Tofino in Clayoquot Sound is considered by many to be the highlight of West Vancouver Island. This delightful town is full of great restaurants, boutiques, art galleries,and recreational opportunities. Tofino is a playground for both the young and older generations. The young come to Tofino to surf the beautiful beaches in the area. There are four surf shops in town, and there’s even a Surf Report for Chesterman Beach and Cox Beach. Other beaches near town include MacKenzie, Middle, and Tonquin beaches (Tonquin being the closest to town), all accessible by Tofino Transit Bus Service.
|“The Hanging Garden” at Big Trees Trail on Meares Island|
Boaters who are nature lovers can take their dinghy (or ride the water taxi from Tofino) to nearby Meares Island and hike the Big Trees Trail where you can see giant spruce, hemlock, and western cedar trees that are between 1,000 and 1,500 years old. The largest tree is known as “the Hanging Garden.” A $5 fee is collected by a guardian on duty; fees help maintain the boardwalk and dirt trails. Another option by dinghy, or water taxi, is a visit to the First Nations village of Opitsaht on the southwest end of Mears Island; it’s reported to be the oldest, continuously run Native village. A campground and hostel above the beach at Opitsaht is a starting point for the popular Lone Cone Trail to the summit of Lone Mountain. For an easier hike, you can visit the Tofino Botanical Gardens on the east side of town in Tofino with 12 acres of gardens, forest, and shoreline. The network of paths and boardwalks is the site of the historic Bernardo O’Higgins homestead.
|Fishing Fleet at Tofino Harbour Authority 4th Street Docks|
Like most towns along the west coast of Vancouver Island, sport fishing is big business and most moorage facilities provide slips for these smaller boats, but pleasure cruisers have several options for moorage. The Tofino Harbour Authority 4thStreet Dock offers transient moorage on ‘E’ dock; rafting is permitted up to two boats deep. Docks at 4th Street are home to Tofino’s commercial fishing fleet. A two-hour dinghy float at this facility (north end section of launch ramp dock) may be used for short stays while shopping in town.
|The Harbour Authority Crab Dock|
The Harbour Authority also manages the Crab Dock, the eastern most dock in Tofino, which has some transient moorage for recreational vessels. The Crab Dock is currently limited to 40-foot vessels; docks move significantly due to wakes from passing boats so fender well. Chains that hold the floats/docks are being replaced, anticipated to be completed by 2019. Both of these Harbour Authority facilities are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Wifi is available at each facility.
by Lorena Landon