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Every September, a great celebration of the West Coast carver takes place on Tofino's main street on the very edge of Vancouver Island's west coast. This is where you will see many creative and beautiful wood carvings. The festival showcases traditional and contemporary carvings, with exhibits, delicious food, and family programs and demonstrations.

Events include a fine art wood-carving show, demonstrations on traditional canoe-building, Nuu-chah-nulth paddle-making, mask making, burl wood carving, toolmaking, and traditional designs.

Read Powder Matt's take on why carving on the edge is the place to be while visiting the west coast.

Simple but beautiful wood bowls will be on display at the carving festival. 
Photo by Christopher Roy

There will be presentations by master carvers, storytelling events, and family carving workshops for all ages. All events are open to the public at no charge. A "Carving Map" will be available from local businesses and visitor centres will lead festival-goers to event locations.

Featured Artists

Joe and Carl Martin

Tla-o-qui-aht master canoe carvers, Joe and his brother Carl have carved over 60 canoes in their careers. The canoes are found in villages throughout coastal British Columbia, as well as at museums and cultural displays in Canada and Europe.

Master carver Carl Martin will teach visitors to carve a paddle and a canoe.
Photo by Tarina White

Gordon Dick

Nuu-chah-nulth carver Gordon Dick owns and operates a dynamic carving and fine arts gallery in Port Alberni called Ahtsik. Dick has been developing as an artist since he was 15. He has worked in a variety of mediums including painting, drawing, ceramics and woodcarving. His original designs are both contemporary and traditional and with fine details.

Carve your own canoe paddle

Among the festival activities is the chance to carve your own canoe paddle at a three-day workshop hosted by the Martins. The cost is $225 and students get to keep their carving. Joe Martin will host an eight-day canoe-building workshop, which costs $800.

Additional Info

  • For more information visit the official festival website
  • Read our FestivalSeekers story and get inspired to check out the festival.
  • Discover more about B.C. Check out HelloBC or plan an island road trip. 

Are you ready to see some incredible works of art while enjoying everything the west coast has to offer? Share this festival with your friends so they can get inspired too.