“You need to pay more attention to your Chi.”

I heard those words while sitting in a diner in Tofino, B.C. today. Seemed to resonate soundly, fitting completely with the laid back young atmosphere of this rainy little resort town.

Tofino is a beautiful anomaly. It hardly rarely gets any warmer than 15 degrees during the summer (59 Fahrenheit) or cooler than 8 degrees (43 Fahrenheit) during the day in winter. Since it exists in a rain forest, the predominant weather is….rain. Lots and lots of rain. The cheerful residents wander around town in rain boots and rain coats. You can spot the city folk (raising hand) by the fact that they’re sporting umbrellas.

Yet, for all of that, the place consists of people in their 20’s. They’re attracted to this place. I asked my host why that was.

He said “like attracts like. There are young people here, and that attracts more of the same.”

Seeing my half-accepting nod, he continued. “Plus, there aren’t that many full time jobs here. They’re all seasonal. So it’s rare that families choose to settle here.”

He thought some more. “And they really like the great surfing here too.”

This completed a picture. Yesterday, at the same little diner, I shared a table with a long-time middle-aged resident who mentioned he just bought another property.

“Must be hard getting decent tenants” I offered, drawing upon my extensive knowledge of landlord-tenant dynamics from my home in Toronto.

He sipped his coffee. Nodded. “Yeah, they only seem to want to rent for a short time. There’s a constant turnover of residents.”

The air around this town is thick with the ambience of one word: wellness. The people are fit, alive and above all, friendly. Torontonians are generally left a little pole-axed by the redolent joy of this place. There is no rushing, about anything. You don’t meet anyone while walking and not at least nod at them. What normally would be a five minute trip to the grocery store in the big city turns out to be a fifteen minute joyful experience in Tofino: residents just love to talk and meet new people. Before you walk out with your milk and bread, you’ll know a heck of a lot more about those who work in the store: where they came from, how long they’ve been there, and how cool the surfing is.

There is a surfeit of massage practitioners. Most of them offer a range of therapies including aromatherapy and Reiki. And lots of advice on how to live a healthier lifestyle. There are no fast food places here. It’s all very very healthy. If you don’t feel like visiting one of the little restaurants, you can always purchase some organic foods to bring back to wherever you’re staying.

All of the gorgeous little (and big) resorts outside of town are connected by two things: a small highway for the cars, and a paved walkway for pedestrians and cyclists. Both see lots of use. Certainly the latter is a dog walker’s paradise. All of this is surrounded by greenery, trees.

Bears and cougars have been sighted here from time to time, too. My host mentioned that one time, his guests were pretty much confined to their suite for a while because there was a mother bear and her cub hanging out, just outside their door.

On my last visit to this town, I was playing a board game with my hosts when I spotted movement outside their plate glass dining room window. I looked closer. It was a big lumbering bear, calmly making his way from the front yard to the back yard. My eyes must have been bugging out, because my host laughed. He was used to it, whereas the only dangerous wildlife this Toronto boy had ever encountered before was a slightly gassy beggar asking for change on a dim street corner.

You don’t lock your doors in this town. There’s no point. Everyone knows everyone. It’s just that kind of place. (Plus, bears and cougars don’t have opposable thumbs. So it’s all good.)

Yesterday, we took a long walk down to the ocean and saw this:


In spite of all of this beauty, there are a few things I miss.

A decent internet connection.
My PVR. (Yeah, I’m addicted to my TV. Sue me.)
The night life of the big city.
A movie theatre on every corner. (Well not quite on every corner. Enough of them though).
Transit. Being able to get from A-B relatively quickly.
Sunshine. That’s a big one.

When I get back to Toronto, there is one major aspect of Tofino that I know I’ll miss.

The amazing and endearing friendliness. You can’t smile and wave at someone in Toronto without them scrambling to press the 911 speed dial on their iPhones.

(This blog is lovingly dedicated with thanks to my hosts: Miche and Angie. The latter is my daughter. The former is not my daughter.) :)

  1. Jack says:

    Hey WS sounds like a place I would love but yes the Internet would bug me too. What brought you there? Intrigued as to the back story…


    • wolfshades says:

      Well it’s been a while since I saw my son and daughter, both of whom live here in Tofino. She and her boyfriend hosted me. :). Best Christmas I’ve had in a long time.

      Happy New Year Jack!


