In a Tide Guide I picked at the Tofino visitor centre, there’s a picture of a storm watching viewpoint on the Wild Pacific Trail. “Tragically,” it reports, “people are swept off rocky shores every year.” The west coast of Vancouver Island can be a rough place. That’s why I was very surprised to learn about the Wickaninnish Inn, a multi-star resort perched on some rocks overlooking the restless ocean that has been welcoming travelers looking for a place to celebrate a special occasion since 1996. Its plain-spoken, truthful brochure promises “rustic elegance on nature’s edge.”
To celebrate Ruth’s birthday, we had an oceanfront room with a fireplace, a balcony from which we could watch the ocean swell in Clayoquot Sound, which has been declared a UNESCO biosphere Reserve, and some amenities not usually found in accommodations. For example, below is a card that was in our room each day.
This inn is named for the powerful First Nations chief of the Tla-o-qui-aht people. Wickaninnish means “he who sits in front in the canoe”. This inn’s managing director claims that his property is “completely given to unwinding and getting back to nature.” The Wickaninnish Inn has two buildings, the Pointe and the Beach, with a total of 75 guest rooms. There is excellent wi fi, a library, and much of the furniture is made from recycled Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, and Sitka Spruce; but there’s no pool, no air-conditioning, etc.
The Wick completely closes in January. Between March and October, a lot of its guests arrive for whale watching as 25,000 Greys pass through the area. This was a sensational place to be in late December for Ruth’s special birthday, and we hope to return to a place that experiences 200 earthquakes per year. The Wickaninnish Inn’s guest information states, “If evacuation is ordered, ‘Don’t panic’.” Such warnings, it seems, keep no one away from this end-of-the-world destination.