West Coast Part 1 / On the Island

Copyright Mabuhay Calgary (click image for entire article)


Published by:  Mabuhay Calgary

November 2010, 3rd Edition Volume II

Copyright: Mabuhay Calgary

West Coast Part 1 / On the Island – Article and Photos by:  Jeff Cruz

During May long weekendwe decided to take a trip out to the West Coast and see Canada’s beauty on Vancouver Island and parts of Washington. I had just bought a new car (2009 Honda Fit) so we decided to be a bit cheesy and call our vacation the “West Coast Fit Tour.” We were going to show our car the best of the West Coast.

From Calgary expect a long, but scenic, 11 to 12 hour drive to Vancouver. B.C. Ferries depart from West Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo’s Departure Bay every two hours. If you know exactly when you’ll be arriving it’s best to book your tickets online to avoid the longer lines.

If you’ve never been on a ferry before you’ll be in for a nice treat. The ferry ride is about one hour long. Once you park your car inside the stern you are able to roam about the ferry.  B.C. Ferries does an excellent job to make your ride as comfortable as possible.  There are many electrical outlets for laptops or to charge your phone, a gift shop and even a small cafeteria.

Don’t stay inside too long. You’ll miss the fantastic scenery that is waiting for you on the deck. If the weather is cooperating go on deck and experience the sea. From Nanaimo it is a curvy three and a half hour drive to Tofino. If you have passengers that are prone to motion sickness you will want to slow down. The benefit of slowing down allows you to enjoy the amazing scenery. Quite often you will see others pulled over taking photos.

We arrived at our lodge in Tofino (Middle Beach Lodge) just as the sun started to set. We checked in and enjoyed a nice beautiful sunset on a private beach reserved for the Lodge.

The next morning we decided to check out more of  Tofino and Long Beach. We were not disappointed when we took the short drive south of Tofino to visit Long Beach. Long Beach is the largest and longest beach in the Pacific Rim National Park. We were lucky that our lodge provided rain boots as they came in handy during the rainy parts of the day. May is still quite chilly and wet for this part of the island so dress warm. Tofino Botanical Gardens which boasts twelve acres of gardens and forest was our next stop. There is also a shoreline that you can explore where you might also see some old ships washed ashore. Other interesting things we noticed were the sculptures in the garden and bird watching was apparently a popular activity. The $10 admission for adults and $6 for students was a good deal especially because the admission is valid for three consecutive days.

Tofino has a lot to offer. You can do anything ranging from surfing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, golfing and bird watching. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, take a guided plane tour on an old seaplane and see the landscape as birds see it.  Tofino is a landscape photographer’s dream. I’m sure a common pastime in Tofino is to grab a camera and explore.  After a few days in Tofino we headed back to the south east end of the island. We headed to the capital of British Columbia, Victoria.

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