Tourism Changing The Town
Tofino and Ucluelet are two small towns located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. They are in the traditional territory of the First Nations people, the Nuu-chah-nulth. The modern towns started out as resource extraction towns -- mining, logging, fishing, but with the creation of Pacific Rim National Park, Tofino and Ucluelet have increasingly turned to the tourist industry for revenue.
While we see the usual western European culture here, we also see a resurgence of the indigenous culture. This rich culture of the Nuu-chah-nulth people is evident in many areas, with upscale galleries, free standing public sculptures and architectural influences on modern buildings.
Ucluelet sometimes seemed like a little sister compared to booming Tofino, but times seem to be changing. Travellers have "discovered" Ucluelet. While it still retains its industrial roots, tourists are coming to see the amazing scenery and wildlife.
Bears abound in the area and are often seen at low tide searching for snacks on the beach. Eagles and herons are common. The lucky visitor may also be treated to a whale display. California sea lions are common in town and on the rocky shores of islands south of Ucluelet in what is known as the Broken Islands Group. The sea liions give the impression that they are big, lazy clowns.
The Broken Islands Group is popular with kayakers who can paddle these sheltered waters during the day and camp on shore at night. On the more exposed Long Beach, stretches of sand beckon the strollers, while big waves call to the intrepid surfers.