Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Exceptional (Tofino) Eats

For a village of only 1500 or so people, Tofino has a wealth of fabulous places to eat. For you foodies — and I know you're out there — you may want to take part in EAT magazine's Fabulous Eats survey and contest. (I'll bet SoBo makes the list, but there are many other worthies.)

An Accordion on Chesterman

For your holiday viewing pleasure — this song from Natasha Enquist. Live ... from Chesterman Beach!

Holiday Cheer 2009!!! from Natasha Enquist on Vimeo.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day Trip: Freedom Cove

Quiet, relaxing days here at THOT, but I thought I'd pass on this little gem. A trip to Freedom Cove is definitely on my To Do list. A fabulous creation out in Clayoquot Sound. And oh what amazing gardens. You can grow food here, but it takes time, energy, and creativity. (A few greenhouses help too.) Enjoy!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Prepping for the Whales

The Whale Fest poster has been unveiled. What do you think?

Art by Ucluelet's Angie Roussin. (My apologies for getting your name wrong the first time, Angie!) More on the poster and the March whale-o-rama here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas With George

Thought you might be interested to know what Long Beach George was up to close to Christmas in 1927.

December 11
Everything white with snow this a.m. but got milder after daylight and the snow turned to rain and continued heavy downpour all day. Cleared off at sundown and is a clear star and moonlight night and no wind. Done some baking — pastry and a cake.

December 12
Everything froze this a.m. Fine clear day but did not thaw much and is frost again tonight. Clear but no wind. Cut some wood. Maquinna not leaving Victoria until tonight so I hear. Saw wild geese going south this evening.

December 13
Clear and cold. Sunshine all day but did not thaw much. Cut wood and put it in pile. Went along beach as far as point east. Pete came in tonight from Ucluelet — about midnight. Hunted on the way and got six "coons."

December 14
Fine clear morning, clouded in afternoon and began snowing about four o'clock and still snowing. Ground froze today. Pete went home this a.m. to stretch and dry his skins.

December 15
Snowfall during the night but turned to rain early in the morning and was a cold wet disagreeable day. Went out to the landing in evening to see if the mail was there but did not find any. Fine and clear tonight but frosty.

December 16
Clear, sunshine all day, ground froze and did not that much, frosty again tonight. Went over line east and found it all ok. Pressler working on his boat at landing, called this evening and had supper with me. Eight grouse feeding in yard with chickens when I got here this p.m.

December 17
Fine again today. Got my mail this a.m. Pressler got his boat up as far as the boathouse this morning. Pete H. and Mr. Thistle and Don McD came over from Ucluelet this forenoon, had dinner and supper with me and left here to return to Ucluelet about 7 p.m. Maquinna passed down tonight. Grouse was in the year again this afternoon.

December 18
Rained all day.

December 19
Rained all day again today. Hilderbrand came up this a.m. to get the Barney horse and try and if ok will buy him for one hundred dollars. I will go down to his place tomorrow and put him in the harness.

December 20
Frost last night but clear and was beautiful sun shining day and is still clear tonight. Went to Hilderbrands and tried out the horse was all ok so got the money from him. Have a bad foot after the fifteen mile walk.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

In Season: Tracey's Panettone

'Tis the season for Sweet T's panettone. I usually pick up a loaf (or two) at the Christmas Craft Fair, but I've already gone through my stash. More is available at the bakery storefront. The store is actually in a building on Main St., but you access it from the alleyway behind. When you are at the Village Green, just look towards the water. You'll see a blue building and this sign. Enter to meet the very friendly Deb!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Children: The Heart of Any Community

I try not to get too political on this site — there are other blogs for that — but this is too important of an issue. Please consider taking a few moments to write a letter in support of education for our children.

Looks kind of ethereal and lonely doesn't it? Let's hope it isn't a reality one day.

(Originally posted on the blog, Tofino Residents.)

As a Christmas gift to our communities I’d like to encourage everyone to write a letter (or three) expressing your concern over the impending changes to education on the west coast. Even though we think Wickaninnish Community School may be “safe” for now, our children go to high school in Ucluelet and, more importantly, we all need to stick together on this. Changes to education on the west coast affect us all.

