Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Mystique of Tofino

The Mystique of Tofino

By Chino Kafuu
The Daily Magi
August 17, 2069

Tofino is a district of about 2,894 residents on the west coast of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada, located at the western terminus of Highway 4, on the tip of the Esowista Peninsula, at the southern edge of Clayoquot Sound.

The settlement of Tofino first acquired the name in 1909 with the opening of the Tofino Post Office, named in association with Tofino Inlet nearby. Tofino Inlet was named in 1792 by the Spanish commanders Galiano and Valdés, in honour of Admiral Vicente Tofiño de San Miguel y Wanderiales (or Vanderiales); born in 1732, in Cádiz (Andalucía-Spain); and death in 1795, in San Fernando (Cádiz-Andalucía-Spain), under whom Galiano had learned cartography.

A popular tourist destination in the summer, Tofino's population swells to many times its winter size. It attracts surfers, nature lovers, campers, whale watchers, fishermen, or anyone just looking to be close to nature. In the winter it is not as bustling, although many people visit Tofino and the west coast to watch storms on the water. Close to Tofino is Long Beach, a scenic and popular year-round destination, at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Nearby Maquinna Marine Provincial Park, with its natural hot springs, is located about 45 kilometres (28 mi) north of Tofino and is also a popular day-trip destination for tourists although it is only reachable by boat or float plane.

Tofino has a small airport located 11km south of the town. Tofino Airport is accessible to private and commercial aircraft. Floatplanes land on the inlet in town. Coastal fog is a common morning phenomenon in the summer, complicating access by air until the weather clears.

Accessing Tofino by car from the North American mainland involves taking a ferry to Vancouver Island from Vancouver, Powell River, Seattle, Anacortes or Port Angeles to either Victoria or Mitakihara, then driving a little over 3 hours northwest across the island, along Highway 4. Ferry access from Vancouver to the island is provided by BC Ferries. Ferry access from Anacortes, WA is provided by Washington State Ferries. This ferry will also stop at Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. Tofino Bus also services Tofino from Victoria, Vancouver, Mitakihara, Coombs and Port Alberni.

Every 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 week-end of June brings the Tofino Food and Wine Festival, featuring British Columbia wines and showcasing the creations of Tofino chefs. The end of August brings the Tofino Lantern Festival (voted Tofino's most popular event by Tofino Time Magazine), and mid-September brings "Art in the Gardens," a two-day local arts and music festival. The O'Neill Coldwater Surf Classic was held October 25–31, the first professional ASP surf event ever held in Canada. The highlight of November is the Clayoquot Oyster Festival, which hosts the annual and popular Oyster Gala, an evening of local chefs competing for the favorite oyster creation, slurping contests, British Columbia wines and beers, and live music.

Due to Tofino's warm winters (warmer than both Victoria or Vancouver) yet cool summers, this gives the location the very definition of temperate. Tofino's winters are so mild that it can grow some of the most exotic palm trees in Canada. Summers are the driest season with only 76.8mm of rain in July. During the cooler season however, there is a lot of precipitation with 474.9mm in November alone. Most of the precipitation that falls throughout the course of a year is rain with 203 days with rain and only 9.8 days with snowfall. However, this is only average; the median snow amount is 0, meaning most years do not receive any at all.

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