The Islands Travel Region

Ucluelet, BC

Ucluelet, British Columbia, located on the western coastline of Vancouver Island, owes its name to ancient First Nations traditions. The Nuu-cha-nulth Aboriginal peoples, who inhabited this part of Vancouver Island hundreds of years ago, referred to it as a safe harbor for the fishermen who braved the cold Pacific waters. Today, Ucluelet is known for its sports-fishing opportunities, which include salmon, halibut, lingcod and rockfish. Fishing charters operate out of Ucluelet several times a year.

Ecological tours are highlight of Ucluelet, which lies just south of the Pacific Rim National Park. Established in the 1970s, this 123,459-acre park is considered one of Canada's ecological jewels. Spectacular fjords, pristine rainforest, windswept headlands, islands, and coastline that is crucial to wintering waterfowl make up Vancouver Island's most remote parkland.

The central west coast of Vancouver Island is also known for its superior whale-watching opportunities. Early spring is one of the best times to observe pods of grey whales off the island coast, which is also frequented by a wide range of other marine life.

The Pacific Rim Whale Festival, which takes place in March, is another way to experience this ancient community. Each year Ucluelet, the nearby community of Tofino and the Pacific Rim National Park host a nine-day festival to honour the Pacific grey whale. Educational presentations, music, art displays and of course, whale watching, are part of this popular festival.

While in town, visitors will want to check out a number of local attractions. The Wickaninnish Interpretive Centre examines the history and cultural contributions of Ucluelet's earliest inhabitants, the Nuu-cha-nulth peoples. Nearby Thornton Creek Hatchery is a great place to visit during the fall season when adult salmon return from their ocean runs.

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