Port Ren­frew the next Tofino

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Recreation & Investment Properties - MARTY HOPE

LCHECK IT OUT

For more in­for­ma­tion on Port Ren­frew visit www. portren­frew. com ook­ing for some­where dif­fer­ent to hang out on va­ca­tion? How about the Pa­cific Marine Coastal Route, a 255-kilo­me­tre cir­cu­lar driv­ing route through the wilds of south­ern Van­cou­ver Is­land, and spend­ing a week­end in the west coast vil­lage of Port Ren­frew.

With about 200 full-time res­i­dents, Port Ren­frew might just be the Tofino of to­mor­row, says Ben My­croft.

“Many take the long drive to Tofino when Port Ren­frew is 40 min­utes from Sooke and less than two hours from down­town Vic­to­ria, that’s 20 min­utes fur­ther than the drive to Cowichan Lake,” says My­croft, pro­ject man­ager for the Three Point Prop­er­ties’ Wild Coast Cot­tages de­vel­op­ment pro­ject in Port Ren­frew.

“This area has a lot to of­fer — in one af­ter­noon you can be surf ing the waves, ex­plor­ing the tide pools on Botan­i­cal Beach and walk­ing among the gi­ant trees of Avatar Grove.”

Surfers, kite board­ers and pad­dlers al­ready know about the vil­lage that is in a bay with big wave breaks, two pad­dling rivers and a di­ver­sity of beaches.

But it’s also home to some of Canada’s big­gest and most spec­tac­u­lar trees. Avatar Grove, a sec­tion of gnarly gi­ant old growth, has been able to at­tract bigtree-tourists to this one- time log­ging town.

Mat­ter of fact, the grove now has its own visi­tor in­for­ma­tion cen­tre, a lit­tle kiosk next to Port Ren­frew’s tiny farm­ers’ mar­ket.

Thanks to Port Ren­frew’s rel­a­tive re­mote­ness in days prior to the Coastal Route com­ple­tion, the area has re­tained much of the sig­na­ture West Coast wilder­ness.

The vil­lage is flanked on both sides by ma­jor na­tional and pro­vin­cial parks: to the south is the Juan de Fuca Pro­vin­cial Park and the San Juan Trail, and to the north is the gateway of the world-renowned West Coast Trail in the Pacif ic Rim Na­tional Park.

And when it comes to wildlife, Port Ren­frew has it all.

Avid pho­tog­ra­phers take de­light in the res­i­dent ea­gles, black bears and elk, while an­glers flock to the area for the great trout and salmon f ish­ing (just this year, Port Ren­frew was named a na­tional f in­al­ist in the World Fish­ing Net­work’s Ultimate Fish­ing Town Canada competitio­n).

“Since the com­ple­tion of the paved Cir­cle Route high­way, there’s been re­mark­able growth in tourism and a no­tice­able buzz in the air around town,” said My­croft.

“There has also been dra­matic changes in who comes here and who’s open­ing up shop: now you’ll dis­cover de­li­cious restau­rants and some great shops along­side the hik­ing trails, beaches, lakes and f ish­ing spots.”

Cal­gary Her­ald Archive

Hikers ex­plore Botan­i­cal Beach near the south­west Van­cou­ver Is­land town of Port Ren­frew.

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