Vancouver Island is the largest island on the west coast of North America and is separated from the British Columbia Mainland by the Strait of Georgia. The climatic influence of the Pacific Ocean tempers the typical freezing Canadian winter temperatures. Winters are mild with significant precipitation and summers are warm and dry. While the maritime influence on the Island’s climate provides for mild winters and warm summers, there are a variety of region-specific climates ranging from semi-Mediterranean in the Southeast to temperate rainforest on the Northern and Western coasts.
Natural resources and service industries still play a significant role in Vancouver Island’s economy. Business services and the educational/knowledge-based sectors are dominant economic mainstays in Victoria and Nanaimo, the two largest cities on the island. Furthermore, Victoria is the seat of British Columbia’s provincial government and the Capital City of the province. As such, Victoria’s economy is stable, comprising a significant proportion of government employees. As a result of the spectacular natural scenic beauty of the region, tourism is also a predominant economic driver on the island, providing a growing component of economic and job growth.
The picturesque District Municipality of Tofino is a small community located on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The town of Tofino resides on the northern tip of the Esowista Peninsula – home of the internationally renowned Pacific Rim National Park. The Park boasts some of the west coast’s most beautiful sandy beaches and expansive spruce rainforests. Also within the Tofino area is Clayoquot Sound; separated by the peninsula from the Pacific Ocean and designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Tofino has a population of about 1,600 and traditionally had a resource-based economy (fishing and forestry). In recent years Tofino has grown tremendously to become one of British Columbia’s premier tourist destinations, receiving over 1 million visitors a year who take advantage of the year round surfing, fishing, golfing, hiking, wilderness tours, bird watching, whale watching, kayaking, and storm watching in winter. Also available are numerous amenities with restaurants exploring west coast cuisine, galleries and craft stores, a hospital and clinic, and over forty different hotels, bed & breakfasts, guesthouses and world famous resorts.