Close your eyes and imagine hiking through moss-covered forests, gazing up at massive western hemlocks, red cedars and pacific silver fir trees with a crescendo of crashing pacific ocean waves rhythmically battering barnacle crusted blades of granite rock formations. From atop a safe vantage point, you can see a pack of wetsuit clad surfers waiting for the next set of chilly waves to paddle into. As you scan the horizon line the grayscale fogs thins welcoming a celestial sunbeam that exposes miles of pristine untouched sandy beaches.
Open your eyes.
This is Tofino, Canada. A small fishing village turned tourist hot spot perched on the edge of the Pacific Rim National Park. The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations people have called this place home for thousands of years, and more recently outdoor lovers and entrepreneurs have transformed pockets of the coastline into a world class outdoor adventure destination.
Retired two time Stanley Cup winning professional hockey player, Willie Mitchell, is one of a group of entrepreneurs that have contributed to making Tofino a bucket list destination by having transformed a languishing 70's style Marina West Motel into the now multi-faceted Tofino Resort + Marina.
Guests can check into well appointed suites adorned with wall sized photos taken by local photographer Jeremy Koreski with sweeping views of Lone Cone Mountain. A short stroll to the marina finds you hungrily choosing between 1909 Kitchen and The Hatch Waterfront Pub with menus artfully created by executive chef Paul Moran. Adjacent to the restaurants is an Adventure Center staffed with knowledgeable locals eager to take you on fishing expeditions, whale watching tours or exclusive hidden hot springs only accessible by boat.
For those without seasoned sea-legs, we recommend the wildlife boat tour as you don't venture too far out into the swells. You will see otters, eagles and jaw dropping views of beaches and surrounding islands. If you are lucky you might spot a pod of orcas, humpbacks or migrating grey whales. For those looking for more adventure, book a trip out to the hot springs or go deep sea fishing, as you will likely travel well into the guts of the ocean. Bring some motion sickness medication just incase it gets choppy (and it will).
Once back on shore grab a pint of whatever is on tap (local craft beers on heavy rotation) and order up a wood oven pizza with a fresh salad from The Hatch Waterfront Pub. Use your last bit of energy to stroll to the village to check out the shops and boutiques. Be sure to grab a coffee from the Rhino Coffee House and stop in at The Factory, home of Kyler Vos Print Shop. You can shop an array of mind blowing framed prints, hand made jewellery and hand crafted leather goods. An all locals artisan situation.