Winter Storm watching at The Wickaninnish Inn
While most of Canada lives winter under a blanket of white, the West Coast of Vancouver Island grows green, green, green as it witnesses the fury of howling gales, 20-foot breakers, and enough rainfall to keep our pristine temperate rainforest alive and well. All this drama is courtesy of the Gulf of Alaska’s Aleutian Low, formed from the growing contrast between the warm air over the North Pacific and the cooler landmasses of Asia and America . The ensuing natural furor is a spectacular site for the newly initiated, or for the “seasoned” winter storm watching enthusiast. Since 1996, the Wickaninnish Inn has been the original winter storm watching destination on Canada’s West Coast (see our aptly-named Storm Watchers package) but how, oh how, did we even come up with this concept? Leave it up to the McDiarmid family for originality, but long before plans for the Wickaninnish Inn were even inked on blueprints, the family hiked a rugged shoreline trail to their cabin built on the first point west past the Inn. When a winter storm hit, a frequent occurrence from November through February, the McDiarmid kids would sit by the fire and watch the waves explode against the rocky shore so much better than television! Some thirty years later, The Inn was designed so that every single room, suite and public space would allow for a view of the ocean and that all guests would live the excitement of viewing our legendary West Coast winter storms from luxurious comfort inside. For a closeup of the storm action, reserve a couples massage in Ancient Cedars Spa's Cedar Sanctuary, our hand-adzed cedar cabin right out on the ocean’s edge. Of course, we encourage you to don your Wickaninnish Inn raingear (handily hanging in your closet) and venture out for your own taste of storm season! One of our favorite pastimes is beachcombing along Chesterman Beach, but really, all beaches in the area can prove very rewarding with nature’s bounty. If you’re lucky -very lucky- you may just end up with a Japanese glass float. These hand blown pieces, looking much like big glass bubbles, were once used by fisherman to keep their nets afloat. It’s rumored that millions of these popular collectors’ items are swirling around with the Pacific currents, so happy hunting! Once your beach walk is done and your camera (or spouse) is begging for mercy, you can retreat to the Driftwood Lounge for a hot beverage while your raingear hangs in our custom boot drying closet Yes, there is such a thing, after all, we’re on the West Coast! Another recommended activity during winter storm season is spending the day at Hot Springs Cove, waves permitting. These mineral hot springs are located within the Maquinna Provincial Park (read: no “I visited Hot Springs Cove t-shirts” for sale here), and accessible only by air (a 25 minute flight) or boat (about 70 minutes, give or take some potential nature sightings). We’re happy to pack you a delicious lunch, arrange for your transportation, and off you go for some therapeutic soaking. Of course, with Tofino’s reputation as “Surf City, Canada”, we must pay homage to the winter surf. A Tofino winter is true surfing paradise, with giant waves breaking on seemingly deserted beaches. Tofino is home to a number of professional surfers, and this is their time to take advantage of prime conditions. Novice surfers will want to enlist the aid of one of our local surf schools, whose experienced instructors will help you select the right size wetsuit and ensure you catch that first wave. If your high school track & field injury is still acting up (no, no, we believe you), you can always watch your loved ones take their surf lesson on Chesterman Beach right from your table at The Pointe Restaurant. Now that we’ve told you all about this winter storm season, it’s only natural that you travel to the Inn expecting tempestuous skies and the wail of a powerful wind, but we must warn you that Tofino winters also bring days of brilliant sunshine yes, sunshine peeking in between winter storms! That’s the magic of our rugged coast and its temperate rainforest: Mother Nature runs the show, and she does it on a whim! In other words, don’t forget to pack your sunglasses. There’s so much to see and do or not do, if your wish is to curl up by your fireplace- in and around the Wickaninnish Inn during winter storm watching season. Be our guest during this most unique of Canadian winters and experience the original winter storm watching destination, the Wickaninnish Inn.
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