Tofino's Heritage

Tofino was named in 1792 by Spanish explorers, Captains Galiano and Valdez during their European exploration of Vancouver Island. They named the site after Spanish hydrographer, Don Vincente Tofino, who accompanied the expedition. The area remained largely the territory of Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations who lived off the land and gathered food from the surrounding forests and abundant ocean.

In the early 1900's, Tofino was considered one of the most remote parts of Canada with only a few non-native settlers living in the area. In 1913, a church was built, accompanied by a post office, logging camps and stores. Tourists wanting to reach the Pacific Ocean were permitted to do so by using the logging road on weekends when loggers had days off. Hence, Tofino's tourism industry began to grow. The logging road used to access the Pacific Ocean and the west coast of Vancouver Island was paved in 1972. Tofino transformed from a remote fishing village in Clayoquot Sound, to a world-class tourism destination and is voted one of the most beautiful places on earth.


The Village of Tofino is located on Vancouver Island, BC at the western terminus of the Pacific Rim Highway (Highway 4), on the tip of the Esowista Peninsula, at the southern edge of Clayoquot Sound. It is bordered by the Pacific National Park Reserve on the south, and on its other three sides by the Pacific Ocean. Tofino is 130 km (81 miles) west of Port Alberni and 337 km (209 miles) northwest of Victoria on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.


Tofino is the most popular destination on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Visitors come to experience whale watching, kayaking, surfing, beachcombing, wilderness hiking on the West Coast Trail, deep sea fishing, scuba diving and winter storm watching — a spectacular sight!

The area's biggest draw is the 20-kilometre stretch of sand between Tofino and Ucluelet (a small village to the south) known as Long Beach. Long Beach, inside the Pacific Rim National Park, is open to the Pacific Ocean.

Festivals & Events

Every year in March, the migration of thousands of grey whales is celebrated with the Pacific Rim Whale Festival. The last weekend of April is the Tofino Shorebird Festival. The first weekend in June delivers the Tofino Food and Wine Festival which features British Columbia wines and the creations of Tofino chefs. The Tofino Lantern Festival occurs at the end of August, and mid-September brings "Art in the Gardens", consisting of a two-day local arts and music festival. The feature of November is the Clayoquot Oyster Festival which hosts the annual Oyster Gala, an evening in which local chefs compete for the favourite oyster creation, slurping contests, British Columbia wines, beer and live music.

Outside Magazine, an American outdoor recreation magazine, has named Tofino, BC, "the best surf town in North America" as part of its 2010 Editors' Choice Awards. Awareness of Tofino as a destination is growing worldwide, due to its beautiful beaches.

Chamber of Commerce and Information

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