Believe it or not, we have now been living in Canada for two years. When did that happen?!

A slow start

Seven hundred odd days ago we left the UK for Vancouver, with little money or plan. We had booked the flights six months before, with the vague idea of working at one of BC’s many ski resort for the winter, but then didn’t really think about it much again until we had touched down on Canadian soil. It was quickly apparent a few days in that we were too late to secure jobs for the start of the winter season.

After a week of unsuccessful applications, we decided to get out of the city and take a few days off to consider our options. We headed over to Vancouver Island, staying in Victoria for a night before heading north to Nanaimo and then the Comox Valley. We never left.

A love affair with Vancouver Island

Firstly, we had fallen in love with the Island (despite it being a fairly cold and grey November), and secondly….we didn’t have much money left. Our first few months in Canada weren’t by any means easy. Somehow though, it was all a blessing in disguise, as we absolutely love our life here on Vancouver Island. Something told us to stick around (not just our empty wallets!) and here we are, 24 months and lots of adventures later!

 

Middle Beach Lodge, Tofino

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Middle Beach Lodge, Tofino

To celebrate our Canniversary, we decided to treat ourselves and have a relaxing break away at Middle Beach Lodge in Tofino (West coast of Vancouver Island). By relaxing, I mean, doing very little in a very beautiful place. We rushed around all summer camping almost every weekend and trying to fit in as much we possibly could, and now we just wanted to do the opposite. And it was all sorts of amazing. It started with our oceanside cabin with jacuzzi tub on the private deck.

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Walking on the beach near Middle Beach Lodge

Perspectives of Middle Beach Lodge, Tofino

Sunset at Middle Beach Lodge, Tofino

Tofino beaches

Tofino beaches

A perfect Canniversary

We explored the local beaches in both rain and sun, took a walk in a coastal rainforest, visited the awesome non-profit aquarium in nearby Ucluelet and, of course, ate way too much food (including some fantastic Mexican fusion from the Tacofino food truck).

Thinking of waves, Jean Robert even managed to fit in a surfing lesson in between all that relaxing and eating. Needless to say, he enjoyed it immensely, especially as no-one else booked in and it ended up being a private lesson!

It was a perfect holiday, truly summing up everything I love about Vancouver Island, and why we are still here, two years on.

JR and Gemma in Tofino

Birds on the beach in Tofino

Exploring old growth forest in Tofino

JR and old growth tree

Views from Tofino

Tacofino truck in Tofino

Octopus at Ucluelet Aquarium

Ucluelet Aquarium

Isn’t it amazing how colourful the ocean is here? Everything in Ucluelet Aquarium is caught from local waters and then returned later in the season. In the case of the Giant Pacific Octopus (above), they have to return these quite often as they grow too big too fast!

If you’re feeling hungry afterwards, the best fish and chips on the West Coast are found at Jigger’s food truck, on Ucluelet’s main road (you can’t miss it). Pricey but well worth it! Thanks to Jiri and Lucie from the Czech Republic who recommended it to us!

Below is Amphitrite Lighthouse, (almost) at the end of the road in Ucluelet. Built in 1906 and automated now, it still helps sailors navigate the rocky coastline here. For us, it was the signal to head home, after four days of fun on the West Coast.

Ucluelet Aquarium display

Ucluelet lighthouse

Views from the Wild Pacific Trail

 

Until next time Tofino!

Gemma
Author

One half of a Canadian/British couple currently living in Penticton, British Columbia. Gemma is happiest with a paddle in her hand, on the trail or planning the next big adventure.