Further Afield Trips asks a local in a town well beyond Vancouver’s city limits where to find the best places to eat, drink, chill, and have a good time. Think of it as the country cousin to The Dishes.
Today we head out to the Tofino Resort + Marina’s to get a personalized tour of one of our favourite Vancouver Island towns, courtesy of 1909 Kitchen’s Chef Paul Moran, who just emerged the winner of Top Chef Canada…
Good morning! Let’s take a walk/hike in nature before it gets too hot. Where should we go?
“Tonquin trail starts at the end of town and slowly meanders through the rain forest. Some of the best ocean vistas on the coast. It’s a lovely mix of trail, board walk and stairs. You can even spot edible wild mushrooms on the rail from August through October.”
Is there somewhere along the way we can stop for coffee?
“The trail turns off mid way through and you can stop in to Tofino Coffee Roasting Company in the industrial park, where a vibrant collection of some great eats and drinks awaits…”
Now we’re starving! Where should we eat? (breakfast/brunch or lunch)
“You don’t have to go far! Right next to Tofino coffee roasters in industrial you’ll find the Summit Bread bakery – by far the best bakery in town. Totally organic and tons of natural ferments. I highly recommend the cruffin…don’t ask, just have it.
We’ve got some free time for an afternoon adventure. What do you suggest we do?
“Take a water taxi from any of the providers in town and go for a hike up Lone Cone mountain. If you’re looking for something a little different, check in with the Adventure Centre at Tofino Resort + Marina…so many possibilities. They will even send you out on a DIY crabbing mission.”
That was fun! Now we need a pick-me-up plunge in some cool water. Can you let us in on your favourite nearby place to cool off in?
“The Adventure Centre at Tofino Marina has speed boats for rent. Ask them to plug Cannery Bay into your GPS and you be swimming in the locals’ favourite watering hole in no time. A quick 30 minute scenic boat ride to the mouth of the Kennedy River you’ll find the warmest waters in Tofino and a public dock with a slide…don’t tell anyone you heard this from me.”
Where should we head for a post-adventure beer, glass of wine or cocktail?
“The Hatch Waterfront Pub has 14 beers on tap and a plethora of refreshing libations, not to mention Tofino’s only water front pub. If your lucky you’ll see orcas coming up the inlet from your chair during the summer months.”
Now we’re hungry again. What’s the plan for dinner?
“If you opted to go out crabbing or fishing, you can bring your catch back to 1909 Kitchen. Their #cookyourcatch program brings you into the restaurant and prepares the bounty you caught that day. Didn’t strike out on any fish? That’s ok – they have a full a la carte menu featuring the best Tofino has to offer.”
Any tips on a good spot to take in the view and watch the sun go down?
“Three options: stay at 1909 Kitchen and watch the sunset from the patio over Tofino’s working class harbour; head back to Tonquin Beach; or, if you’re driving, head out of town to Radar Hill for panoramic views of the area.”
It’s time to catch some shut-eye, where do you suggest we stay?
“The Wickaninnish Inn takes shut-eye to another level. It’s by far one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever have the chance to stay. If you’re looking for something a little more budget friendly right in the heart of the action, Tofino Resort + Marina is designed with newly renovated rooms and Austrian king beds – the perfect spot to rest and get back outdoors in nature’s splendour.”
Anything we absolutely have to pack in our suitcase while visiting?
“A good book, particularly one that focuses on all of the wild life or flora and fauna of the region…you can’t go wrong with a mushroom or seaweed identification book in the late summer/fall. If you’ve taken me up on the book suggestion then you may need a beach towel to lie down on while reading at any one of Tofino’s amazing beaches.”