Pacific Rim Whale Festival returns to Tofino-Ucluelet

Annual festival returns to two-week length starting March 12

The annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival in Tofino-Ucluelet returns to its two-week length starting on March 12.

The annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival in Tofino-Ucluelet returns to its two-week length starting on March 12.

The Pacific Rim Whale Festival has announced extended dates for the 30th Annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival being held in Tofino, Ucluelet and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, from March 12 to 27.

While the annual festival has grown over the past 30 years, the festival itself, once a three-week celebration, has over time been compressed down to nine days. With spring break encompassing two weeks on the coast, it now makes sense to re-visit the length of the festival.

“This will allow us to create new events, spreading them out so more people can attend,” stated festival coordinator, Susan Payne. “As organizers, it’s a bit of a challenge to compress 40 or 50 events into nine days. Extending into another week gives us a chance to allow some space between events, and takes the pressure off our hard-working volunteers as well.”

Marilyn McEwen, the treasurer of the Pacific Rim Whale Festival Society, and part of the organizing committee for the past 18 years stated, “The whalefest will not only celebrate the onset of spring and the northerly migration of the grey whale population, but 30 years of the history and culture of the festival, showcasing its beginnings right up to now.”

The PRWF marks the opening of the region’s renowned whale watching season, and the annual migration of over 25,000 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 Tofino-Ucluelet area is one of the world’s premier whale watching destinations with more than a dozen operators conducting whale watching boat tours from March through October.

Over the course of the past 30 years, the communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island, once dependent on resource-based industries to fuel their economy,  have transitioned into tourism communities. Both Tofino and Ucluelet offer accommodation from all levels from camping to give-star resorts, in addition to hiking, kayaking, fishing and whale watching opportunities.

Educate, inspire and entertain is the key message of the festival, with many of the events and guest speakers revolving around ocean conservation and education.  This year, world-renowned photographer Paul Nicklen, with Christina Mittermeier will present in Tofino on March 26, courtesy of Ocean Outfitters. Nicklen has published 11 stories for National Geographic magazine, including the Auguest 2011 cover story on the elusive spirit bear. His latest book, Polar Obsession, was published by National Geographic in November 2009.

The festival also offers special culinary events that have been a tradition for over 15 years. The Wickaninnish Gala and Silent Auction is a culinary feast of food and wine parings produced by executive chef Warren Barr and his kitchen brigade. Also offered is the Chowder Chow Down, a friendly competition of local chefs and their best chowder recipes.

Maritime Kids’ days happen in both towns with many interactive activity stations. This years’ special guest is Strawberry Isle Research’s Build a Whale, a full whale skeleton that the kids put together and learn about the insides of whales.

Artsplash! art show at Black Rock runs through the festival and showcases many local artists in various mediums. The Tofino Arts society brings the Artist Migration to celebrate the many eclectic talents of local artisans.

For a list of events, check out the website at www.pacificrimwhalefestival.com The website will be updated as events are confirmed.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered Langford teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

The speculation and vacancy tax raised about $1.21 million in Sidney and North Saanich combined. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich and Sidney property owners paid $1.21 million in speculation and vacancy tax

Speculation and vacancy tax raised 6.5 million in Greater Victoria

Saanich parks staff will be applying a herbicide called Garlon XRT in Sayward Hill Park between Jan. 18 to 29 to control the invasive species English holly and hawthorn. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Herbicide used to target ‘priority’ invasive species in Saanich park

Treatment applied to English holly, hawthorn stumps, in Sayward Hill Park

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely first in B.C. for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Located at 9750 West Saanich Rd., this North Saanich mansion is on the market for $10.25 million. (Realtor.ca photo)
Located at 9750 West Saanich Rd., this North Saanich mansion is on the market for $8.65 million. (Realtor.ca photo)
The five most expensive homes for sale in Greater Victoria

A roundup of luxury estates currently on the market

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

Black Press file photo
Investigation at remote burned-out Vancouver Island cabin reveals human remains

Identity of victim not released, believed to be the owner of an SUV vehicle found parked nearby

Angela Waldick is the new team photographer for the Nanaimo NightOwls. (Nanaimo NightOwls photo)
Half-blind photographer will help new Island baseball team look picture-perfect

Nanaimo NightOwls say legally blind team photographer is making history

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Dog owners, from left, Marlyn Briggs with Nayla, Marjory Sutherland with Effie and Mick, and Christina Godbolt with Conon walk their pets frequently at the Chemainus Ball Park but are growing increasingly concerned about drugs being found discarded in the area. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Puppy rushed to emergency 3 times after ingesting drugs in Chemainus public spaces

Dog owners walking in Chemainus parks urged to take caution

Most Read