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Travel Guide North America Canada British Columbia Vancouver Island Tofino

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Introduction

Tofino is a town of about 1,900 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.

A popular tourist destination in the summer, Tofino's population swells to many times its winter size. It attracts surfers, nature lovers, bird watchers, 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. Maquinna Marine Provincial Park, with its natural hot springs, is located about 45 kilometres north of Tofino, a popular daytrip destination for tourists only reachable by boat or float plane.

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Events and Festivals

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 weekend 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 arts and music festival. In November is the Clayoquot Oyster Festival

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Weather

Due to Tofino's warm winters (warmer than either Victoria or Vancouver) yet cool summers, this makes 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 76.8 mm of rain in July - still more than most other locations in BC for that month. During the cooler season, however, there is a lot of precipitation, with 492.1 mm in November alone. Nearly all 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 an average; the median snow amount is 0, meaning most years do not receive any at all, making it the least snowy town in Canada. Due to its location on the westernmost part of Vancouver Island, Tofino faces the Pacific Ocean, unimpeded by any mountains to the west (and therefore not subject to a rain shadow effect like much of the eastern island and the BC interior). Winter cyclonic storms frequently pass over the town deluging it with rain, making it one of the wettest locations in Canada - behind only Prince Rupert on the mainland coast, and other small coastal BC communities. The month of December alone brings more precipitation to Tofino than that received for more than an entire year in parts of the BC interior such as Kamloops and Penticton. Like the rest of BC, summer brings relative dryness due to the differential heating patterns of the land and ocean; abundant sunshine heats the land much faster than the sea which creates an area of high pressure that tends to linger for most of the summer. Even so, it still receives much more summertime precipitation than the interior or even the coast (which can often be susceptible to drought conditions until the onset of autumn).

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Getting There

By Plane

Tofino Airport, 11 km south of the town, 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.

By Car

Accessing Tofino by car from the North American mainland involves taking a ferry to Vancouver Island (from the Canadian ports of either Vancouver or Powell River, or the American ports of Seattle, Anacortes or Port Angeles), landing at either Victoria or Nanaimo, then driving a little over three hours northwest across the island, along Highway 4. Ferry access from Vancouver to the island is provided by BC Ferries. Ferry access from Anacortes is provided by Washington State Ferries, stopping at Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands.

By Bus

There are bus services from Victoria, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Parksville, Coombs and Port Alberni.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet usage is wide-spread in Canada. Wi-fi is available in many locations in larger cities, sometimes free and sometimes at a cost. You will find Wi-Fi in coffee stores, some restaurants and also hotels and motels more and more offer this service for free, but with a code usually. Internet cafes are common along major streets, and and in larger cities, charge between $3 and $4 for an hour, usually in 20-minute increments.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Canada is: 1. To make an international call from Canada, the code is: 011. Emergency services can be reached by dialling 911. This number will give you free access to Police, Fire and Ambulance services and can be used from landlines, phone booths and cell phones.

The populous areas of Canada along the border with the USA have excellent cellular and wired telecommunications, meaning that travellers are never fair from an international phone call home, a WIFI connection or an internet cafe. Depending on the mobile phone provider, coverage could be either CDMA and GSM coverage. Travellers wishing to purchase SIM cards for GSM phones should look for Rogers Wireless, Telus Mobility and Bell Mobility, which all offer nationwide availability.

Post

Postal service is provided by Canada Post, a crown corporation owned by the government but run as an independent business. Most post offices keep hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm though in bigger places longer hourse might be available.

To format the envelope of a letter sent within Canada, put the destination address on the centre of its envelope, with a stamp, postal indicia, meter label, or frank mark on the top-right corner of the envelope to acknowledge payment of postage. A return address, although it is not required, can be put on the top-left corner of the envelope in smaller type than the destination address.

The lettermail service allows the mailing of a letter. The basic rate is currently set at $0.63 for one standard letter (30 grams or less). The rates for lettermail are based or weight and size and determine whether the article falls into the aforementioned standard format, or in the oversize one. The rate is the same for a postcard. Mail sent internationally is known as letterpost. It can only contain paper documents. The rate for a standard letter is of $1.10 if sent to the United States, and $1.85 if sent to any other destination. Oversize or overweight letters may be charged a higher fee. Larger parcels can be shipped via Canada post both domestically and internationally, the rate is dependent on the weight and destination. [1]

Federal Express, TNT, UPS or DHL also provide interntional shipping from Canada and are usually very quick and reliable though might cost a little more compared to Canada Post.

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Tofino Travel Helpers

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This is version 5. Last edited at 10:28 on Feb 22, 16 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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