The signs are everywhere . . .
So why does Tofino call itself, Tough (or Tuff) City?
I have heard two versions:
The first, is that for people in the outlying communities in Clayoquot Sound (so, Opitsah, Ahousat, etc.) it was a shortened form of Tofino — and a bit of a play on words. (e.g., "We're going to Tof.") This only works, of course, when you say Tofino as the locals do, as "Tuh-fino." We don't say "Toe-fino." (Well, not many of us at least.)
The second, is that at one time Tofino was much more of a tough town, especially when the fishing and logging industries were the main employers and the money flowed, especially after a good herring season. The Maquinna was notorious (as in bad) and brawls happened with regularity.
I'd like to hear from others. What do you think?
[UPDATE: Make sure you check out the comments for more thoughts on this. greg b. also contributed this on Facebook:
"The Tough City" moniker is all about urban street image, i always thought. We're so polar-opposite from urban culture that it's an ironic pun. It's also shorter than Milquetoast Small Town.
I call it Toff City, from the Brit slang "toff" -- "a mildly derogatory term for someone with an aristocratic background, particularly someone who exudes an air of superiority." (Wikipedia)]
And here's another update on the first use of Tough City in a business.
In the late 1980s, early 1990s, Anne Gauld designed clothing and had a local shop. She and her partner Crystal Heald first ran the shop out of a boat - The Boatique. Then, when they moved to land, it was Tough City Clothing. After that, of course, came Tough City Sushi, Inn, etc.