Trail Canada Newsletter
Issue 11.0 - 19 September, 2007

Are you geared up to explore the West Coast? With its laid back approach to life, great climate, outdoor activities, beaches, forests and mountains the West Coast is the place to visit whatever you are looking for from a vacation.

So get your surfboard, fishing rod and corkscrew ready and start planning your next trip.

In this issue:

Tofino: The Hidden Gem That Has It All

Salmon fishing on the West Coast - Get your Salmon on!

A Tour of Vancouver’s Wine Country

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Tofino: The Hidden Gem That Has It All

By Brigitte Mah, Trail Canada

There are very few places in the world that offer both serenity and excitement in the same location. Tofino, a quiet fishing village-turned surfing Mecca, is proud to be one of the rare towns that can provide a visitor with a natural respite from a busy city or an adrenaline rush for the adventure hungry traveller.

Located on the south western side of Vancouver Island, Tofino is blessed with the privilege of having pristine wilderness and open waters. Known once for its fishing industry, the small town is fast earning a name in the west coast surf world, boasting waves for both the novice and expert surfer. If you can tolerate the cold – the Pacific Ocean changes only 3 degrees in a year – and want to feel your heart thumping in your chest, this is the place to go. There are several surf shops in town that offer both lessons and surf rentals, and all rentals come with wet suits, hoods, booties and roof racks. Surf Sister offers women-only surf lessons to encourage women of all ages to learn the art and sport of surfing. Long Beach Surf Shop carries a large selection of surf boards and wet suits and offers low rental rates. The best places to surf are Long Beach and Cox Bay, and although Cox Bay shares its waters with Pacific Sands Resort, there is a public access road a few kilometres west of the resort’s entrance.

Surfers aren’t the only ones catching the waves of the Pacific Ocean. If you take a walk on the beach you will see boogie boarders and, in low tides when the water on the shoreline is flat and shallow, skim boarders. Long Beach Surf Shop both sells and rents boogie and skim boards – both good alternatives to surfing and great for kids to enjoy.

Of course, there is much more to Tofino than its surf scene. The town is situated on the north part of the Pacific Rim National Park and is host to the rich temperate rainforest that thrives on the cool, moist climate of the west coast. A visit to the Wickaninnish Centre and the Botanical Gardens will orient you with many of the unique species and plants native to the area and will allow you to marvel in the beauty of the natural wilderness that surrounds the town.

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Salmon fishing on the West Coast - Get your Salmon on!

By Nikki Lotz, Trail Canada

Its fall and that means Salmon season! As chum salmon make their way to shallow waters, hunters of these denizens of the deep prepare to partake in the heart stopping, adrenalin inducing thrill that is the Salmon Run!

There are 5 different Salmon species, the largest of which, the Chinook, can weigh as much as 50kgs. The species differ slightly in breeding rituals, but most are spawned in fresh water rivers. The small salmon swim down into the nutrient rich waters of the Pacific where they live for a couple of years until maturity. They return to the breeding grounds, making epic journeys upstream to spawn in the shallow waters that once gave them life. Once they have spawned, their decaying carcasses provide food for other forest dwellers.

The sport of Salmon fishing is shared with sea lions, orcas, eagles, seals, sea otters, dolphins and a variety of birds and ducks. Bears are also avid fishers, using claws and teeth to pluck fish from the water. They can be seen along river banks where they feast on the salmon in preparation of their winter hibernation.

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Top Photo

Surfing at Long Beach, near Tofino, Vancouver Island

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A Tour of Vancouver’s Wine Country

By George Froehlich, Trail Canada

Magnificent country estates nestled among rolling hills, fresh farm produce, Llamas, sheep, purebred horses and cattle and of course wine, glorious wine. These are some of the treats that await you and it only takes 35 minutes to get you started. This isn’t Napa Valley or the Okanagan but the Ladner, Richmond, South Langley and Fraser Valley areas of British Columbia, a stone throw from downtown Vancouver.

British Columbia has four key areas where grapes are gown. The Fraser Valley (the areas just outside of Vancouver), the Okanagan, Vancouver Island (this includes the Gulf Islands) and the Similkameen Valley in the interior of B.C. Grapes are harvested in September - October for regular wines and ice wines in November - December.

A lot of the Greater Vancouver wineries have come first in international competitions. Their wines are reasonably priced, they have great tasting rooms, and you can buy right on the premises – often the only place you can purchase from. Along with your wine you can buy artisan food products such as fine cheese, wine jellies and jams and other condiments.

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That's all for now!

See you on the trail,

James Shearer
Trail Canada Editor

Canada's most popular independent travel guide
www.trailcanada.com

Part of the Trail Canada Travel Network
www.trailcanada.net

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