  2. You’ve left me with the impression of a magical place I would love to visit. All but the incessant rain speaks to me. We get enough rain here in the Pacific NW USA that I long for sunshine. Like Tofino, we know the out-of-towners by their umbrellas. :)

    Even though I’m not 20-something, I tend to enjoy the vibe created by that generation. I’m not impressed by the prevalent lackadaisical work ethic, but at the same time I admire their carefree commitment to simply enjoying life. I’d like to find a middle ground between that generation and mine.

    Sure wish that I would get regular notifications of your blogs. Looks like this one came in days late again.


    • wolfshades says:

      Well I guess there’s romantic rain and then there’s just pour-down-your-back-fill-your-boots rain. I actually enjoyed the latter one night on the rainiest days of the year (over the course of two days they had 8 inches of the stuff). Decided to go for a walk in it, just to the store and back. Plugged in my iPhone and listened to “The Tragically Hip” while walking. The juxtaposition of “At the Hundredth Meridian” with the rain pouring down in sheets and me slogging through little mini-lakes was magic.

      The magic stayed with me, as I got what I wanted at the store and was on my way back, until I realized that there was rain in water in both of my boots: some had sneaked past my supposedly rain-repellent jacket and down my back as well. And then I realized how soaked my jeans were – and that my iPhone was in my pocket, at this point entirely unprotected from the water. The next 20 minutes or so I was torn between “should I turn off the iPhone?” and “but if I take it out, for sure it will get water in it.” In the end, I left it on. It was OK.

      For the entire trip, the air was warm enough such that I never felt really chilled, like I would in Toronto. But it sure was never short-sleeve weather either.

      I really liked the town’s vibe. One time while walking I saw a couple on the street, arm in arm, walking toward me. Their body language, including their smiling faces, provoked an expectation of warm greeting – and that’s what we gave each other. So nice. And so very much not the norm in T.O. (We also call Toronto T-dot)

      Really don’t know why you’re not getting the notifications Katy. I wonder: if you deleted your subscription and then re-subscribed, would that fix it?


  3. Tofino Chamber of Commerce should pay you for this enchanting description of their town. You have made me wish I could visit. The only thing that is a turn off for this Florida lady is the temperatures. We dress so close to naked here that I cannot imagine putting on layers of clothes year round… I did have the good fortune to grow up in an idyllic town in Florida, however my hometown would be more aptly named “Paradise Lost” now… I moved to Orlando 32 years ago, for all the same reasons you love Toronto. My hometown has changed so much that I hardly recognized it during my last visit and they certainly have reason to double lock their doors and windows now. It is so sad to think of how it was and how it is now.

    Tofino sounds wonderful!


    • wolfshades says:

      Tofino *should* pay me! You’re right! :)

      I’m already thinking of warm places to live at some point. A doctor friend of mine has a place in Panama which he loves – precisely because of the warm weather and great cost of living. Right now, Canadians are buying up properties in the U.S. at incredible prices, so Florida sounds pretty attractive – except for the crime stuff you mention. So maybe I’ll bypass Orlando for a bit. :)

      Tofino is incredibly great. Yet I know the rain (and the moderate-but-not-hot temperatures) would take their toll. Not that long ago I suffered from constant migraines – it was at that point I knew that not seeing the sun for much of the year would have been a boon. Now – not so much.


  4. This blog is useless without pictures of the young, fit female residents lay on the beach. In the rain.



    • wolfshades says:

      Yeah – there were no such animals in Tofino. Any time anyone goes in the water – they’re usually wearing wet suits, even for surfing. The temps don’t lend themselves to the kind of relaxing activity you mention, mate. :)


  5. simone says:

    hey ws.

    i had to delete your comment from my post because i’m truly super paranoid… i’d email the long drawn out story, but it’s just so lame it’s not worth it.

    nice to meet you. hope we can leave random comments that don’t have anything to do with the blog post more often… :)


    • wolfshades says:

      HI Simone! Yes, I saw that. :) I put two-and-two together and realized that even discussing that-which-not-be-discussed was dicey. However, now that you’re here, there’s no censor police hanging around. :)

      When I moved away from MySpace and was searching for a new blogging community, I tried out blogster, blogger and a few others before landing here. One of the things that kept me away from the one you work with was exactly that: a heightened sense of “morality”, coupled with their seeming willingness to censor anything they found objectionable.

      Too bad, really. There’s so much promise with that blogsite and they have to go and ruin it with this nanny mentality (Ok I’ll get off of my soapbox).

      You are absolutely welcome to post a random comment any time you like. I’ll subscribe to your blog (probably by posting a link in my blogroll) too. Great to meet you!


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