In rural towns, schools form the heart of communities. A quick glance through the small businesses in Tofino and it’s clear that young families are a huge part of the community’s fabric — SoBo, Breakers, Tony’s Pizza, LA Grocery, Pacific Earthworks, Stick in the Mud Landscaping, the Long Beach Golf Course, The Whale Centre, EcoEverything, Tofino Bus, and on and on — all of the people running these businesses and more have young children. It is already an incredible challenge to encourage young families to live here and any further cuts to our already crippled education system

The presentation given to communities by School District 70 is available here:

There is a Facebook site, too.

While cuts have been happening for years, things really ramped up this fall when the provincial Liberal government yanked $980,000 out from under School District 70. This money was already spent over the summer for work on facilities. (Yes, perhaps not prudent, but it was a grant received every year for 20 years and the work must be done in the summer while the schools are empty.) This loss of almost a million dollars has left the school district scrambling. This alone is a “talking point” especially in light of the money spent elsewhere by this government. Education is not a priority.

Options presented by SD 70 to make up for the short-fall include: reviewing all staffing levels, reviewing all service levels (transportation, custodial, maintenance), closing facilities, altering the school year, not replacing retiring administrators (e.g., principals), and exploring ways to increase enrolment and revenue (e.g., international students). What does this mean on the ground? Perhaps longer days and/or a compressed school week, amalgamation of the Ucluelet elementary and secondary schools into one facility, further cuts to staffing (teaching, administration and support), are just a few of the options being batted around.

I encourage everyone to educate themselves on this critical issue soon and make their voices heard. Writing letters is preferable to e-mail, but however you choose to help, please do so soon.

Letters should go to:

School District #70 (Alberni)
(Cam Pinkerton, Superintendent)
4690 Roger St.
Port Alberni, B.C.
V9Y 3Z4

BC Minister of Education – Hon. Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Education
Room 347
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4

Scott Fraser, MLA for Alberni-Pacific Rim
Room 201
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4

Robin Austin, MLA
Opposition Education Critic
Rm 201, Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

Christmas Craft Fair

Hey, my 100th post!

I'm slow posting these photos from the fabulous craft fair held at the community hall last Sunday. My photos are not great, nor do they show the breadth of crafts and food available. 'Twas a fun day for all though. Daughter P tested the local market for gluten-free goodies and did quite well with Christmas treats, including gluten-free butter tarts.

(Kids were welcome, too.)

Speaking of butter tarts, the fair was organized again by Jen Scott, she of the fabulous butter tarts (and other amazing baking; so good that after dinner at her place last night I had to lay on the couch for an hour before I could even roll my way down the hall to bed). It's a huge job, but I think this was one of the best gatherings in years. Sometimes it's all jewellry or all food (or so it seems), but there was a wide range of crafts out this time. Plus, it's just a fun community gathering. Thanks, Jen!

(If anyone with keep pockets is still looking for a gift for me — that "goose bowl" of Adrian's is beautiful!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Latkes For the World

Yesterday a few Tofitians carried on the decade-old (or thereabouts; no one's quite sure) tradition of Latkes for the World. The event was started by one or the other (or both) of the Langer ladies — Shirley and daughter, Val — but since they're not here full-time any longer (but are here in spirit, I'm sure) the event fell to Tofino's self-proclaimed "Top Jew," Ron S with help from Nessa and a few hangers-on willing to give up a few hours on Friday night to grate potatoes, onions and garlic. Daughter P and I helped for a bit on Friday and serving the latkes on Saturday afternoon. It's a simple affair, but one that's been very popular and memorable — at least in our family — since the kids were young. Essentially the crew prepares and cooks latkes for the afternoon, as close to the first day of Hanukkah as possible. Then, people just drop into the Common Loaf Bakery for a free feed, a spin of the dreidl (Ron even put coins out for the kids) and to light the menorah. Thanks, Ron, Nessa, the Floodies, the Common Loaf staff and all the others who helped make it a very fun afternoon. It's the beginning of many wonderful, casual, relaxing holiday events in town, that makes me love staying home during the holidays.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Photos (Courtesy Jeremy Koreski)

Jeremy Koreski graciously sent me some photos several months ago now and I am very slow in getting them posted here. My apologies Jeremy. Please check out this homegrown Tofitian's work here and on his website. The surfers in these photos are Peter Devries and Raph Bruhwiler.

