Head Chef | Cameron Young
About The Spotted Bear
The Spotted Bear Bistro is located in charming downtown Tofino just steps from the harbour, set against the backdrop of the lush mountains of Clayoquot Sound.
Here at the end of the road, be delighted by classic upscale comfort food from a menu that reflects the abundance of quality products available on Vancouver Island. Along with a cozy, intimate atmosphere and an open-concept kitchen, this locals’ favourite also deals in sophisticated cocktails, local brews, and carefully selected wines. The casually elegant dining room combines salvaged wood, seating at a yellow cedar slab bar, antique cookery and eclectic local art for a funky, friendly setting. Private heated patio seating is available in the summer.
Head chef Cameron Young brings a fresh perspective to former-chef-turned-creative-consultant Vincent Fraissange’s tradition of classic French-inspired cuisine. A proud member of the Tofino-Ucluelet Culinary Guild, the Spotted Bear focuses on the freshest and best in local seafood, specialty meats, and Vancouver Island sourced produce.
Chef Young’s seasonal menus include such delights as tuna tartare, braised local octopus, duck breast and daily fish. Also available are chef’s three- and five-course tasting menus, family-style dinners, and an unforgettable weekend brunch (Sundays only in off-season). On an innovative beverage list developed by service manager Meggan Leeck, find Tofino Brewing Company beers on tap, inspired cocktails, and specialty wines and liqueurs.
A perfect setting for an intimate dinner, and ideal for private group events and wedding dinners, the Spotted Bear Bistro truly offers the best of the west coast.
STILL LIFE Vancouver
2315 Main St. | Vancouver, BC | V5T 3C9 | 604-876-5659
STILL LIFE For Him
551 Johnson St. | Victoria, BC | V8W 1M2 | 250-386-5655
STILL LIFE For Her
550 Johnson St. | Victoria, BC | V8W 1M3 | 250-386-5658
Matt Jensen – Owner
Kim Jensen – Owner
Alex Chichak – Vancouver Manager
Jordan Stout – Media
Everyone can be emailed at: shop [at] stilllifeboutique.com
About Still Life
Still Life opened the doors to retail fashion on Victoria, BC’s historic Johnson Street in 1984. Offering locals and tourists a wide variety of vintage and modern fashion for more than two decades, Matt & Kim Jensen took ownership in 2007 breathing new life into the iconic business now nestled amongst a growing community of locally-owned retail shops.
Upon taking over the business Matt, an expert woodworker from Vancouver and Kim, a former product developer for a major retail fashion chain began work on renovations at 551 Johnson Street. What became of the original location was now Matt & Kim’s vision of the new Still Life, filled with quality modern retail brands from smaller, international fashion labels.
In the summer of 2011 the newlywed Matt & Kim expanded their reach, opening the beautiful, new Still Life For Her at 550 Johnson Street, directly across the street from the original Still Life, freshly rebranded as Still Life For Him.
Two short years later, in the summer of 2013, Still Life For Him & For Her opened up a brand new location, just blocks from where Matt & Kim first met in beautiful Vancouver, BC at 2315 Main Street.
With thirty years in business serving the needs of the fashion savvy of Victoria, and now Vancouver, the Still Life brand has never looked better. Continually striving for the absolute best in customer service, brand individuality and quality retail fashion styles from around the globe, Still Life For Him & For Her stand tall as a testament to hard work and quality goods.
Reader K.K. | Lighthouse Pub | Nanaimo Harbour, BC | 4:58pm | SHARE YOUR VIEW
We love posting the photographs that reveal the views from our reader’s windows. Whether it’s a back alley in the fall or a sandy beach in high summer, we’re always stoked to see what you see from home, work or while on the road. What does your view look like right now? Take a snap of it and send it in. Check out the gallery of our all-time reader submissions below… Read more
by Ariel Taylor | So I’ve jumped ship from Vancouver. Well, I suppose a more accurate description would be that I boarded one, but you catch my drift. Over the last few weeks I’ve traded in my urban digs for Cowichan sweaters, ferry lineups and double decker buses. Yup, Victoria is now officially home. Though it was my life as a graduate student that prompted me going rouge, I’m discovering that Vancouver Island has more than enough to keep getting my ass outside, even if it almost always involves a gortex jacket.
