The bustling fishing village of Tofino sits at the very end of a long narrow peninsula, with winding Highway 4 being the only road access to the outside world. The closest town of any size is Port Alberni , 130 kilometers (81 miles) to the east (allow at least 2.5 hours); Victoria  is 340 kilometers (211 miles) distant. Fishing has always been the mainstay of the local economy, but in the last decade Tofino has grown into a vacation hot spot.
While the winter population is under 2,000, in summer the population swells to several times that size and the village springs to life—fishing boats pick up supplies and deposit salmon, cod, prawns, crabs, halibut, and other delicacies of the sea, and cruising, whale-watching , and fishing boats, along with seaplanes, do a roaring business introducing visitors to the natural wonders of the west coast.
The town lies on the southern edge of sheltered Clayoquot Sound, known worldwide for an ongoing fight by environmentalists to save the world’s largest remaining coastal temperate forest. Around 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres) of this old-growth forest remain; a number of parks, including Clayoquot Arm Provincial Park, Clayoquot Plateau Provincial Park, Hesquiat Peninsula Provincial Park, Flores Island Provincial Park, and Maquinna Marine Provincial Park have resulted from the Clayoquot Sound Land Use Decision.
An influx of environmentally-conscious residents over the last two decades has added flavor to one of the west coast’s most picturesque and relaxing towns. And due to a large number of aware residents who like Tofino exactly the way it is, it’s unlikely that high-rise hotels or fast-food chains will ever spoil this peaceful coastal paradise.
A visit to Tofino Visitor Centre (455 Campbell St., 250/725-3414, www.tourismtofino.com , daily 9 a.m.–7 p.m. in summer, daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m. the rest of the year) will ensure you’re not bored in this bustling town. Wildside Booksellers (320 Main St., 250/725-4222) stocks an excellent selection of natural history and recreation titles.