After watching the photographers in action during the O'Neill Coldwater Classic, I have an entirely new respect for how difficult (and bloody cold) it must be to take photos of surfers. Brrrr.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Music (and Musings) for the Mudflats

I blether on a fair bit about the Tofino Mudflats here, but they really are a stunning — and ecologically important — part of Clayoquot Sound. The Raincoast Education Society had a mini-flick contest last year where people submitted their short videos on the theme of mudflats. Enjoy these creative (and wonderfully wacky) Tofitians!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

No, It Doesn't Rain Here All the Time

Despite the reputation as being a place where it rains all the time we often have long stretches of high pressure, which equates to cold, clear, sunny skies. It lifts the spirits, no? Here are some pics of the sound from this morning, and of the pass from a few days ago.

On December 5 in 1927, George Jackson was experiencing similar weather:

December 5
Fine and clear this a.m. beautiful sunrise and like summer all day and ended with a glorious sunset. Went out to the landing for mail and stores this forenoon at high tide, but Grant was not in sight so I returned empty handed and then I cut wood. Tofino phoned in afternoon that Grant had been up late left my stuff, was then too late for tide so had to go and get stuff on the night tide. 10:30 - just got finished and everything in the house at midnight.

"The landing" is on the inlet side of the peninsula - Browning Passage - where the boat from Tofino would come up to deliver mail, supplies and people (who would then walk across the peninsula and on to Long Beach). "Grant" was Duncan Grant or one of his sons, probably Wallace or Bordie, who would deliver the supplies. Jackson's reference to "Tofino calling" relates to the fact that his house was on the telegraph line. Jackson's job was to maintain the telegraph line.

Friday, December 4, 2009

On the Mudflats with Margaret

Last week Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson visited the west coast and Tofino to promote their new books. The event was very well attended and quite fun. The FH was asked to introduce Graeme Gibson and he did very well, despite being incredibly nervous. He work on it for a week and had a lot of questions prepared, which, unfortunately, he didn't get an opportunity to ask on stage.

The presentations by both authors were thought-provoking and, at times, very funny (particularly Atwood). Greg, over at View from The Greg summarized the event well here. There was an article in The Westerly yesterday and even Ms. Atwood posted some pics from her trip on her Year of the Flood blog.

I made both daughters attend. Daughter A was attentive, but Daughter P a bit less so. Still, I told her that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and perhaps (perhaps) one day she can say, "When I was twelve, ...". Bob and I, with our friend Peter, also had a once-in-a-lifetime treat when we were asked to take the couple out birding. We had a lovely time on the mudflats talking about birds, predators, mud, the environment, even butter tarts.

(Thanks Jen from Sobo. They were delicious.)

It was a very enjoyable and memorable morning.

Despite how it looks, she is not recoiling from the eelgrass I'm holding. She was very interested and engaged in everything we talked about.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Designer Colours

Yellow and grey seem to be the colour of the fashionistas this year (or maybe it was last? I'm always a bit slow on the uptake). Regardless, I've been seeing this combo. a lot in design — home, fashion or otherwise. We see yellow and grey in combination all the time here:

You can see why they work.

Light postings this week so far, but I'm on the road. If you're in Tofino or Ucluelet, remember the meeting this evening — 4:30-6 pm in Tofino and 7-8:30 pm in Ucluelet. This article gives some important background.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Oh Susanna's Tough City

So the CBC's Great Canadian Song Quest wraps up today. As I mentioned before, Oh Susanna was chosen to write a song about Tofino. Her song, Tough City, is now available for download and you can hear a snippet here. (You have to click on the province to bring up her link.)

