british columbia


A trip from Toronto to Tofino

by Susan Ponting

On the way to Tofino, we drove through some of the most beautiful terrain in the world and scenery that rivals Coastal Route One along the California coast. There’s just nothing like seeing this kind of beauty in person.

The road to Tofino was not cheap. Like Toronto, gas is expensive, and it cost close to $100.00 to fill the Hyundai tank.

We stopped many times just to catch our breath and soak in the beauty: lakes, mountains, even a baby bear grazing on the side of the winding road.

We stopped to take in the not-to-be-missed Cathedral Grove where the trees, some 500 to 800 years old, grip you like a long lost friend.

As we traveled along Pacific Rim Highway 4 into Tofino, we stopped at the Tourist Bureau. They cautioned that most of the motels were booked solid, so we took the first motel we could find, The Weigh West Motel. It was, let’s just say, not the Century Plaza. But the people were accommodating, and it was quiet. That night we ate at the Schooner Restaurant where we had surf-line grab, baby back ribs, and drinks for $104.72 before tips.

A trip to Tofino is not complete without seeing the surfers. We set out early on a foggy morning. Handsome and beautiful surfers of all ages prepared to weather the cold waters, I assume, to catch their reason for living for another day.

The next day we stopped in Uclulet and had an awesome homemade breakfast at the Cynamoka Coffee HouseThey also sell local aboriginal art. The co-owner and cook told me about the powerful Pacific storms that hit this coast during the winter months.

From Vancouver to Victoria, Tofino, and back again, it was a trip to remember. It’s a pity flying within Canada is more expensive than flying to the U.S. or even Europe.

Still, with the beauty surrounding all of our friends in BC, like all good Canadians, they complain profusely about the weather. Pat says it’s the kind of rain that gets into your bones, and gets a grip on you so tight it “won’t let go.”  Genoa, born and raised in Vancouver says you “couldn’t get me to move if you tried.” She says the rain is, “better than snow.” And I’d have to agree.

But according to our BC-born and raised friend, Alison, who is a huge fan of Toronto and misses living here, “Come visit in late January and February, and you’ll really get a sense of what the winter is like here.” She too, says the winter rain is terrible and somehow gets into every part of your body.

They groused about the “big one,” that they hope doesn’t come (referring to the apparently imminent earthquake). And, they rightfully complained about the over inflated economy and how foreign investment is unreasonably driving up the prices. And don’t get them started on HST!

The blues scene in Vancouver is almost non-existent. There’s only one blues bar, The Yale Hotel, but for the most part, Pat Axe says, “It really lacks any kind of local scene.”

A part of me thought the complaints were like the bumper stickers in California,“Welcome to California. Now go home.” They really don’t want more people coming to B.C., so they say things about the weather and how we won’t like it if we ever moved there.

As Sam and I walked along the ocean soaking up the sun and noticing how different Vancouver is from Toronto, we agreed that we both feel a certain belonging there. Of course everything’s more beautiful on vacation, but we have an affinity for this beautiful place.

And we will be back.

Oh, and don’t forget to visit The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for a marsh mellow candy apple!

This article was previously published on January 11, 2012.