The 31st annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival marks the opening of the region’s renowned whale-watching season and the annual migration of more than 20,000 Grey whales on their 13,000-kilometre journey from the waters of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula to the Bering Sea. Known for the abundance of Grey, Humpback and Orca sightings year-round, the west coast of Vancouver Island is one of the world’s premier whale-watching destinations with more than a dozen operators based in Tofino and Ucluelet, conducting boat tours from March through October.
Thirty years ago a group of concerned citizens wanted to create awareness about the island's pristine eco-system, the then endangered Grey whale population, and coastal traditions. They formed what is known now as the Pacific Rim Whale Society. Although the Grey Whales' numbers have increased, the celebration continues. Festivities each spring are centred around the migration of these great ocean giants — from Mexico to the Artic. You can see the whales gliding past from the beautiful shores of Vancouver Island.
Purchase your festival button, which have been drawn by local children. Buttons are $5 each and grant access to the by-donation events.
Tofino shows its love for whales.
Photo by Jeremy Koreski
Saturday, March 11, Tofino
Parade of Whales and Wonders – Festival opening
Saturday March 11, 2017 : 10:15 am - 10:45 am
Starts at the Wickaninnish Elementary School, Campbell Street Tofino
ARTSPLASH! – Annual ART SHOW
Saturday March 11, 2017 : 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, 596 Marine Dr, Ucluelet
“ArtSplash!” in conjunction with the Whale Festival is the largest Annual Art Show on the west coast. Artists will have their work for sale as well select days will showcase Artists in Action and demonstrate their skills. Fantastic opportunity to see works of established and emerging artists.
Admission: Free – donations appreciated!
Marine Mammal Research, with Subtidal Adventures
Tuesday March 14, 2017 : 9:30 am
Subtidal Adventures, 1950 Peninsula Rd, Ucluelet
Get introduced to local marine animals and learn how to identify individual whales. A local marine researcher will take you on a trip by zodiac boat in Barkley Sound for a fun-filled research trip.
Admission: Adults $99.00, Children 4-12 years $79.00. Advanced booking required as this is a very popular event.
10th Annual Blessing of the Boats
Monday March 13, 2017 : 9:30 am - 10:00 am
1st Street Dock St, Tofino
The Annual Blessing of the boats is a traditional maritime blessing of those who work on the sea. This event is brought to you by the Tofino Clayoquot Heritage Society. Get re-acquainted of the deep maritime roots in coastal communities and the importance of marine activity today.
Flukes & Feathers at Remote Passages w/ Pete Clarkson
Friday March 17, 2017 : 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Remote Passages Marine Excursions, 51 Wharf St, Tofino
For an exciting adventure guides will take you touring into stretching inlet waters and along the outer coast of Clayoquot Sound. An all inclusive experience that includes seeking coastal and inlet birds and migrating grey whales.
Admission $89 per person
CALL 250-725-3330 TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT ON THE BOAT!
Sunday March 19, 2017
Whale Spotting at Amphitrite Point
Sunday March 19, 2017 : 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Amphitrite Point, Coast Guard Rd, Ucluelet
This scenic spot offers views of the grey whale migration, incredible ocean views and much more. Join guest naturalist Bill McIntyre using high-powered spotting scopes as well as the naked eye from Amphitrite Point in Ucluelet.
Chowder Chow Down
Sunday March 26, 2017 : 11:30 am - 2:00 pm
Ucluelet Community Centre, 500 Matterson Dr, Ucluelet
Presented by Food Bank on the Edge.
Sample and vote on some of the best chowder on the West Coast from our local Tofino and Ucluelet and Port Alberni chefs! Make sure to bring your own chowder bowl and spoon!
Here’s a 72-hour trip guideline for when you want a mini-holiday that helps you remember there really is a season between winter and summer.
Share this festival with your pals so they too can get excited about west coast culture.