Here's a story from The Westerly on the creation of the song.

I've heard of Oh Susanna of course, but I think this close listen will be sending me back to iTunes for more of her work. (And the rest of the Song Quest album sounds very worth a listen, too.) Her voice is strong and her storytelling rooted in place. I see from her website that she was inspired by Bob Dylan, Sarah Harmer and Ron Sexsmith among others and that her band includes musicians from Blue Rodeo so that seals the appeal — I'm fans of them all.

I downloaded the song this morning and have listened several times now. I'm a sentimental gal at heart, so the song appealed to me a great deal. Tough City is the "she" in this song and in it we hear of the history ("when I was young / there were no roads to spare / only the ocean could carry you there"), changes in the economy (the decline of fishing, for instance), and some of Tough City's new reality ("new people come / with their buckets of money / no notion of staying / or knowing her story"). (I know, I know, that last bit is a sweeping statement, but you can't deny that it isn't/hasn't been true in many cases.)

So why don't you take a listen for yourself? Let me know what you think.

Books and Birds

Look who's coming to Tofino:

Okay, so unless you live here and have heard the buzz or are particularly attune to all things literature in Canada, you may not recognize authors, Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson in this photo (which comes from here, by the way). They are keen naturalists - as you can probably tell from the photo - and are willing to rough it a bit so I'm sure they'll love Tofino.

There will be quite an event tomorrow afternoon with a presentation by Gibson on his latest book, The Bedside Book of Beasts and then a reading by Atwood from The Year of the Flood. Since the event is three hours long I suspect there will be lots of mingling time (and perhaps a few nibbles?) and the proceeds are graciously going toward local environmental education initiatives.

Tickets and more information can be had from Wildside Booksellers, one of two fabulous bookstores in our wee town. I hear the event is almost sold out so act quickly if you haven't got your tickets yet.

(And don't forget that tonight is Jingle Into Christmas. Should you be buying gifts this Christmas, looking locally first would help give local businesses a boost through the slow months ahead.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Horses on Chesterman

Daughter A and I went for a very rainy walk on the weekend. While rounding the corner at the point of Chesterman Beach, we saw this apparition down the beach...

We walked closer...

...and closer...

Horses, of course, are rare these days on Chesterman, but occasionally you might see one, even on the bike path. Years ago, when horses were a mode of travel for a few (not many people had horses out here; a bit hard to get one in without a road) you might have seen horses on Chesterman or Long Beach. And cattle, too. When "the book" is out, I'll tell you more. (I promise; I will do a post about this book one day. It needs a title and more details before "the reveal.") One fellow actually had 50 steer at Long Beach. Amazing to think of today.

[Apologies for the poor photos. It was really raining hard!]

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Long Beach Diaries

From October 6, 1927 to May 22, 1929, George Jackson, a lineman living at Long Beach, kept a journal. As someone who often writes about local history and natural history, Jackson's short observations are a well-spring of information. I thought you might find it interesting to you, so I'll reprint a few of his observations from time-to-time. I'll post them on the same date on which he made them over eighty years ago.

Jackson's house sat on what many locals will know as the Lovekin Property. The Lovekin house was built on the same spot and they used Jackson's house for a time in the 1930s. For the rest of you, Jackson lived on the rise up above Long Beach — up above the parking lots at Long Beach. At the time, all of that area was an open field with grazing cattle and horses. Jackson maintained the telegraph line along the beach, from South Bay (near Tofino) and then down toward Combers, where a lineman from Ucluelet took over. Jackson also maintained a "spur line" up to the cannery at the Kennedy River.