Victoria, as you’re more than likely already well aware, sits at the southern end of Vancouver Island, and though it’s a beautiful spot in its own right, its surrounding coastlines have their own allure. The 109kms separating Victoria and the end of Highway 14 at Port Renfrew are particularly stunning; exactly what you’d expect a wild coastal frontier to look like. Home to iconic beaches, surf breaks, and hiking trails, this area has been miraculously spared the development seen in tourist hubs like Tofino, despite being much closer to town.
As the western terminus of the Juan de Fuca Trail and the main access point for the West Coast Trail, Port Renfrew enjoys a steady diet of dirty, hungry, and exhausted backpackers. Botanical Beach sees its fair share of day visitors, but near-perpetual wet weather keeps even them to a minimum. Besides the two annual music festivals hosted there (Tall Tree and Song & Surf), there’s little else to attract outsiders, unless you’re like me and have a thing for giant Douglas Firs and Sitka Spruce.
From the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, take Highway 17 south to Mackenzie Avenue. Exit at Mackenzie and follow it until you reach Highway 1 (also called the Island Hwy), which you’ll take north for about 3km before you exit again onto Hwy 14 (Sooke/Jordan River/Port Renfrew). The trip to Port Renfrew should take around 2 hours. Don’t let the low number of kms fool you, the winding road means you’ll be lucky to crack 80km/hour and a single lane makes passing nearly impossible. Once you’ve gone beyond Sooke, you won’t have another opportunity to fill up on gas (there is no gas station in Port Renfrew), so make sure you have a full tank. At this point you’ll also be out of luck in terms of cell reception. Take your time and plan to make some pit stops at the many beaches along the route. They’re well marked and equipped with pit toilets, maps, and even some picnic tables.
Once you arrive at Port Renfrew, take Parkinson Road down to the docks or follow it all the way to Botanical Beach. Low tide is the best time to visit as the tidal pools reveal the dense ecological network that gives so much life to the region. A 2km loop down to the water offers the best route from the parking lot. For another perspective, head back through town and follow the signs towards Cowichan Lake. The road will take you across the river to a fork. Stay left and you’ll enter the Pacheedaht First Nation where beach front campsites and drift wood shelters dot the lengthy shoreline. Pitch a tent for $20, but make sure you’re prepared for rain (this is officially North America’s only temperate rainforest). When heading home, you can exit the way you came or head back to the fork and take the right side towards Cowichan Lake and then Duncan, winding back over the Malahat (Hwy 1) and down to Victoria. It’s longer, sure, but if you have the time it’s a fun drive along newly paved logging roads.
If you can sneak away, think about making this a multi-day trip, particularly if you’re coming over from Vancouver. You can camp on just about any of the beaches between Victoria and Port Renfrew, so if you have a tent, I suggest using it. There’s nothing quite like falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves or waking up to thick fog blanketing the shore. That being said, having the right gear is key to making this an enjoyable adventure. Warm clothes, waterproof shoes, and plenty of food and water are essential.
If you’re not into roughing it, try stopping into Port Renfrew’s Coastal Kitchen for some delicious local halibut and salmon. Generous portions of homemade pie and fresh coffee make this a visitor favourite whether you’re fresh off the trails or just passing through. For a cold pint, head down to the harbour for a patio perch and a front row seat. There are no shortage of places to crash in town, so go ahead and order two. It’s easy to watch the world go by from here.
Ariel Taylor is a writer and professional student living and working in the West End. Though never short on opinions, she approaches most things in life with an open mind and a grain of salt. She suffers from acute wanderlust (hence her Get Your Ass Outside column) and as a result can be packed for most adventures in 10 minutes or less.
by Andrew Morrison | The next cool thing is the arbutus tree. Nothing says coastal BC to me more than the sight of a gnarled, peeling arbutus tree hanging out over a rocky shoreline. Not even the smell of weed and patchouli can compare. There’s just something about the colour of the shedding red-brown bark and the green flesh of the wood in high summer that whispers of how everything will be alright and that the fire is going strong and the food and the wine will turn out fine and the blanket is soft and the sound of the gentle waves rolling and receding up and down a hundred million perfect skipping pebbles is exactly how it should be if the sun is to go down and the stars are to come out. Though that’s primarily a Gulf Island feeling for me, I’ve seen big ones out at UBC just south of MacMillan Building, in McCleery Park at Marine and 49th, on West 5th between Macdonald and Bayswater, on West 4th Ave between Blanca and Tolmie, and a virtual forest of them close to the water out at Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver.
