Long beach and Tofino on Vancouver Island

One of the most beautiful places in the world, Tofino, Long Beach on Vancouver Island and the surrounding area was populated for 10,000 years by the Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) First Nation . The arrival of Europeans in the late 1700’s brought the usual tragic results of new diseases to the thriving coastal community. Of the 100,000 Indigenous peoples estimated to be living in this area pre European contact less than 10% remain.

By the early 20th century, white settlers had begun to arrive. The initial access was only by boat. The area gained importance during WW II when a coastal watch system for an anticipated Japanese invasion was set up. Remains of the system can still be seen on Radar Hill –  well worth the walk. WW II resulted in an airfield and military hospital being built. The road from Tofino to Port Alberni was gravel until 1972. When our family first started to come out here in the early sixties, it was also an active logging road that was closed during working hours. We often had to wait until 5-6 pm to travel. Our destination was the  Wickaninnish motel, a string of dilapidated, mildewy cabins along the beach. Heaven to a 5 year old. The cabins have long been demolished and replaced by the Wickaninnish Lodge – but  the spectacular coastline remains. The original fishing and logging focus of the area has been replaced by tourism – over 65% of the areas residents make their living from the tourist industry.

This is a spiritual place for me and was chosen as a destination following a very difficult start to 2024. Accompanied by my girlfriend CJ and one of my dogs Hustle, our destination was the Crystal Cove Resort just south of Tofino. An ominous forecast of heavy snow and ice on the North island yesterday sent me driving south a day early to Qualicum Beach. After a wonderful visit with friends and a good sleep, we set out for Tofino, a spectacular drive framed by the snow laden coastal range and expedited by a text that our cabin was ready for early check in. Our beach front cabin was bathed in mid afternoon sunlight as we arrived, unpacked, opened a bottle of Marechal Foch and began to decompress.

Road from Port Alberni

View from our cabin

Afternoon walk

Stay tuned!

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