At the end of a road lay a unique small town you have likely heard of, but why?
Tofino has certainly gained a lot of recent attention over the past 15-20 years blossoming from a traditionally sleepy timber harvesting and fishery based village to a world-class tourism destination in a relatively short span. More recently Tofino is better known for the later; bustling hospitality and various tourism-based industries that propel this small town year-round accommodating nearly a million awe-struck visitors each year. With thousands of available rooms, several dozen restaurants and countless supporting businesses available to the adventurous tourists and discerning travelers by land, air, and sea, a trip to Tofino certainly does not require ‘roughing it’ anymore.
Aside from being an overwhelmingly beautiful and awe-inspiring place to visit, there is another main reason why people are staying in the area; the hospitality. Tofino is now a sought-after destination to relax and indulge in the finest offerings the area has to offer, and it doesn’t hurt that it is set in a breathtaking setting. From fine dining, exclusive resorts and retreats to deep sea moorage for your yacht in the many nearby sounds and protected inlets; Tofino has solidified itself as a luxury destination.
Geographically Tofino sits nearly midway up the west coast of Vancouver Island and supports nearly 2000 year-round residents in and among the enormous trees, rugged archipelagos and the cool waters of the North Pacific that define this stretch of Vancouver Island. The surrounding coastal areas offer countless fine sand beaches and surf breaks that are popular with tourists and locals alike while the inside of the peninsula and neighboring Clayoquot and Barkley sounds offer a contrasting and less commonly explored islands, mud flats, mountain stream fed inlets and estuaries. The temperate rainforest surrounding Tofino averages more than 10 feet of precipitation a year providing unique opportunities for flora and fauna specific to this area as well as the more common Black Bears, Wolves and Cougars found here and elsewhere on the island.
By sea, it is not uncommon to see local porpoises, a variety of whales throughout the year including the endangered southern resident killer whales, grey and humpback being the most common. Anglers from far and wide flock to the area annually to fish world class Salmon, Halibut, Rockfish even Albacore Tuna a little further offshore. They will most certainly see stellar sea lions, harbor seals, eagles and osprey along their travels on the water. Some might be lucky enough to spot a passing coastal wolf or black bear foraging along a remote beach at low tide or a spotted Murrelet doing a little fishing itself.
Accommodations, amenities, and services curtailing to a more refined palette that the more discerning clientele tend to seek is now easily found throughout the area. With several award-winning and internationally rated establishments in such a small community this pressure-cooker continues to fuel healthy local competition between the many fine establishments to better serve and produce higher quality offerings than the others. This now fortified network of top-tier accommodation and fine local restaurants working in close collaboration with craft producers and talented local hands has resulted in a very strong and vibrant culinary community, without a doubt worth thoroughly exploring.
A great introduction to Tofitian cuisine would be SOBO - an abbreviation for sophisticated bohemian is a true grown in Tofino story. Owners Lisa and Arty first started SOBO as a small food truck about 20 or so years ahead of the current craze, citing that the cost owning the land to build a restaurant where they had planned on raising their family was simply not achievable. Fast forward some 20 years later and SOBO has since been occupying their first brick and mortar in a prime heart of Tofino location for well over a decade, is internationally recognized, rated and celebrated. They offer finely crafted and locally produced food in a casual west coast inspired setting that is simply irresistible for both lunch and dinner. Nearly year-round one can indulge in both seasonal and long-standing menu offerings making it a time-honored staple for locals and tourists alike.
Tofino and nearby Ucluelet also offer outstanding beach and estuary front accommodation from modest to extravagant with many other excellent options for food, coffee, and adventure. Destinations like the Wickinnish Inn and Black Rock Resort offer full in-house services like upscale and formal dining, award-winning spas, luxurious accommodation, and ideal oceanfront settings. For a more exclusive and private setting, one might try a private beach front home and or condo through agencies like Tofino Vacation Rentals or explore many of the other local establishments like Long Beach Lodge, Middle Beach Lodge or Pacific Sands Resort in Tofino which will be the subject of further articles found her on VILL.