Wouldn't you know it, though, the one page I seem to have missing in my copy of the journal is from November 23 to December 3. So, in lieu of the exact date, here is his entry from November 22, 1927:

A strong S. E. gale got up quite suddenly about daybreak this a.m. after a quiet night. Blew hard all day and rained and still blowing tonight. Did not get out of the house all day. Had a wire from Runcke, he is not able to come out at present for his hunt. Pressler came in this afternoon and full of trouble, wet through. He left Tofino early this a.m. in his skiff, loaded with his camp equipment. Got caught when storm came on, wrecked in Browning Passage. Smashed his boat which sank, his stuff floated out and he got ashore some way and saved most of his outfit. George Evans picked him and his wrecked outfit up and landed them on the float at Mud Bay and he then walked on home before dark and got dry clothes on. Had been wet since early this morning when his boat sank under him. Pretty tough for an old man. He is nearly 70 years. Bill Lornie was the Captain of the Annie Tuck yesterday. Had two other men aboard with him. They broke a tail shaft and was probably out of business. Lucky for them it was yesterday morning not this morning that they were caught. They would not last an hour out there today.

Winter Weather in Pictures

The radio just said Tofino was the hot spot on the island — a whole 8 degrees (Celsius)! Positively balmy. The rainy weather continued this weekend (no surprise there), but we were spared the winds for a few days. Bring it on, I say. It's one of the only ways I can get Daughter P out to the beach — there is a certain appeal with being battered by wind and rain until you're soaked through!

TJ Watt captured our November weather perfectly in these pics taken at Long Beach. Thanks for sharing, TJ!

Friday, November 20, 2009

In Season: Oysters

Wow, it's hard to photograph those babies to make them look appealing! There's oyster fever in Tofino this weekend because it's time for the annual Clayoquot Oyster Festival. There are many activities to take part in if you happen to be in town. Tonight, of course, there is The Mermaid's Ball. Now where are those fins and pearls when you need them?

There's lots of great browsing on the Oyster Festival site, including info on just how good oysters are for you — if you can manage to get them down that is. I have grown to love oysters, but I eat them on my own terms. I love Oyster Bisque or the FH's method of baking the oysters on the half shell and topping them with with hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and a bit of grated cheese. Mike Mullin's Oysters La Pincoya (scroll down the page a bit) is also fabulous and Mike says it's the best recipe to use when introducing kids to oysters. Sadly, it still hasn't worked its magic in my home. (By the way, thanks, Mike, for these oysters!)

Today, though, I think I might just try Oyster Jim Martin's recipe for West Coast Tacos. This is from the cookbook, Vittles and Vignettes: Recipes and Reminiscences of Old-time Ucluelet, which is worth the purchase just for the historical photos and small history notes. It's available from The Crow's Nest and other shops in Ukee.

Oyster Jim's West Coast Tacos

Steam oysters in shell for 10 minutes (or for 8 minutes out of shell). Pop open and grate any soft yellow cheese, like Monterey Jack, over oysters. Broil until cheese melts. Top with salsa. Garnish with tortilla chips. (I suspect wedged inside a taco shell will work well, too.)

One of the events that doesn't involve eating, drinking or dancing, is a tour to some oyster farms via Remote Passages. A great way to get out an experience Clayoquot Sound.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

'Tis the Season

Quick. It's not raining, or blowing like stink, or snowing. 'Tis the time of year to take advantage of the breaks in the weather. I took a quick walk to the beach today before the next storm hits. We had a doozie last night. And the night before. I was driving home in the dark on Sunday night and the height of the Kennedy River was frightening. I suddenly became paranoid of sliding off the road into it — something I'd never considered in the 16 years I've been driving HIghway 4

And then of course we lose power, which I actually enjoy a great deal. That was how Sunday night was spent.

While we rarely get snow out here on the coast, the same cannot be said for the road we have to drive to "get out." This is how it looked Saturday afternoon.

The snow has since been washed away, but it will be back.

So, 'tis the season to be able to enjoy the breaks in the weather as soon as they come 'cos you know something else is riding its butt. It's also the season for stocking up on candles; and putting on the snow tires.

[Further to this post, here are some wonderful photos showing the stormy weather and the height of the river.]

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Long Beach Olympics

In my stupor I thought I'd actually posted pictures of the hoopla from the Halloween weekend. So, unless you are an avid link-clicker, you may have no idea what I was talking about re. the Olympics.

