Tofino

Sometimes, I forget how lucky I am.

In July, I spent a week in Tofino with my sister and brother-in-law and my niece and nephew who travelled across Canada to spend time with me. Lots of the pictures from the last month have been from that week. Looking back through them, I realize how lucky I am to live so close to such an amazing place. And, to have family that I love spending time with.

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Tofino is located on the west coast of the West Coast of Canada in Clayoquot Sound. That is, the west coast of Vancouver Island. From Vancouver, you take a ferry across to the Island, then drive all the way across the island til you get to the Hesquiaht Peninsula and travel to the end on the only road. There you will find Tofino.

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Incredible long beaches with big waves that roll in off the Pacific ocean just ready to be surfed. Huge cedar trees, hundreds of years old and some over a thousand. Incredible marine and terrestrial wildlife – whales and seals and sea lions and eagles and bears and wolves. Oh my!!

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Tofino’s economy is based on eco-tourism. Surfing, kayaking, whale-watching, hiking, sailing, bird-watching. Storm-watching in the winter. They’ve got it all. A wide range of artists and artisans and First Nations culture.

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The other economic staple of the region is forestry and logging. In the summer of 1993, environmentalists and First Nations groups spear-headed a large, mostly peaceful protest against the intended logging of old-growth forest. Dubbed The War in the Woods, over 800 people were arrested in Canada’s largest incident of civil disobedience.  Due largely to these protests, which gained world-wide attention, and a Greenpeace-initiated boycott of BC forest products, an agreement was reached between environmental groups, First Nations groups, the Provincial Government and MacMillan Bloedel, the logging company. There has been mostly peace in the woods since then.

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For us, the week consisted of surfing, sea kayaking, whale-watching, kite-flying, long walks and bike rides along the beach, great food, a trip to the local aquarium, lots of photography and art, and a crazy game app called Space Team, where we all had to try to work together to fly a space ship. It mostly resulted in us yelling crazy instructions to each other as the ship eventually crashed into oblivion. If we ever get invaded by aliens, don’t rely on us to hijack and fly the alien ship!

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It was a great week. The kids are teenagers now so they finally sleep in (yay!) and they both now like sushi (double yay!).  And, my sister and I had lots of time for long talks, as opposed to our regular, cross time zone text-chatting.

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People come long way from all over the world to visit Tofino – UK, Germany, France, Australia and New Zealand, China and Japan. And, here it is right in my own backyard.

Yup, sometimes I forget just how lucky I really am.  May I never take my many blessings for granted.

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