the ultimate guide to TOFINO
We head west and don’t stop until we hit Tofino to discover all the best restaurants, hotels and activities.
It’s the end of the line, the West’s West. Once you’ve seen the towering trees meet the thunderous surf, you’ll be hooked on this, the last best place.
the first vacation I ever took was to Tofino. It must have taken forever for my family to drive from Edmonton to the far coast of Vancouver Island in those pre-fuel injection days, but I can recall nothing of any hardship or boredom during the trip—just the wild Pacific and the entire expanse of Chesterman Beach at my three-year-old disposal. When we left we took a keepsake—a five-foot-long gnarled twist of driftwood: it sat in our front garden atop a bed of those ubiquitous white landscaping rocks, 1,200 kilometres from the nearest ocean, and if you closed your eyes, you could picture it back in its native habitat. That log lasted through two decades of Alberta winters before succumbing and breaking down back to the earth, but it always stood as a reminder of the wild West Coast. The Tofino of today is a whole lot different than the one I first visited; the original Wickaninnish Inn, where we stayed, was amazing, but a far cry from the temple of understated luxury that now bears that name, and the town now has restaurants that a city a hundred times the size would be envious of. But some things haven’t changed. It’s still a task to get to and it still requires a thoughtful traveller to make the trip. And the surf, that expanse of sand, is unchanged—a wilderness captured for those who care enough to grab it.— Neal McLennan
Wild Coast The beach at Cox Bay (top) sums up Tofino in one uninterrupted swath of white-ish sand. There are towering trees on one side and the crashing Pacific on the other, and in between the two, scores of beach walkers and surfers enjoying both. For those who want their strolls to have a destination, there’s the forest walk to Hot Springs Cove (below).