The torch came through town on that weekend, and while I am on the ambivalent-side of the whole event — especially given all of the cuts to schools, libraries, and arts; I could list a range of better ways, MUCH better ways, to spend our tax dollars — I did participate just a bit. We went out to Long Beach because I love the place and I did want to see this:

[Reuters Photo, picked up here]

It was quite a lovely day — drippy and cool, but lots of folks from both towns feeling happy, which is always a good thing. The torch was first met by the Tla-o-qui-aht people and elder John Tom Sr. walked it down the beach to Ruth Sadler who walked it down to Raph Bruhwiler who surfed on by to light his torch. I especially wanted to be there for Ruth, who is a wonderful woman and wife of Jim Sadler, who was a legendary surfer here and one of the first, oh, 40 years or so ago now.

Honestly, the rest of the day and the Gong Show in town with all of the security and cars and confusion I could have done without, but I'm glad I didn't miss the "pass" on Long Beach. This was fun, too:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I have re-emerged from Book Deadline Hell. It was a doozy, and it's by no means over, but at least I have a little reprieve. I'll get out with the camera and some more lucid thoughts asap, but for now I have updated the "THIS is what we do here" and "What Others are Saying" marginalia.

My last post was about all of the surfing excitement around here last weekend. For a bit of surfing history you might be interested in this article. It's nice to see that Peter Devries' mother, Alice, gets some mention too! And Jackie has been busy writing and recording after her week of covering the surf competition. Here are her audio stories.

The photo above is by Jeremy Koreski who, like Pete, is a local "boy" (neither of them are boys, of course). Jeremy is the man behind many of these fabulous surf pictures of Pete and Raph Bruhwiler. Jeremy has graciously sent me a few pictures, which I'll be posting in the near future. Please check out his website.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Surf City

Phew, lots going on this week. Flipping Coast Guard boats, the O'Neill Cold Water Surf Challenge, and...a new road punched through near my house in seemingling less than 24 hours. (Courtesy the Olympics, BTW. Grrr.) I'll be back soon, but for now, here's some pretty beautiful footage of Tofino and surrounding.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh Susanna, Won't You Cry for Tofino

Last night at dinner, Daughter P alluded to the fact I was working 24-7 at the moment. Well, maybe not quite 24-7, but 20-7 perhaps. Not getting a lot of sleep and glued to my computer, but hopefully it will all be worth it in the end. The end being November 1 although that is subject to a major meltdown (on my part). (Did I tell you my computer was stolen...)

Anyhow, at the risk of losing any readers I might have, I'll try to post a few Tofino-related links for the time being. And here's a cool one. CBC has a contest going on Great Canadian Song Quest, I guess they want to replace the Great Canadian Railway Trilogy or Northwest Passage perhaps! Oh Susanna has been chosen to write a song about Tofino. Now that's kind of cool. Here's another link to the same story. (There already is a song written about Tofino, if you recall. I'm sure there are others, too. If so, let me know; send me a link!)

And, of course, the Coldwater Classic is underway and local surfers are making good!

And in the Tofino Loves its Controversy category, things are heating up over these plans for Catface Mountain. First there was this, and that got the troops rallying. I know there were several letters of protest in last week's paper but I can't seem to find them on-line. I'll search a bit more when I have a moment. (Or please send me links!)

There's a history of protest in these parts and if that's news to you, head on over here. (And sometimes, you just have to laugh a little, before you begin to cry.)

And are you looking for a sweet demure little cabin of your own in Tofino? Then look no further.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Keeping Lennard Light Lit

Before I left on my baguette and butter tour, I was all prepped to do a post on the federal government's move to destaff many of the west coast lighthouses. But then I had my computer and a briefcase full of research papers, books, and notebooks stolen from my car in Vancouver. Gone as well were the photos I'd taken of Lennard Light, just off Tofino, so I was sorting that out (and crying into my wine big-time for the grief that little episode caused me) but didn't have time to re-take the photos and prepare the post before I left.

