Tofino Guide: Original Tofino Insider's Guide
Welcome to Tofino
Perhaps it would be more appropriate to welcome you to the longest-running Tofino website, as you are probably not reading this from Canada's favorite surf town... yet. Hopefully you are planning your trip here, because this is the best place to start your travel research.
2015 Tofino Update
We're happy to report that there is a wonderful new book this year that covers Tofino
and Clayoquot Sound's entire history. That's right, from geologic formation to present day!
It's been a very strong winter for Tofino's tourism sector. Visitors seem to be figuring out that summer is not the only time to visit the West Coast. In fact, visiting in the off-peak seasons can provide amazing experiences. Of course Storm Watching has become a popular activity, but the fall, winter and spring months do have their fair share of decent weather too.
The short story is any time is a good time to visit Tofino. So no matter what the weather or season, we recommend you get on over to the accommodations area and book your trip today.
The information we provide in these pages is intended to be current, relevant and useful as a research tool for your next trip to Tofino. But perhaps most importantly, we hope to display Tofino's unrivaled beauty and appeal to potential new and long-time visitors alike. If you find anything that seems out of place or that needs to be updated, please contact us and we will update the information right away.
Getting to Tofino
If you are looking for bus service to Tofino, please be aware that Tofino Bus offers exceptional scheduled bus and charter bus services from Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Port Alberni and the Comox Valley. For more information about Tofino Bus, visit their website.
A Brief History of Tofino, Canada
Tofino is located in a geographical region called Clayoquot Sound, comprising about 400,000 hectares of land and marine inlets, all draining into a central marine catchment area. The Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations have made Clayoquot Sound their home for several thousand years. The Tla-o-qui-aht Village of Opitsaht (across the water from Tofino on Meares Island) is thought to have been continuously inhabited for at least the past 5,000 years, according to carbon dating of a long-buried stash of discarded clamshells. The word Clayoquot comes from Tla-o-qui-aht.
The earliest recorded European contact with Vancouver Island’s First Nations residents occurred just north of Clayoquot Sound, between Estevan Point and the Escalante River. In 1774 Captain Juan Pérez was sent north by the viceroy of New Spain to reassert the long standing Spanish claim on the west coast of North America. Pérez reached the Queen Charlotte Islands in July, 1774. After some trading with the Haida people from aboard the Santiago, Pérez turned south and made contact with Hesquiaht people near what are now called Perez Rocks, approximately 40 km north of Tofino. Curiously, Pérez and his crew did not go ashore.
History buffs will appreciate that Pérez preceded the more celebrated Captain James Cook, who arrived three years later at Nootka Island, in the spring of 1778. Cook claimed the region for Britain, giving rise to heated interactions between the British and the Spanish. War was averted through various agreements outlined in the three Nootka Conventions signed between 1790 and 1794.
During the 1792 exploration of Vancouver Island by Captains Galiano and Valdez, Clayoquot Sound’s southernmost inlet gained the name Tofino Inlet. The name honoured Vincente Tofiño, a Spanish hydrographer who taught Galiano cartography during the expedition.
The current townsite of Tofino was officially established in 1909 on the Esowista peninsula, taking its name from Tofino Inlet. Until this time, the outpost called Clayoquot was the main European settlement in the area. Located on Stubbs Island, about 1.5 km across the water from the current site of Tofino, Clayoquot had been a fur trading post on and off since the late 1850s. By the turn of the century it boasted a store, post office, hotel, saloon, dock, and a small resident population.
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