By Alyn Edwards
For many British Columbians, a relaxing holiday may best be taken in the fall. School is in, families are busy and fewer people are travelling.
And with its great, moderate weather, fall offers a perfect occasion for a romantic getaway to Tofino, Vancouver Island’s friendly and picturesque West Coast village, for crisp walks through the rainforest, and along the beaches and rocky shorelines. It’s also a great time to enjoy the hospitality of Tofino’s restaurants, pubs and resorts.
Couple getaways and quiet weddings make for a lot of romantic times in the fall.
Sheila Orchiston of Rare Earth weddings is experiencing a much different year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is still very busy with fall weddings.
“Many people have downsized to more intimate weddings or we are offering elopement packages,” she says. “Tofino is still the place people want to get married, with the forests and beaches providing a beautiful place to exchange vows.
She says a lot of couples who have had to cancel destination weddings in Mexico and Hawaii are reimagining their celebrations, and planning to hold them in Tofino instead, and with fewer people.
There is no doubt the number of visitors to this vacation paradise is down from the usual 600,000 per year. But that means the resorts, restaurants and myriad attractions will be quieter and more accessible.
There are 10 surf schools in the Tofino area and the surf picks up a little more in the fall.
Krissy Montgomery, owner and manager of Surf Sister retail surf shop and surfing school, says it’s easy for novices to have fun right away.
“Our lessons are conducted by practicing social distancing. It only takes a couple of lessons to stand up and have a good experience,” she says. “We have wet suits for flotation and to keep people warm.”
The four kayak outfitters in Tofino have more time in the fall to teach novices and help plan kayak day tours.
Thirteen wildlife and sea-life-viewing outfitters provide whale and bird-watching expeditions with the likelihood of seeing these amazing creatures right through November. Bear-watching excursions run right through the month of October.
“People are happy to get out of their homes and be in Tofino,” says tour operator and retailer Jennifer Steven, who has lived in the area all her life. “There is so much fresh air and space in Tofino.”
Foraging for mushrooms that flourish deep in the rain forest is also popular with visitors; while fishing for tuna and salmon is also very good in the fall.
“Our guests are mainly people from British Columbia, as international travel is no longer an option for people and British Columbians are vacationing in their own backyards,” says Tourism Tofino’s Danielle Fox.
She says there is appropriate social distancing on trails and beaches. Local restaurants, resorts and businesses have adapted well to providing safe environments by meeting provincial requirements during the COVID-19 crisis.
“You might have to wait a little longer for your morning coffee but we’re asking everyone to be responsible tourists,” Fox says.
There is so much to do in Tofino, including celebrating the arts and culture, shopping, going to the pub or visiting the local distillery. And fall can be a more relaxing time of the year to take in the beauty of the beaches and majesty of the forests. Romance is in the air.
Learn more at tourismtofino.com
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