All is well for the moment, however (well, the computer and invaluable papers are still gone) as this has gone away for the moment. I emphasize for the moment, as this silliness raises its irrational head every few years or so. If this blog is still up and running in 5 years, no doubt I'll be doing a post on the threat to de-staff west coast lighthouses. If you want to read a bit about this current attempt, there is a summary of news stories here.

I'm still miffed about the removal of the foghorn at Lennard Light. The electronic peeps are wholly unsatisfying in comparison to the auditory landscape we had historically. The tinny ping is an annoyance compared to the deep lulling baritone of the old fog horns. (And I have also been on a west coast lighthouse IN FOG SO THICK I COULDN"T SEE THE WATER and the "automatic" foghorn had not switched itself on, so I'm not all that confident.)

So, for now, I am relieved for my friend Caroline out at Lennard Light but my ears are perked...

Here's a nice history piece about Lennard Lighthouse and here's a photos.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Connecting Tofino to the World

Apparently the big screens at YVR (Vancouver International Airport) will be showcasing various communities to all those visitors funneling through for the Olympics. The videos have just been released and here is the one on Tofino. All the things you'd expect -- bears, whales, surfers, First Nations' carvers... No rain though! What do you think?

I am on my way to YVR soon, actually to go take a look see at this as the official chaperone of Daughter A and my sister. So, things will be quiet here for a few weeks.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Surfing Season

If you're curious about the view of Tofino from a surfer's perspective, you might want to check out this video, by Vancity Allie.

On that note, the O'Neill Coldwater Classic is coming to the west coast. This is a five-event competition, with the others being held in Tasmania, Scotland, South Africa, and California. The competition is touted as the "1st pro contest to hit Canadian shores." I'm not entirely sure about that—there certainly seems to be a competition or two each year—but I'm no expert in this regard. They're always great events to check out. It will be held October 25-31 at Cox Bay. Bring a blanket and something warm to drink. (And there have been surf competitions here for decades. Not "pro" perhaps, but there were surf comps. down at Long Beach in the 1960s. More later—when this damn book comes out!)

And for the best surfing photos of the west coast (and beyond) around, check out Jeremy Koreski's website. Jeremy grew up in Tofino and he is getting international attention for his work, especially his surfing photos. But his other images are just stunning as well. If you're in Victoria, he has a show at the moment at Habit Coffee, 552 Pandora.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

History at the Pharmacy

I am an admitted history nerd. I've been writing about local history for several years now and the more and more I learn–and the more I interview people about their time on the west coast—the deeper connection I have to this place. I see stories everywhere.

You've got to love a town that posts little history lessons on the exterior of its drug store.

If you were travelling to Tofino (or Ucluelet or anywhere else on the west coast) from 1913 until the early 1950s, this is how you probably would have arrived— on the CPR ship, Princess Maquinna.

And if you fell off that ship, or somehow found yourself in need of rescue at the turn of the century, this is how the lifeboat crew, would have come to save you:

And at the turn of the century and for centuries before, this is how the shore of Nuu-chah-nulth villages looked like during the herring season each spring.

All for your viewing pleasure, on the wall of the pharmacy on Campbell St.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Peace Day in Tofino

Hey, it's International Peace Day in Tofino. Apparently we are the only city in Canada celebrating the day, thanks to the hard work and vision of John Wynne. Bad me for not posting about this earlier (...but there's that book I'm working on that's taking all my attention... it sure hurt yesterday when I was fused to my computer on a beautifully sunny day!) Hopefully if you're in town you'll be able to take in some of the great events planned for the day. Head on down to the village green. It looks like the weather will be on our side!