The GOODS from Spotted Bear Bistro
Tofino, BC | If you’re visiting Tofino this weekend, don’t miss Spotted Bear Bistro‘s Feast Tofino pig roast event on Friday, May 24th. The restaurant is taking a break from its regular Feast menu to host their “Piggy Parts Party: Bits & Bites Inspired by Pig, made with Pig & Love” featuring Spotted Bear’s new head chef, Cam Young. Tickets are $40 per person. Diners can expect a snout to tail pork feast paired with refreshing beer supplied by Tofino Brewing Com. and live music by The Poor Pistols, Tofino’s own all-female bluegrass band. The event will start at 6:30pm with an open seating arrangement. It’ll be a boot-stomping, pork-feasting, local beer-swilling heck-of-a good time with your friends from the Bear! Tickets are limited, so call 250-725-2215 to reserve for this special summer kick-off event today.
The GOODS from Shelter
Tofino, BC | All May is the 3rd annual “Feast Tofino“, the culinary celebration that showcases the bounty we get to enjoy everyday here in Tofino. There are visiting chefs, numerous events, a dock festival and Feast menus showcasing local chef’s creations inspired by the boat-to-table movement. For Shelter’s menu, our kitchen focused on local seafood but used the now synonymous craft beer from Tofino Brewing Co. as its core inspiration. To celebrate this menu (and since we’re the only restaurant in town to offer all of the local brews), we thought it would be fitting to create a fun little video about the unique journey of a keg from the brewery to our taps. Enjoy! Read more
Gabe | Nickname/Abbrev. | Gabe is Gabriola Island.
Usage | ”We’re recording our next record at The Noise Floor on Gabe.”
Hictoria | Nickname | for all its regal pretensions, British Columbia’s capital city, Victoria, is belied by its working class backbone and suburban underbelly. Hence its nickname: “Hictoria”.
Usage | “I once got beat up in Hictoria outside Soprano’s Biker Bar by a bunch of coked up Ed Hardy jocks…”
The GOODS from The Pointe At The Wickaninnish Inn
Tofino, BC | The Pointe Restaurant is accepting applications for the position of “Restaurant Chef”. The Pointe is a free standing restaurant within a successful Hospitality operation. It services not only the guests and patrons in the restaurant but also banquets, room service and off-site functions. Duties include running the night service line; menu creation and implementation in collaboration with the Executive Chef; and providing leadership to the Culinary Brigade. Requirements and details after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Black Rock
Ucluelet, BC | Black Rock Oceanfront Resort on the West Coast of Vancouver Island is looking for a Banquet Chef. The person for this position should have 1-2 years experience running a similar department or in a similar role. Our wedding season for 2013 is fully booked and will require a Chef to run, organize and manage all aspects of our banquets from ordering and MEP to preparation and plating of all foods under the supervision of the Executive Chef. In the off season this person will also need to help by filling various roles on the a la carte team for Fetch Restaurant and Float Lounge.
This is a very demanding and busy section of our kitchen during the summer season, and requires someone with enthusiasm, high organization skills and above all a passion for cooking good food. The position is available immediately or as soon as possible to allow for some training time before the busy season begins! We live in a small remote community close to the town of Tofino, so having a car is helpful but not necessary. If you are not knowledgeable about this part of the world it would be good to do some research before applying. Further details after the jump… Read more
Cactus Club | Place, Restaurant | A homegrown, creeping behemoth chain of inexplicably busy restaurants.
The GOODS from Shelter
Tofino, BC | Shelter is in need of a Cook/Chef de Partie/Jr. Sous Chef. The requirements of this position include being proficient in many aspects of the kitchen, primarily in the short order and/or line cooking position. Applicants must exhibit a positive attitude, a strong willingness to learn, as well as an exceptional work ethic. They should also be self-motivated, desirous of personal growth, and eager to support (and be supported by) a wide variety of personalities within a large, like-minded team. A high standard for cleanliness, food production quality, and personal hygiene are an absolute must. Read more
While we were in Tofino over the weekend, a pod of transient orcas was spotted cruising the surfer’s line up, presumably in an effort to make meals out of some understandably freaked out seals. This extraordinary video was shot by Tofitian videographer Adam Chilton.