Over the coming weeks West Coast Aquatic Safaris will present a compilation of information on the wildlife of the Pacific Rim as well as some of the flora and fauna. Today we will begin a look at some of the history of Tofino
The area has been inhabited at least 5000, possibly 10,000 years based on evidence found in middens – (ancient trash heaps)
Nuu-chah-nulth: The name means “all along the mountains” and the population once was 20,000 just in Clayoquot Sound alone. Currently all Nuu-chah-nulth together total only 5,000. The Nuu-chah-nulth people range from Port Renfrew, to near North Vancouver Island, to height of mid-Vancouver Island. In Clayoquot Sound: Tla-o-qui-aht, Ahousaht, Hesquiaht and in Barkley Sound: Ucluelet, Toquaht, Tseshaht, and others
In 1774 Vancouver Island first sighted by Juan Perez with it’s first landfall believed to be in 1778 by James Cook in Friendly Cove (possible Francis Drake landed in 1529, but no one knows for sure). In 1778 Sea otter furs being brought to China, created demand and the population rapidly declined to near extinction until a successful re-introduction later.
In 1811 Captain Jonathan Thorn arrived on the Tonquin and offended local chief. This resulted in a bloody battle and the ship was kamikaze blown-up by locals. By the mid-1800’s, Stubbs Island also known as Clayoquot Island became a settlement with people comming from Norway, England, Scotland, Japan, etc.
In 1874 Missionaries arrived, set up residential school near Lone Cone. There has been years of conflict regarding the issues abuse and people being robbed of their culture. This piece of history remains a current issue still affects many communities today.
By 1860 to 1907 lighthouses were being built and in 1904 Lennard Island Lighthouse built. It was then re-built in unstable fiberglass in 1968 and re-built again in solid cement in 1987
In 1890 – West Coast Trail built and in 1909 the Tofino Post Office is built and named Tofino before village got the name or was even established. It was named after named after Tofino Inlet and finally1932 Tofino became a village making it less than 100 years old. By the late 1950’s the road was built and then paved in 1970 Lennard Island Lighthouse (ver.1) In the1980’s the first big resorts started to develop and in1984 the Meares Island blockades began, to keep MacMillan Bloedel loggers from landing until a court injunction was secured in 1985. Later there was 1993 Clayoquot blockade at Kennedy River Bridge which is still the largest peaceful civil disobedience campaign in Canadian history with 12,000 participants. 856 individuals arrested and charged however this helped lead to formation of Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve