After running the much anticipated Seawheeze Half-Marathon last weekend, it was great to have some time away from the city. My family from Toronto were in town visiting and we woke up early Sunday morning to catch the ferry to Nanaimo. I am lucky enough to visit Tofino a few times a year because it is one of my favourite places. My East Coast family had not been there for 15 years, which was the first time I visited Tofino! Here are my top 5 favourite things in Tofino:
1. Best Place to Stop on the way: Coombs Country Market/ Goats on the Roof. The journey to Tofino is not short, if you get hungry every 5 minutes like I do, you will need to make a least 1 stop to stock up on snacks. The best way to describe this place is a small town version of a Trader Joes /Pusateris, they have regular groceries, but the real draw is the gourmet and homemade products they offer. I always go for the maple smoked salmon and spicy salmon jerky! They also have a selection of cheeses, chocolates, baked goods etc. there is also a produce market behind them to grab fresh fruit and veggies. And yes, there are goats on the roof, it is covered in grass and they just kind of hang out up there.
2. Best “Quick” Lunch: I know I JUST mentioned Tacofino last Friday 5, but here I go again. This is the original location of Tacofino and definitely the best one, hands down. It is located in a stationary food truck on the way into town. They have communal tables outside the truck, which is handy because once your food is ready you won’t be able to wait to eat it! One thing worth noting is each Tacofino has a slightly different menu, this location has my 2 favourite items: the tuna taco and the chicken burrito (not crispy fried chicken). When we went on Tuesday, there was a line, but it wasn’t daunting, the kitchen works hard and pushes the food out quick. When we were just finishing up, the line had grown to 60 people deep! That’s peak season for you in Tofino!
3. Best Location for a Long Run: I always run when in Tofino, but I had never done a “long run” there. I had a 2hr run scheduled for Monday so it was time to find an appropriate route, enter Long Beach, the name does it justice. It is 16km of sandy beach and ocean, located inside the Pacific Rim Park Reserve. I chose an out and back route starting just past Incinerator Rock to The Qwisitis Visitor Centre. The majority of the beach was empty that day and it was super foggy, but almost looked liked running into a snowstorm.
4. Best Place to Grab a Local Beer: No contest here, Tofino Brewing is the spot. They are located on the way into the “downtown” of Tofino, surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches in Canada. The brewery itself is proportionate to Tofino, and has only a few seating options if you want to stay there. This place gets BUSY at night, a favourite among the locals. I recommend filling a growler and heading to the beach for sunset. Or, if the weather isn’t favourable, head to Shelter, downtown, and grab a seat on the patio. They always have Tofino Brewing on draft and there are fire pits, heat lamps and you still have a view of the water.
5. Best Dinner: Since Tofino offers some great fish and shellfish available to purchase and cook, this is a great option if your accommodation has a kitchen. However, if you’re on vacation, you may not feel like cooking every night. For a nice evening out, Wolf and the Fog is a great spot. It is worth reserving in advance to secure your table. To start, the seaweed salad is my favourite, the crunch from the puffed, wild rice makes this dish. Their mains change seasonally, but you can always expect a variety of fish and seafood dishes. This time, they had halibut, ling cod, and mussels. Everyone enjoyed their dinner immensely.
Tofino is always a nice place to escape city life and surround yourself with the beauty of the island. I ran new routes everyday, ate lots of seafood and enjoyed spending time on the scenic beaches, what more can you ask for?