Check out a few of Port Alberni’s cultural, ecological and historical views, along “Canada’s Surf Highway”.
EACH #THEREALWESTCOAST PHOTO TAGGED AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS WILL COUNT AS AN ENTRY FOR ONE OF 3 GRAND PRIZES
*FOR FULL CONTEST DETAILS PLEASE VISIT THEREALWESTCOAST.CA.
Pull over and sing the praises of this glorious stand of old-growth Douglas fir trees, where you can walk a network of trails on either side of the highway.
There’s no better intro to Port Alberni than time spent at the Harbour Quay. This waterfront area offers some cool little eateries and shops (and a playground), as well as a scenic viewpoint on the Alberni Inlet, Vancouver Island’s longest inland waterway!
This iconic First Nations sculpture, carved of yellow and red cedar, now lives on the boardwalk at Victoria Quay, where Johnson Road meets the Somass River.
Board this train, pulled by a restored 1929 Baldwin ex-logging locomotive at the 1912 CPR station and take the 35 ride through the city and its forested ravines to the Mclean “Steam” Sawmill. Gregarious retired loggers demonstrate the logging process of bygone days with the use of the “steam donkey”.
Follow the shady trail at the eastern end of the Lake, and discover one of the finest panels of prehistoric petroglyphs in British Columbia. Little is known about this petroglyph, named K’ak’awin, but it isn’t hard to imagine this rock carving as depicting some mystical ancient monsters of the lake.
Tucked away where the forest meets the beach, right by the Wickaninnish Inn, this rustic shed is a workshop for some very talented wood carvers. Warning: You may want to settle in and apprentice, too.
She was carved in 1984 by Godfrey Stephens to aid the first protests against logging the ancient rainforests of Meares Island. Politically and culturally significant, she now stands facing Meares Island Tribal Park at the Alberni Village Green playground, a reminder of Clayoquot Sound’s important environmental history.
This new trail walks you through old-growth rainforest to small, sandy and almost secret Tonquin Beach. Get comfy in one of the coves or, if you’re lucky, see the fish jump right out of the water!
Situated on Alberni’s historic Main Street at Third Street, this small park overlooks a working harbour and allows for views of Meares Island Tribal Park, including the colourful homes in the Tla-o-qui-aht community of Opitsaht.
This is it, the end of the Trans-Canada Highway! Take that photo right in front of the hand-painted orca sign and enjoy the views and life on the First Street Dock. Although the “official” terminus is down-island in Victoria, we think you’ll agree that true end-of-the-road culture lives here, at the end of Canada’s Surf Highway.
Find these other iconic roadside attractions to truly experience #therealwestcoast!
PACIFIC RIM NATIONAL PARK RESERVE:
KWISITIS VISITOR CENTRE (Contest Checkpoint: BALCONY)
Situated on sandy, driftwood-bordered Wickaninnish Beach, the balcony of the Kwisitis Visitor Centre offers jaw-dropping views of the open Pacific. Don’t miss this.
This trail, divided into parts A and B on both sides of the Pacific Rim Highway. Take a photo break in the 2 red chairs placed conveniently for an up-close view of a giant cedar.
Named for the rock with sweet views of Long Beach, this part of the beach is part of Canadian surf history, with visitors and residents alike changing in and out of their wetsuits here for decades. Get yours on and ride some waves, go beachcombing or settle in the sand for some YOU time. (Driving a RV? Park in the Long Beach lot, steps away from this one.)
Tucked in behind the Kwisitis Visitor Centre on the pretty, 1.6km South Beach trail, is a beautiful totem pole representing the sky, sea and earth . Snap your photo, then continue on and connect directly to the longer Nuu-chah-nulth Trail.
While Ucluelet isnamed after the Nuu-chah-nulth word meaning “safe harbour”, the open ocean on its outer coast is known as the “Graveyard of the Pacific” on this coast. Your walk on the Wild Pacific Trail will give you several dramatic viewpoints of these storied waters. Get up close to the 100+ year-old Amphitrite Lighthouse!
Accessible directly from Matterson Drive (and across from the Ucluelet Community Centre), west-facing Big Beach is a great spot for a picnic, beach fun or a sunset at low tide. Find the hidden shipwreck from 1900!
Reach in and touch the marine life with this waterfront aquarium’s touch tanks! The Ucluelet Aquarium is literally part of the local marine ecosystem: All species are gathered from the local waters – and released back to their aquatic home in December!
Spot the giant, hand-forged anchor in front of this photogenic working harbour, a slice of West Coast life.
Take a scenic shot from the historic Ucluelet waterfront, with mighty Mount Ozzard (pronounced oh-zard) in the background at 766 metres (2,500 feet). It’s still known as Chuumata in the Nuu-chah-nulth language.
SUTTON PASS SUMMIT – (Contest Checkpoint: TLA-O-QUI-AHT WELCOME SIGN)
You’re at the peak of Sutton Pass, at an elevation of 240 metres (787 feet). You’re also entering the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht who has lived here for time immemorial.
Pull over by Wally Creek, admire the rapids – and cinch your love lock to the newly-erected fence!
Glide over the Kennedy River canyon and through the forest canopy on a series of ziplines. Are you up for the adventure?