The Wild Sides – Rugged Vancouver Island Becomes a Sophisticate’s Dream

The Wild Sides – Rugged Vancouver Island Becomes a Sophisticate’s Dream

I’m propping up the bar at the Wolf in the Fog, a buzzy restaurant in Tofino, cradling a Cracker Jack cocktail — made from popcorn-infused rum, Canadian whisky, honey, macadamia-nut liqueur, lime and local salt water. It’s possibly the effect of that improbable combination, but I’ve lost count of the number of man-buns in the room. I’d heard this 30-mile stretch on the west coast of Vancouver Island was a mecca for foodies and adventure-lovers, but I hadn’t expected this particular town to be so hip.

In the ’60s, Vietnam draft dodgers drifted to Vancouver Island — if you’re looking to disappear, where better than a rugged, sparsely populated, 12,400-square-mile enclave of Canada’s Pacific coast? Most of them settled in Ucluelet and Tofino, two fishing towns about 25 miles apart. Later came the surfers, chasing the big waves.

tofino-village-vancouver

Tofino Village – Vancouver Island

Eventually the zeitgeist of these villages became sporty-hippy, creating a hub of Canadian and American artists, outdoorsy types and early organic farmers. Nowadays, the best way to describe many of the 2,000 Tofino residents is buff-boho, with bearded men in flannel shirts warding of freezing winds and women clad in shorts and hand knitted beanies year-round.


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