The Tofino Buzz – November |December

As the temperatures drop on the west coast we start thinking about off-season indoor events.

One of my favourites – and one of the most enduring – is the Clayoquot Sound Oyster Festival. This celebration of Tofino’s devotion to the best bivalve is celebrating its 20th year in 2016. That a lot of shucking over the years, considering how many oysters are consumed over this weekend each year. The location for this year’s festival events is The Shore at 368 Main St. It takes place November 18-19th with two main events and several smaller ones.

The Mermaid Masquerade is the kick-off on Friday, November 18th. I’m not sure I could describe this event better than the Oyster Festival website ( “Picture a Halloween party only all the costumes are under the sea themed and the candy on offer is a pillow case full of oysters.”

The main event, the Clayoquot Sound Oyster Gala, takes place Saturday, November 19th. This is the classiest of the events where formal attire prevails. Local restaurants will vie for “Best Oyster Dish’, judged by all the oyster lovers in attendance. Local chefs and oyster farmers will also square off in the oyster shucking relay. Enjoy BC beer and wine as well as live music while tasting all the inventive creations.

Oyster tours in Lemmens Inlet in Clayoquot Sound also take place during the festival, as well as other fun events (some of which not announced at press time), including oyster shell decorating for kids on Friday, November 18th.

For online tickets and more information, please see Tickets to the two main events are also available in person at Mermaid Tales Bookshop and Tofino Sea Kayaking in town.

The Driftwood Lounge at the Wickaninnish Inn will be the locale for an oyster festival-related event featuring Outlandish Shellfish Guild products on Friday, November 18th from 7-9pm. The Outlandish Shellfish Guild is a group of shellfish farmers based in Heriot Bay that farms oysters, mussels, clams and scallops in the gulf islands. The Wickaninnish team will be serving Outlandish oysters paired with wine and beer at this cocktail style reception. Please see for additional details and to purchase tickets.

Locals and visitors alike can also enjoy a new event that will run from November to January this year at the Tofino Botanical Gardens at 1084 Pacific Rim Hwy. Tofino Winterlights is a seasonal light exhibit happening nightly at the gardens between 5:30-9pm from November 25th, 2016 to January 8th, 2017. Darwin’s Café is located at the gardens, so be sure to grab a warm drink or tasty treat to enjoy along with the light show. Please visit for more information.

Several fun holiday related events take place in Tofino leading up to the Christmas season. The Make Merry Market is happening November 25 & 26th also at Darwin’s Café at the Tofino Botanical Gardens, and the Winter Artisan Market takes place December 4th at the Tofino Community Hall. In addition to hand crafted local goods, local specialty food purveyors will be in attendance with their own hand crafted goods – the edible kind! Get a gift or your own holiday cheer.

It seems like this is the first column of the year that I’ve haven’t shared news of a new restaurant or food venture. I guess we’ll just have to make do with all the awesome existing food and beverage options in Tofino for now. Happy holidays!

– Jen Dart

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