A Note From Charles - October 2022

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Charles McDiarmid
By Charles McDiarmid, Owner & Maître de Maison
Newsletters28 October 2022


Having spent my childhood years in Tofino, my memories of the town as it was in my younger years are somewhat different from the Tofino we know today.

My parents had myself and my two brothers to contend with, each born two years apart. My brothers and I would leave the house in the morning and often not return till dusk, spending our days fishing, running about, exploring, and on occasion, dabbling in a touch of lighthearted mischief. Now often bustling in the autumn and winter months, Tofino was once a ghost town after Labour day until July 1st came back around. You would be hard-pressed to see anyone here that wasn’t a resident. With the beaches and waterways to ourselves, we enjoyed the quiet space that allowed us to roam freely. No one lived at the beach at the time because with the winds and rain that Storm Season would inevitably bring, who would ever want to live on the edge of such exposure? As we can see, this mindset has shifted significantly since then, with both residents and guests enjoying our beloved beaches, which are truly some of Tofino’s greatest treasures.

Long before the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve was established, my brothers and I would dig for razor clams which burrow in the sandy shorelines of our most exposed local beaches. Clam chowder has been a signature dish for our family since day one, and these particular clams made for the best chowder. Although one can no longer harvest razor clams within the boundaries of the Pacific Rim National Park, a hearty chowder is still the ticket as winter slowly approaches. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as tucking into a warm bowl of soup on a brisk afternoon or early evening. One can find our Clam and Corn Chowder recipe and many other West Coast delicacies in The Wickaninnish Inn Cookbook.

Looking back on those early days, Tofino was initially connected to the outside world by way of a dedicated logging road in 1959. Gigantic logging trucks would claim the road during business hours on the weekdays, leaving this gravel stretch available for travel only on weekends or outside the hours of 8 am to 5 pm during the week. This was the way of life until 1972 when the people of Tofino, Ucluelet, and First Nations communities were given a choice: the road foundations could be properly rebuilt and the road remain gravel and dusty, or it could be paved over without an update to the underlying infrastructure. As one might guess, everyone opted to pave it. Over the many years since then, the road has been continuously upgraded and repaired in places where its flaws and imperfect foundational elements have quite literally surfaced in sections of cracked or sagging pavement. For those that want to see how it looked back then, click here.

For those wanting to learn more about our community’s history, a visit to the Tofino Clayoquot Heritage Museum makes for a wonderful rainy day activity here. The museum serves as a record of the events and history of this area over the past thousands of years, with archives, artifacts, and fascinating stories on the eclectic nature of the Clayoquot Sound.

With a nod to the cooler days and an introspective season ahead,


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