251 Things to Do in Tofino, Kait Fennell


Kait Fennell’s book celebrating the town of Tofino (British Columbia, Canada) is so much more than the list of 251 things to do there.  It’s an energetic and passionate paean to her adopted town.  She came for the surfing and found a friendly, diverse, environmentally conscious, and lively community.  My guess is that this love affair between the author and Tofino will never end.  And even though I live at the opposite end of the earth, I want a tshirt!

Tofino’s claims to fame are an outdoor lifestyle, especially surfing and other water sports, commitment to native and local crafts and materials, and a welcoming tourist season.  The book starts with a history of the area and explanations of the original native names of certain areas and how the names have been anglicized.  There is even a loose glossary section on How to Act Like a Local Tofitian, explaining some of the locals’ hangouts, unofficial dress code, and jargon, e.g., Tofino is referred to as “Tuff City” or just “Tuff.”   There are suggestions on taking weather conditions into consideration before embarking on a Tofino adventure.

Eventually, there is the list of 251 things to do in Tofino, broken into categories: Trails & Hikes, Entertainment & Activities, Food & Drink (I want a spiced chocolate diablo cookie), Shopping, Rainy Days & Winter Attractions, and a section by a mother that includes things to do with children.  There are silly-fun things and sublime things.  There are sunny and rainy things; summer and winter things; ocean, beach, mountains, and town things.  There are things you can do alone, and times when you should find a group.  You can plan your vacation around the annual events schedule, too.

An interesting chapter includes quotes from other residents of Tofino, answering the questions 1) What do you love about Tofino?, and 2) How would you spend your best day in Tofino?  I found these brief vignettes of Tofino life to be charming.  Many said how lucky they felt to be raising their children in Tofino.

Throughout the book, and included in several appendices, Kait Fennell is a booster for local businesses, including seasonal tourist businesses, restaurants, the local brewery, the local soap manufacturer, the local artists and artisans, and all the places that facilitate outdoorsmanship, whether guiding or selling equipment.  For the unathletic, there are whale watches and spectator opportunities, and, for the brides and grooms out there, a brisk wedding industry.

The grammar wasn’t always perfect, the formatting was sometimes portrait and sometimes landscape, and the “click here” hyperlinks didn’t work on my ereader (I bet they won’t work on a paperback, either), but none of this bothered me.  I thoroughly enjoyed Kait Fennell’s 251 Things to Do in Tofino.  It sounds like a wonderful place.

251 Things to Do in Tofino: And it is NOT just about Surfing

Amazon US link

Amazon UK link

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