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Canadian Connection
Tofino: Vancouver Island Community Promises Surf, Sand And Year-Round Outdoor Play

In Tofino
, life on the west coast is shaped by raw beauty, captivating characters, and the sheer force of Mother Nature. Add a hearty helping of cutting-edge culinary innovators, alongside all-season outdoor play, and you’ve got an Island destination worthy of exploration. Wetsuit included.

SEE: Seek inspiration at local artist studios, and snag one-of-a-kind pottery, jewelry and photography keepsakes; bear witness to the wealth of local First Nations culture with innovative designs from J oe Martin in the Wickaninnish Inn’s onsite carving shed, and original Roy Henry Vickers prints, paintings and carvings at the Eagle Aerie Gallery. For views of a different nature, settle in for a favored spectator sport: storm watching. With six-meter (20-foot) waves pummeling the shoreline November through March, thrill-seekers slip into slickers and explore driftwood-strewn shores; to stay dry, opt instead to tuck beneath a cozy blanket at an inn or resort, complete with views of the crashing waves below.

DO: Surf’s up year round, but waves are superlative in winter months, beckoning the devoted to Tofino’s 35 kilometers (22 miles) of sand-slathered shores. The best way to brave the breaks in Canada’s surf capital? Zip up for longboard lessons or multi-day camps with The Surf Club at Long Beach Lodge Resort or the female-focused Surf Sister. For a more sedate exploration of Tofino’s surrounding waters, dip your paddle during Tla-ook Cultural Adventure’s sunset excursion in a traditional Nuu-chah-nulth dugout canoe, or survey the region’s rich water habitats with the ecologically-focused Tofino Sea Kayaking. Every inch a four-season destination, there’s plenty of green — and serene — to explore year round. Marvel at the majesty of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, or hop onboard with an adventure operator and make waves over to secluded Maquinna Marine Provincial Park for a soothing soak in Hot Springs Cove.

Peruse the menu at the Pointe, the Wickaninnish Inn’s fine dining gem, and sup on locally-sourced seafood prepared by the masterful Chef Nicholas Nutting. For additional seasonal sampling, pull up a chair at Chef Liam Paul’s table at nearby Long Beach Lodge Resort for tastes of home-sourced produce paired with the region’s freshest catches. Gone are the days of the iconic purple catering truck, but the faithful still flock for a taste of chef Lisa Ahier’s Killer Fish Tacos and Smoked Wild Fish Chowder at SoBo (a.k.a Sophisticated Bohemian). No time for lunch? Get SoBo to go, and snag frozen entrées a la Ahier in the Pacific Sands Beach Resort lobby before hopping a flight back to the mainland.

SLEEP: Slumber may be a long time coming at these ocean-front favorites: with floor-to-ceiling views of rolling waves, you’ll be hard pressed to catch some zzzz’s in the Pacific Sands Beach Resort’s Luxury Oceanfront Villas; over at the Wickaninnish Inn, a bird’s eye view of Chesterman Beach will backdrop your evening of luxury; while the sandy beach of Cox Bay houses superior suites and comfy cabins at Long Beach Lodge Resort. No sign of Mr. Sandman? Not to worry ... the steady cadence of the ocean is sure to lull you into dreamland. For more information, or to find out what other adventures await in Tofino, visit
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