coast of Vancouver Island along Pacific Rim National Park is quite spectacular between November and March during storm season, when 10 metre swells on the ocean turn into 15-18 metre (50-60 feet) waves that crash into the shore. Best wave watching is about 12 hours after a storm has passed, and the waves aren’t tossed by the wind. Never walk on the beach (or on slippery rocks) during extreme conditions. You can watch storms from safe indoor vantage points like several coastal restaurants at Long Beach Lodge, The Wikannish Inn or Tin-Wes Best Western.
|Pacific Rim Whale Festival||Late March||Daily educational & fun events to celebrate the annual migration of the whales|
|Shorebird festival||Early May||Bird watching tours led by experts from the Raincoast Education Society|
|Edge to Edge Marathon||mid-June||Official marathon an relay race from uculuelet to Tofino|
|Aboriginal Day||Late June||Parks Canada hosts First Nations performers|
|Lantern Festival||Late August||At Tofino Botanical Gardens|
|Oyster Festival||Late October||Gorumet restaurant and wine tasting competition|
Jamie’s Whaling Station
606 Campbell St, PO BOX 129, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
Team of local experts has been professionally guiding adventure seekers from around the world to explore the nooks and crannies of Clayoquot Sound and Barkley Sound since 1982! Jamie’s operates our waterfront Adventure Stations in the hearts of both seaside communities of Tofino and Ucluelet.
The Whale Centre
411 Campbell St
Box 111, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0
See scientific and artistic displays, artifacts and photographs about the whale and whale encounters past and recent.