I just love this poster, a winner in a children's contest I believe.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tofino in the News (and In Season)

Tofino is getting a lot of press in the last few days and not for the best of reasons. This, of course, is wildly overstated. And, this? Well, it just makes me cranky. Aside from the fact that this little escapade was irresponsible, juvenile, and expensive, it has the potential to put a lot of people at risk including FH. And she doesn't want to talk about it? Poor darling. Let's hope a few reality checks with friends and family (and employers perhaps?) will help her understand why being flakey is not such a great quality in the real world where people like you to — ah let's see — show up for work, or not leave people frantic with worry because you said you were going surfing and DON'T SHOW UP AT HOME FOR THREE DAYS! At least the last time this happened the person who decided to take a runner had the courage to be a tad humble. He publicly apologized and thanked the people who searched for them. In fact, I am so impressed with him that you should go see what a fabulous photographer he is. It's clear he's not going to make the same mistake twice. I'm not so sure about Ms. Bianca.

Okay, crankiness over. More goodies are in season. Like these:

It's chanterelle season and thank goodness I have friends who love to pick them (and share). Daughter A and I cooked these babies up and served them on polenta. Yum.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Simple Gifts: Blackberries

Across from our house is one of the largest blackberry patches in town. Blackberries are an introduced species and they are a bit of a scourge around here but at least they are a scourge that tastes good. We can cut the blackberries in our backyard down to the ground and within a few months they're back up again bullying their way across the yard. Still, I tolerate them to a point.

Anytime I see a friend nibbling from the patch across the street I harass them, all in good fun, and tell them to get out of my blackberry patch. I haven't had a chance to pick any berries this year though and I figured they were mostly picked over by now anyhow. We have lots of other berries in the freezer to work through this winter. The other day I was chatting to a woman picking berries -- I don't know her well, but I do know she's lived in Tofino a long time and we often say hello. We chatted about berries (I'd just made my salal jelly, which thickened up well by the way) and, during the conversation, I said that I hadn't had time to pick any blackberries yet.

So yesterday I was walking downtown when the same woman drove by. We waved and then she drove across the street (not particularly safe, but it's much quieter in town right now!) and asked me if I'd had time to pick any blackberries yet. When I said no, she reached into her passenger seat and passed me a huge container of beautiful blackberries. I tried to decline — she'd worked hard for them; it was a huge container — and she insisted, saying "It's about all I can do right now and it makes me happy." The heart of Tofino indeed.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bag-Free Tofino

It's a baby step, but still a step. Tomorrow, Tofino is going bag-free as part of International Plastic Bag Free Day (who knew?). We're pretty bag-free in our household, but I'll keep my eye open tomorrow to see how it goes on the street. Have a great weekend, all.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tofino's First Power Outage of the Season

Yesterday about 4:00 pm or so, just as I was about to begin some earnest writing time — zappo — the power went out. Now the power goes out quite often in the winter, so we are fairly prepared — gas stove, lots of candles, flashlights, blankets, board games — but this was a calm and sunny fall afternoon. Probably an accident on the highway we thought. (As it turns out, no.)

Except when they come the evening before a deadline (it is very hard to explain to publishers in Toronto that the power is out and may be for a day or so), I love these power outages. Daughters A and P seem to as well and are ever hopeful on those Winnie-the-Pooh kind of blustery days that the power will go out so they won't have to go to school and we can build a fort on the couch. It was just daughter A and I last night, so we had our dinner, got a bit of homework/housework done while there was still enough light and then went for a walk. A lot of people had the same idea it seems — the streets were almost bustling. It was a warm evening and we were out in time for a sunset, which we watched from the Crab Dock. We both agreed that we live in one of the most stunning places in the world.

Jackie had a fully charged computer it seems, but sensibly didn't spend the entire evening on it. Here's her take on the evening.

[Female] Surfers, Are Doin' It For Themselves

For your day's read here is a great article (with photos showing Tofino at its sunny best) on female surfers and Surf Sister. From UK's Drift magazine.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tofino Via Liz's Palette

Pat and Liz, from Not An Octagon, were here a few weeks ago sketching and painting. I posted Pat's art last week, and now it's Liz's turn. Most of these were done in the Tofino Botanical Gardens. Check out Liz's website here

And Jackie at Tofino Residents has an interesting post here. If you know any worthy and needy non-profits (aren't they all?) in Tofino, you might want to nominate them for this funding. Thanks Tin Wis!