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From world-class surfing to a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Tofino is Canada’s Pacific paradise

Located on Vancouver Island's west coast, the community of Tofino is bounded by the open Pacific Ocean, world-famous Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. But don't let its small size mislead you. Though only 1,755 people call this remote west coast area home, it sees more than one million visitors a year, all year round! It's a truly unique and stunning destination that offers outdoor adventure, resort accommodations, unparalleled surrounding waters and out-of-this-world gastronomic fare. Here are just a few reasons to visit:1. Eco paradise: Tofino has become the naturalist's "Riviera." It's surrounded by ancient coastal temperate rainforests (B.C. has 25% of the world's remaining old-growth rainforests), the Clayoquot watershed, pristine wilderness and several protected areas.

2. Surf's Up: Tofino is known as Canada's surfing capital. It is home to eight surf schools, and about 8,000 people travel to Tofino specifically to surf every year. It has 35 kilometres of surfable beach with a cool constant water temperature of 10 degrees Celsius.

3. Storm Watch: If the weather outside is frightful, you can bet visitors and Tofino residents are watching the magnificent storms. The winter season is storm-watching season in Tofino, and from November to February you are most likely to witness the drama of the crashing waves, 6-metre-high breakers and howling gales. Most local resorts and hotels supply rain gear (Tofino's annual average rainfall is 324 cm) and encourage guests to use the beaches year-round. The Wickaninnish Inn—a landmark property perched on its own on the island's western edge—regularly features Storm Watcher Packages.

4. Taste buds: Food lovers around the world travel to Tofino each year specifically for the food. The culinary scene has such a huge following that a group of like-minded chefs, restaurant entrepreneurs and culinary visionaries created the Tofino–Ucluelet Culinary Guild which helps to support events like the 14th annual Clayoquot Oyster Festival held in November.

5. Year-round wildlife spottings: From furry-faced sea otters to leaping salmon and black bears, Tofino has ample not-to-be-missed wilderness moments. Many tour operators in the area provide guided habitat tours. If you're travelling to Tofino between March and October, keep an eye out for the humpback and gray whales, orcas and sea lions. Tofino is on the whales' migrating path, though you can spot them year round.

6. Fascinating fact: Tofino is as far west as you can drive by car or bus and is still on the only paved road to the open Pacific Ocean in Canada. This end-of-the-road distinction has earned Tofino the role of official terminus of the Trans-Canada Highway.

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